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We have many outstanding beaches in South Australia along the metropolitan coastline. Clean white sand, unpolluted coastal waters, and a moderate Mediterranean climate make our beaches much loved Adelaide attractions.
The Tennyson Dunes and beach are a jewel in the crown of our coastline. Once part of a vast dune system that extended the entire length of the metropolitan coast, the Tennyson Dunes are all that remains of the original centuries old dunes.
Port Noarlunga Sand Dunes 1928 (State Library SA B4995)
Because the Tennyson Dunes are largely unspoiled, the original inhabitants - native plants and native wildlife - also have survived to this day. Painted lizards frequently skitter across the coastal paths on a sunny day. Predatory birds such as the Black-shouldered Kite still hover over the scrubby sand hills in search of prey. The endangered Bitterbush Blue Butterfly still calls this area of West Lakes home, as do many other species of native wildlife.
Like other areas of our coast the Tennyson Dunes have been subject to encroachment for housing developments. Fortunately councils are now more resistant to this type of development although the state government is still open to development.
The Tennyson Dunes Group was formed in 1995 to protect the Tennyson Dunes by restoring native habitats and minimising threats against them. They have battled long and hard to ensure that this area is protected and allowed to thrive naturally. After a twenty year fight, the Tennyson Dunes Group has now had a success.
A free Tennyson Dunes Open Day is being held on Sunday September 13 to celebrate the groups 20th birthday, and at 12 noon the Minister for the Environment Ian Hunter MLC will Declare the dunes a Conservation Reserve. Conservation Reserves are a parcels of land set aside for conservation of natural and cultural features under the Crown Land Management Act 2009.
On the Open Day visitors will be able to take free tours through the Tennyson Dunes system with specialist guides:
Native Plants and Kaurna History - with Neville Bonney and Karl Telfer
Geology and Biodiversity - with Dr Victor Gostin and Professor Chris Daniels
There will be activities for kids, and a BBQ to satisfy your appetite after a walk through these sandhills. Walks will leave from a tent in the Tennyson Dunes car park on Military Road, Tennyson.
Take this opportunity to see what these dedicated volunteers have done to help preserve this fragile ecosystem. They have come a long way from the 1950's when the Tennyson dunes system were adjacent to a mangrove and samphire swamp. The area was once used for dumping rubbish, and effluent from the Port sewerage farm emptied into it. Virtually the only civilisation nearby was Estcourt House.
With an increasing interest in nature play for kids, the Tennyson Dunes offers enormous possibilities of fun for kids to enjoy the rich variety of nature as it once was in this timeless place.
Another story. The first 23 years of my life I lived in Jervois St. Semaphore. As a kid, opposite our house was a vacant block with olive trees growing, beyond that was only sand hills to Estcourt House & beyond that to about Trimmer Parade. This whole area and down to the Port River was our playground. Us kids knew all the spots on the beach & in the sand hills to get a drink of fresh water a couple of feet down. Not unusual, as we got older, to take out rabbit traps, some spuds & onions, & spend the night out. Unfortunately kids today will probably never know the freedom we had.