Cliff Safety for beachgoers

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The Shire has endorsed a plan that seeks to address community safety concerns at critical cliff sites along our coastline.

Community sessions

Several community sessions were held throughout February to explain the project and outline the works to be undertaken.

Also, subscribe to this project page so we can keep you up to date with all activity and need to know information.

What action is planned?

Modifications have already been made to stairs at Gracetown and Surfers Point following technical assessments in 2017, with additional signage installed throughout the Shire. In 2019, further investigations were undertaken at Gracetown, Surfers Point and Gnarabup, which has resulted in 4 key actions being recommended for immediate action:

  1. Removal of a small overhang at Gracetown. This is scheduled for March 2020;
  2. Installation of a protection fence at Riflebutts consisting of high tensile wires and posts that extend from the toe of the cliff into the surf zone. This is scheduled for May or June 2020;
  3. Installation of additional fencing & signage at Surfers Point with possible future underpinning of an overhang near the main beach access stairs. The fencing and signage will be installed in late 2020 with underpinning in 2021 if required ; and
  4. Underpinning of the overhang under the concrete stairs that lead from the upper carpark down towards the café at Gnarabup. This is scheduled for late 2020.

Read more detail in the Document Library.

The Shire has endorsed a plan that seeks to address community safety concerns at critical cliff sites along our coastline.

Community sessions

Several community sessions were held throughout February to explain the project and outline the works to be undertaken.

Also, subscribe to this project page so we can keep you up to date with all activity and need to know information.

What action is planned?

Modifications have already been made to stairs at Gracetown and Surfers Point following technical assessments in 2017, with additional signage installed throughout the Shire. In 2019, further investigations were undertaken at Gracetown, Surfers Point and Gnarabup, which has resulted in 4 key actions being recommended for immediate action:

  1. Removal of a small overhang at Gracetown. This is scheduled for March 2020;
  2. Installation of a protection fence at Riflebutts consisting of high tensile wires and posts that extend from the toe of the cliff into the surf zone. This is scheduled for May or June 2020;
  3. Installation of additional fencing & signage at Surfers Point with possible future underpinning of an overhang near the main beach access stairs. The fencing and signage will be installed in late 2020 with underpinning in 2021 if required ; and
  4. Underpinning of the overhang under the concrete stairs that lead from the upper carpark down towards the café at Gnarabup. This is scheduled for late 2020.

Read more detail in the Document Library.

  • Gracetown works postponed

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    26 March, 2020

    Following on from previous notification that cliff stability works at Gracetown were due to commence on 26 March, the Shire now advises that these works are postponed due to the COVID19 situation. The nature of the works cannot be completed whilst complying with relevant State and Federal directives regarding physical distancing.

    The Shire will continue to monitor the cliffs and will reschedule the works as soon as practical. With various restrictions reducing the numbers of people accessing the beach, the Shire has received advice that the cliff risk is considered acceptable for the foreseeable future.


  • Gracetown Works to commence 26 March 2020

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    24 March, 2020

    Two 5 m long sections of limestone outcrop approximately 10 m above the beach level are severely undercut. The limestone is made up of cemented dune sands forming a weak caprock. Wind is eroding the sand underneath the caprock making it unstable and likely to collapse potentially landing on the beach to the south of the stairs.

    The two undercuts, each about 5m long and averaging 1m deep and 0.5 m thick will be collapsed using hand tools and then left in place to minimise damage to surrounding vegetation. The debris will be inspected to ensure it is secure and not likely to roll or dislodge.

    The beach and stairs will remain open throughout the works, but there may be temporary delays as directed on site.

    Contact John McKinney, Coordinator Environment Landcare Services on 9780 5252 or email jmckinney@amrshire.wa.gov.au for more information.
  • Observations at Riflebutts

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    25 February, 2020
    supporting image

    Shire officers have observed recent changes at Riflebutts, which highlight some of the issues that are present.

    View the images from recent inspections here: https://yoursay.amrshire.wa.gov.au/52478/documents/136618

    Riflebutts Jan 2020



  • Community information sessions

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    14 January, 2020

    Come along to an information session in Prevelly or Gracetown to hear from our consultant Geotechnical Engineer who will explain more about recent limestone cliff assessments and the recommended actions at sites including Riflebutts, Surfers Point, Gnarabup and Gracetown.

    Session dates

    · 4-6pm Monday 3 February 2020, Gracetown Community Hall

    · 4-6pm Tuesday 4 February 2020, Sea Garden Prevelly

    · 5.30-7.30pm Thursday 27 February 2020, White Elephant Cafe

    · 5.30-7.30pm Friday 28 February 2020, Gracetown Community Hall

    RSVP now

  • Riflebutts temporary fence

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    14 January, 2020
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    Rifle Butts Temp Fence

    A temporary fence has been erected across the beach at Riflebutts to manage risks until a permanent fence can be manufactured and installed. The permanent fence will consist of four 125mm stainless steel upright posts embedded into the rock with 2 high tensile stainless steel horizontal wires Each post will be topped with a risk warning sign.

    Interpretive signage is also planned to be installed near the beach entrance to allow the community to understand the risks at this particular site.

    Various other options to manage limestone risk at Riflebutts were thoroughly investigated including removal of the overhang and battering back the slope, installation of fencing parallel to the cliff edge, installation of rockfall mesh, and additional signage, however all were discounted as they would not sufficiently reduce the risk to an acceptable level.


    The Shire will run information sessions at Gracetown and Prevelly/Gnarabup prior to other works occurring.

  • Media release: Action for cliff safety along the Shire’s coastline

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    14 January, 2020

    12 December 2019

    Shire of Augusta Margaret River Councillors have endorsed a plan to that seeks to address community safety concerns at critical cliff sites along the Shire’s coastline.

    A Coastal Hazard Risk Management and Adaptation Plan which was developed in 2016 identified coastal hazards requiring detailed technical investigation across a number of sites.

    In 2017, modifications were made to the stairs at Gracetown and Surfers Point to address risks of cliff collapse.

    Further investigations undertaken since then provide a clear direction for the Shire to act in relation to other cliffs that pose ground instability or rock fall risk.

    Sites include the coastal areas of Gracetown, Prevelly, and Gnarabup, with action staged over the next three financial years based on risk and priority of the work required.

    Immediate action will see a temporary fence and signage installed at Riflebutts to caution community members about the risk of rockfall along the northern end of the beach and to restrict access. A permanent fence will be installed in early 2020.

    Other signage will be immediately installed at Gnarabup and Surfers Point.

    Underpinning to add support to cliff structures at the White Elephant Stairs in Gnarabup and at Surfers Point is also planned.

    Shire President Ian Earl said the work will cost the Shire close to $380,000 over three years, but was much needed in the interest of community safety.

    “Council was keen to endorse this action, so extra signage could be installed in time for the busy summer break.

    “Community members should be informed on their local coastal areas by reading these cliff stability reports, and also by adhering to the warning signage displayed along the coastline.”

    “Community safety is our concern, but every community member also has a responsibility for their own safety,” he said.

    Shire officers will engage with coastal residents in the New Year, before further work is implemented.

    For more information on works to occur at each site, community members are encouraged to visit https://www.amrshire.wa.gov.au/coastalsafety

    Contact for media questions is John McKinney, Landcare and Environment Coordinator on 9780 5255 or jmckinney@amrshire.wa.gov.au