Calgardup Brook

Redgate Beach is famous for a dramatic 19th century shipwreck, swimming, waves, fishing, and granite framed sunsets.

But it is also has a deeper history. The stream that flows out onto the beach is millions of years old. It begins on farmland to the east. One tributary has its catchment on Nindup Plain, close behind Mammoth Cave. There, the bones of marsupial lions, giant kangaroos, wombats, and koalas were found, along with evidence of human occupation dating far back into the ice ages. The tributary flows north, before joining the rest of the stream and flowing west towards the sea.

Aboriginal people have camped and fished at the mouth of the brook for millenia, and the small estuary and surrounding dunes are a protected archaeological site.

Calgardup is the last of the ancient streams north of Karridale to still flow across the surface of the limestone ridge. The others have had their channels buried by wind blown sand and now flow deep underground, at the base of the dunes.

This year, Calgardup Brook has carved out deep channels, from a combination of heavy rain and storm surges. Rocks are exposed that have not been seen for years. A reminder that along the coast, permanence is an illusion.


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Jinni Wilson
BSc (hons) Anthropology
University of Western Australia