Public Archaeological Dig on the Gold Coast – Southport Sea Wall


As part of National Archaeology Week 2013, Council of the City of Gold Coast is inviting members of the public to participate in a public archaeological dig to reveal sections of the old Southport sea wall.

The old Southport sea wall was built from the late nineteenth century through to the early twentieth century to help stop erosion of the foreshore. Southport at this time was one of Queensland’s premier coastal resort towns as well as the main business and education centre of the Gold Coast (then known as the South Coast). Until the formation of The Spit, Southport’s foreshore was sometimes battered by rough seas and storms which threatened to wash away the esplanade and the homes, guesthouses and hotels established along Marine Parade. In 1896 construction of a protective sea wall began and was completed in 1901. Ironically, although the wall protected Southport itself from the ravages of the sea, it actually exacerbated erosion in some sections of the sandy beach in front of it, which was soon replaced by exposed rocks. From the 1960s the dredging and dumping of sand at the foreshore gradually saw the burial of the wall and the extension of the shoreline out into the Broadwater. Today, there is only a small section of the wall visible near the current bridge to Surfers Paradise. What survives of the sea wall on and below the current land surface provides important evidence of Southport’s past. It defines the original shoreline and tells a story of Southport’s former importance as a resort town and the efforts of the community to protect the place from the ravages of nature.

National Archaeology Week – 19 to 25 May 2013
National Archaeology Week occurs annually and aims to increase public awareness of Australian archaeology and the work of Australian archaeologists, and to promote the importance of protecting Australia’s unique archaeological heritage. For information about the nationwide program of events, visit the National Archaeology Week facebook page

Free event
The archaeological dig is a free community event held as part of National Archaeology Week 2013. There will be two sessions run on each day. Session one is 9am to 12 noon. Session two is 1pm to 3pm. Each session group will be given a site safety induction prior to commencing. The Local Studies Library will have a marquee on site with the Southport by the Shore and the Streets of Southport educational kits on display.

Bookings are essential for this event. For more information or to make a booking, please contact Council’s Heritage Team on 5582 8875 or visit the website


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