Beaumaris …

No kangaroos this morning, I’m in the big city.

Yesterday I took the dog for a walk along the Beaumaris cliff top from the Motor Yacht Squadron to Table Rock. For the uninitiated this is a Melbourne suburb south east of the city on the edge of Port Phillip Bay.

The cliff is a deep red and way below our feet is …

Australia’s single richest marine animal fossil site, spanning the last 5 million to 10 million years of Earth’s history …

… The fossils paint a vivid picture of life below a sea that once covered parts of Melbourne. They comprise remains of ancient whales, seals, dolphins, sharks, fishes and sea birds, crabs, shells, corals and sea urchins.

An added distinction of Beaumaris is that it is one of the only sites known in Australia where we find evidence of our ancient land mammals in rocks formed in the shallows of an ancient bay.

As land animals died, their carcasses were washed out to sea by what was an ancestral Yarra River. This co-occurrence of land and marine animals is world famous, enabling precise dating of the evolution of Australia’s unique marsupial fauna.

The Beaumaris Motor Yacht Squadron has already covered a part of this site, public land of inestimable value, with a carpark and would like to develop a commercial marina. Enriching for them, impoverishing for a landscape that inspired a couple of generations of Australian painters. Let’s hope the council has the wit to deny them that opportunity.

On the journey we pass a sign …

‘At this site in the summer of 1886 the artists Tom Roberts and
Frederick McCubbin first met Arthur Streeton. Together with Charles Conder these men were the founders of the Heidelberg School.’
Fine art has been made at virtually every lookout on the way, not only by Roberts, McCubbin, Streeton and Condor but also by John Perceval, Alfred Coleman, Clarice Beckett and many less famous artists.  You can find more detail <HERE>.

It’s a place that has managed to retain a bit of bush and a little wildness despite the proximity of a busy road. For me it offers a chance to enjoy some of the local birds. I shot all of these within 45 minutes with the dog waiting patiently at my side …

Silver Gull

Silver Gull
Crested Tern
Australian Pelican
Pied Cormorant
Little Black Cormorant