River mouths are ever changing with the seasons and with the tides, and they can also be completely changed through the building of rock walls. I remember Noosa’s river mouth back in 1973 when we lived in the caravan park, which was at the end of Hasting Street. Just beyond our caravan was the river mouth.
Now there is a winding road through what is called Noosa Spit, and then the river mouth. So, the southern side of the river’s mouth has been extended, perhaps 400 metres.
There is a report published back in 2006 by Chamberlain and Tomlinson with old aerial photographs that confirms how I remember it. What we now call Noosa Spit was, back then, on the other side of the river mouth.
I remember when they first started dumping rocks, Mum took a photograph of me and my two brothers. That was back in 1973.
I was out taking video just yesterday (9 November 2020) of the river mouth. If you watch the video to the end you will see how I look today, in the orange jacket. Back in 1973, standing in the same place, I would have been standing about in the middle of the channel!
All the rock that has been dumped over the years has caused much more sand to shoal to the southern side of the river’s mouth, which is where most of the people are. In fact, the river has been ‘trained’ to shoal to the south, beginning in 1978 with the dumping of rocks into what was then the river mouth proper, far beyond the land. This is explained in the report, by Chamberlain and Tomlinson.
While we can be critical of all the changes to the Noosa river mouth that are man-made, for the most part it has given us more certainty and so many more trees. When ‘the spit’ was on the north shore/on the northern side of the river mouth it was just bare sand.
But what they have done at the bottom of the Murray River, now that is absurd. Back in the 1930s governments build 6.7 kilometres of sea dyke/barrages to try and stop the tides from entering the Murray River estuary, because the local council wanted the lower reaches of the Murray River to be permanent fresh. I have written much about the Murray River, and how so many Australia’s want to save it, yet they have no understanding of its natural history – not even whether the Murray River’s mouth is wave or tide dominated.
When we really care about something, we should think about first understanding it. That means we might need to take some time out, to watch and listen and even read. Of course, a best way to learn is to hear different perspectives and then to go see, to trust our own eyes and capacity to reason.