Rubble washing up at Port and Mosman beaches causing concern to beachgoers


Daily beach walkers (l-r) Paul Gabbedy holds bitumen, and Peter McLarty a limestone rock, allegedly among Port Beach debris heading to Mosman Beach. Picture: Jon Bassett
Daily beach walkers (l-r) Paul Gabbedy holds bitumen, and Peter McLarty a limestone rock, allegedly among Port Beach debris heading to Mosman Beach. Picture: Jon Bassett

BITUMEN, old asbestos, tile shards, concrete and limestone lumps are allegedly heading to Mosman and Leighton beaches in an annual migration of the shore break debris from adjacent Port Beach, North Fremantle.

“I’ve noticed it ever-so gradually creeping north, but it was previously never at Leighton, never at Port, and then I started seeing it the Mosman Beach nine months ago, so Mosman Park and Cottesloe people need to ask themselves do they want this on their beaches?” beach walker Paul Gabbedy (73) said.

Last year, the exposed waste at Sandtrax Beach, south of Port Beach, prompted warning signs, before strong tides and winds uncovered or washed up debris across the increasingly used stretch of sand next to Fremantle Port last month.

Mr Gabbedy and fellow walker Peter McLarty (72) subsequently organised morning beach users to collect about two tonnes of waste on Port Beach they claimed came from Fremantle Port operations, including wheat silo rubble from adjacent Rous Head.

Mr Gabbedy was given the bitumen (pictured) which a young man had missed after entering the water at Port Beach last Sunday, and he said an elderly female swimmer had surgery after getting an infection in a hand wound caused by some of the waste recently.

He and Mr McLarty rejected Fremantle Port Authority claims the waste was from dredging in the 1890s.

“They hadn’t invented super-six fencing then, and in fact there was a noticeable pile of cemetery waste, including headstones and bits of urns,” Mr McLarty said.

The men want the debris removed regularly form the beach and a long-term solution sought.

A Fremantle Ports spokeswoman said it was now talking with Fremantle council and the departments of Transport and Planning about the debris and its management, but divers in 2017 established the rubble was not from the 10ha Rous Head reclamation earlier this century.

The spokeswoman said Port Beach was on a reclaimed shoreline created by dredged and dumped material, including 8 million cubic metres from Fremantle Harbour in the 1890s, waste from industries behind the beach until the 1980s and unauthorised building materials.

A City of Fremantle spokesman said twice-weekly beach inspections would continue, but restricted beach access, tides and what debris was visible restricted removing as much of it as possible.

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