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Byron Shire
May 11, 2021

Flood-prone Wooyung once drained to the sea

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A floating dredge used for sand mining at Wooyung in the 1960s. Photo supplied
A floating dredge used for sandmining at Wooyung in the 1960s. Photo supplied

An interesting photo of the proposed development at Wooyung ran in conjunction with your article Wooyung developer wants luxury housing instead of resort.

It clearly shows the remnants of the old outlet which flowed into the ocean through the Wooyung cane fields. This was blocked by a floating dredge extracting mineral sands in 1960s. Above is a photo of that dredge operating in the outlet. The dredge I understand was owned by one of the canefarmer’s relatives.wooyung-flood_map

After the sand miners left the area, the Wooyung outlet was totally blocked and the cane farmers then drained their cane fields south through Ocean Shores. When the original Ocean Shores developers were ordered by Byron Council to block another outlet in 1976, and blocked the Capricornia canal with a bund instead of a bridge, the cane fields no longer drained quickly enough and the cane farmers successfully began legal action to open up outlets in Kallaroo Circuit bund to drain their fields south.

Needless to say Ocean Shores also flooded after the council ordered the outlet above Golden Beach closed in 1976 and a natural outlet to the ocean at Golden Beach was also previously closed during the construction of Golden Beach in the late 50s.

Both the cane farmers and a vocal environmental lobby deny the existence of these original outlets despite historical photos and maps showing them open to the ocean.

This surveyor general map of 1887 (at right) gives an opening 33 chains wide at Wooyung in your article. This ocean outlet was the reason Wooyung Road turned right heading south to avoid this outlet.

Jim Mangleson, Ocean Shores

 


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