The Changing Dunes of Wanda


1770 The First Europeans Arrive

When Captain Cook first saw the dunes, he almost missed them as they were covered in vegetation. To the first European settlers, they were known as the Kurnell dune forest.

1868   Farming starts on the sand.

A European settler Thomas Holt began grazing sheep and cattle on the dunes. He removed trees and shrubs, exposing the sand. Once the dunes were uncovered, they were revealed as enormous, covering the area from Wanda beach up to Kurnell.


1908   The Forest has gone


1930 Sand Mining begins

Sydney was built on sand mostly used to make cement and concrete. Cronulla’s dunes were a major source of this sand for industry. From the 1930s they were mined by a range of companies that took millions of tonnes of sand away to help build the growing city.

1940. The Dunes are still There

 A major Australian movie was made on the dunes. It was a story from World War I. The dunes were made to look like Beersheba in Palestine where the Australians fought the Turks in 1917.  Watch the clip to see just how large the dunes were.




Local people used the dunes for recreation.

2000s The dunes have become lakes

Sydney's booming building industry has seen in excess of 170 million tonnes of sand extracted from the Peninsula since the 1930s. In some sections once towering sand dunes have been replaced by deep lakes, many of which are now being filled with demolition waste.

Protecting the remaining sand dunes at Wanda.

Since 1974 both environmentalists and the state and local governments have been working to protect and restore the sand dunes.

Topic sentence.   Methods used to protect and restore the environment at Wanda have included constructing fences, building pathways and revegetation.

Explanation   All of these work together to stabilise and improve the environment, fences keep people on constructed paths while bollards keep vehicles away. This means that vegetation such as sand spinifex and beach bean can put down roots and keep the sand from eroding.

Evidence The dunes are mostly covered in vegetation today and therefore much more stable than they were in the 20th century.

Reorientation   Although much of the area is now protected there are still many problems due to over 200 years of environmental exploitation.

The dunes today are just a tiny fraction of the original dunes. This is because of erosion due to human activity. In some places huge hills have become lakes that are filled with rubbish.

People have affected the dunes through agriculture by removing the original protective vegetation, by mining by removing over 170 million tonnes of sand and by recreation such as driving their cars over the dunes now stopped by bollards.

Video  Underwater  Cape Solander    Kurnell to Cronulla   Sand Dunes 1980s  Greenhills Beach  Kurnell underwater