Birthplace Disgrace - The Kurnell Peninsula by TonyCrehan

Currently unavailable for purchase

Available to buy on…

Birthplace Disgrace - The Kurnell Peninsula by 

Aerial view of the Kurnell Peninsula showing the scarring from sand mining and industrial activity.

Taken with Panasonic Lumix DMC-FH1 point & shoot from the cabin of a Boeing 737.

Featured 04/23/11 in From the Cockpit Group

The Kurnell Peninsula, located on the southern shores of Botany Bay in Sydney’s south, is a significant cultural and ecological asset. It is the site of significant wetlands (including the most important in the Sydney region at Towra Point), contains regionally significant vegetation, endangered species, sand dunes, habitat for migratory birds and the Green and Golden Bell Frog,and extensive seagrass beds and marine biota. The Peninsula is home to two of Sydney’s icon Reserves: Botany Bay National Park and Towra Point Nature Reserve.

Kurnell is also the Birthplace of Modern Australia – the site of Captain James Cook’s first landing in this country – and the first meeting place of European and Aboriginal cultures.

Kurnell is characterised by many industrial establishments, including Sydney’s largest oil refinery (upper left of photo). It is one of the largest refiners of oil in Australia, producing in the vicinity of 6.5 billion litres of petroleum each year.

The Refinery releases a range of pollutants into the air including Sulphur Dioxide.

The Refinery currently releases effluent to ocean outfalls at Yena Gap and collects and disposes of cooling water in Botany Bay. The refinery’s stormwater is released into Botany Bay and during large storm events oily substances flow into the Bay often creating a minor temporary ‘slick’ on the surface.

Sandmining on the Kurnell Peninsula has changed the landscape of Kurnell dramatically.

Kurnell in the mid 19th century was still mostly virgin land covered in a healthy scrub, large trees and native grasses. The vegetated sandhills covered over 405 hectares and rose up to 61 metres. However, timber felling, clearing and cultivation for cattle and sheep grazing destroyed this environment. Once the restraining vegetative cover was gone, the unstable, transgressive dune sheet moved north at a rate of at least 8 metres a year.

Sand mining of the dunes completed the destruction. Sydney’s booming building industry has seen in excess of 170 million tonnes of sand extracted from the Peninsula since the 1930s. In some sections once towering sand dunes have been replaced by deep lakes (some 8 metres deep), many of which are now being filled with demolition waste.

Some say that this lack of care for modern Australia’s birthplace is criminal.

Wanda Beach to the far right of picture is the scene of another type of crime.

The Wanda Beach Murders is the case of the unsolved murders of Marianne Schmidt and Christine Sharrock at Sydney’s Wanda Beach on 11 January 1965. Their partially buried bodies were discovered the next day.

The victims, both aged 15, were best friends and neighbours. The brutal nature of the slayings and the fact that the twin killings occurred on a deserted, windswept beach brought publicity to the case.

It remains one of the most infamous unsolved Australian murder cases of the 1960s

Currently working with independent schools in Tasmania

All work in this portfolio is © tony crehan
These materials (images and poems) may NOT be edited, copied, reproduced, printed, distributed, displayed, performed, or used in any way, in whole or in part, without my written permission. Please respect copyright and do not save or upload any images or poems to Photobucket, Flickr, Myspace, Facebook etc. These creative materials are NOT public domain.

View Full Profile


  • Poete100
    Poete100almost 4 years ago

    OH! WOW!!! Tony…what a beautiful scenery from above…to bad that mankind have to destroy everything in their paths…Love this…fav…Lorraine

  • Thank you Lorraine for your fave and comment. I am pleased that you share the sentiments. Tony:)

    – TonyCrehan

  • maggie326
    maggie326almost 4 years ago

    Fantastic Capture Tony… Great view from above

  • Thanks for the fave and your supportive comments Maggie. Tony:)

    – TonyCrehan

  • BaZZuKa
    BaZZuKaalmost 4 years ago

  • Thanks very much Baz. Feature much appreciated. Tony

    – TonyCrehan

  • David Davies
    David Daviesalmost 4 years ago

    Super picture, Tony and excellent narrative!

  • Thanks for your kind comments David. We have done quite a demolition job on some of our beautiful world. Tony

    – TonyCrehan

  • Yannik Hay
    Yannik Hayalmost 4 years ago

    Beautiful aerial view of such a beautiful place but I’m so sorry to read about the pollution. It’s a disgrace as you say.
    All the best :)

  • Thank you Yannik. It is Easter Sunday here so a good time to resolve to do better with our planet. All the best to you. Tony:)

    – TonyCrehan

  • Rene Hales
    Rene Halesalmost 4 years ago

  • Thank you Rene

    – TonyCrehan

  • vigor
    vigoralmost 4 years ago

    I love to sit near the window in a plane for this reason!!! Great view!

  • Me too Viv. Thanks for your comment. Tony.

    – TonyCrehan

desktop tablet-landscape content-width tablet-portrait workstream-4-across phone-landscape phone-portrait

10%off for joining

the Redbubble mailing list

Receive exclusive deals and awesome artist news and content right to your inbox. Free for your convenience.