Community + CultureTourism

Woolamai Beach Surf Lifesaving Club

Phillip Island Nature Parks
Bass Coast Shire Council

Landscape Architecture

Smiths Beach, VIC


Robyn Oliver

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The Woolamai Beach Surf Lifesaving Club monitors long stretches of Phillip Island’s south coast, including the popular swimming spot Smith’s Beach.

However, the club had no permanent facility at Smith’s Beach, making it difficult for volunteers to safely patrol one of the island’s most attended beaches.

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Tract was engaged by Woolamai Beach SLSC to prepare a design concept and guidelines for the Smiths Beach Rescue Base at Smiths Beach. The design had to address the stringent technical standards and coastal design concerns of DELWP, Phillip Island Nature Parks and Bass Coast Shire Council at the sensitive and challenging location.

The tower site, located on the exposed coastal park edge of Phillip Island and within the protected Phillip Island Nature Parks, is a key habitat for migratory Shearwater birds and has no vehicle access.

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Tract developed environmentally sensitive guidelines to minimise disruption to the site and protect the landscape, including the birds and their native habitat. The guidelines determined that the tower be fabricated off-site and craned into position from the adjacent car park to minimise disturbance.

The tower also needed to be designed as a relocatable structure so that it could be safely moved at some point in the future.

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The prefabricated round tower features angled and weathered Ironbark fins that conceal a highly durable corrugated metal structure. The vertical timber cladding prevents sand build-up and discourages nesting birds, while providing shade for patrollers. The structure, including its roof, is also designed to mitigate rainwater run-off and prevent dune erosion.

The self-sufficient base shelters rescuers from the weather, provides a visible patrol presence and holds enough space to carry out first aid and store equipment. The job of the lifesavers is made easier now with the new rescue base, while protecting the precious coastal environment.

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