12 Apostles Viewing Platform – HIGH RISK
The currently underway cantilevered ‘diving board’ style viewing platform at the 12 Apostles fails to take into account the nature of this coast. The limestone cliffs are riddled with lineations (fracture drainage lines), caverns, and sink holes. The Google Earth image below shows the fragility of this narrow strip of cliff and 2 major drainage channels running alongside the east side of the development area. The ‘saddle’ over the last 40 years has greatly sunk and will become another apostle – like that seen centre left in the photo below.
There was a major cliff collapse at the 12 Apostles viewing area in 2011 – Above.
There are many examples of moving infrastructure back from the fragile cliffs:
- The roadway to the Blow Hole and Thunder Cave was closed when it became apparent that caverns ran under the road.
- VicRoads withdrew its responsibility for the Great Ocean Road on the Port Campbell headland in 1991 due to cavern undermining and risk (although Council kept it open until 2002).
- When a major cavern and lineation system running from the Razorback cliff cavern under Loch Ard Gorge car park (where it intersects with other caverns and drainage lines) through to Sherbrooke River was raised with Parks Vic, the government proposed moving the Loch Ard Gorge car park to the north side of the Great Ocean Road.
- The 12 Apostles car park was moved to the north side of the Great Ocean Road due to the fragility of the coast.
- The Great Ocean Road was moved inland at the ‘Murphies’ just west of London Bridge – image below.
- This very scenario could happen to the narrow jutting peninsula at the 12 Apostles where the platform is proposed.
Cliff collapse can be catastrophic and without warning.
The extensive infrastructure being carried out at the 12 Apostles cliff edge – roadways and pile driving and anchoring foundations – will weaken the cliff and accelerate collapse. Vibration has been proven to create cliff collapse, as do earth tremors.
The 12 Apostles does not need a gimmick to get more tourists to the area, as it will happen naturally when Covid lockdowns end. The Shipwreck Coast Master Plan recommended taking the pressure off the 12 Apostles site.
Works should be halted until the geotechnical reports for the viewing platform are made public to allow greater scrutiny and risk assessment.
Port Campbell Community Group Inc. Reg No: A0051688U