Fences protecting prized coastline from erosion - 19 March 2014

A specifically designed timber-and-wire fence is helping to save some of Victoria’s most prized beaches by stopping tonnes of sand from washing into the sea.

Geoff Kennedy, of Wattle and Wire fencing in Apollo Bay, designed his “Beachmaster® sand fence” in response to widespread erosion and is now having trouble keeping up with demand from bayside councils and coastal land management agencies.

"The fences have to be tough enough to withstand the ultimate testing conditions of being pounded by wind and tides every day and coping with a constant salty environment,” Mr Kennedy said.

“Most importantly, it has to remain strong enough to stand up to the toughest storm and still be there the next day.”

Mr Kennedy uses diamond shaped hard wood pickets, designed to capture maximum sand, and selected Waratah Flexabel Longlife Blue colour® wire with protective coating to hold it all together.

“As well as being durable the fence has to be really strong – the six strands of wire have to be able to withstand wave impacts in excess of one tonne per square metre,” Mr Kennedy said.

The fences are installed at the point of most erosion on the beach to protect and encourage sand to bank up behind them instead of washing back out to sea.

The first fence he installed was at Fairhaven beach in early 2013 and Mr Kennedy said so far it had “stood up to the conditions perfectly”.

“The car park was under threat of being washed away but the fence has worked exactly as it was meant to and has prevented the embankment from further eroding.”

Mr Kennedy has supplied and installed a total of about 1.5km of fencing at beaches including Fairhaven, Port Fairy, Portarlington and Clifton Springs and already has orders booked for a number of other major beaches.

He also designed a machine that twists two strands of wire together and said the Waratah Flexabel was easy to handle through the machine, while its protective coating twisted easily without any damage.

“I have been very happy with the way the wire has performed and there are no weak spots like you get with other lesser brands,” Mr Kennedy said.

“As well as being effective the fences have to meet a budget and these fences are very economical.”