Cliff collapse at Shippies

Part of the towering cliffs surrounding Shipstern Bluff has collapsed and it has locals worried access to the area could soon be restricted.

Photographer Andy Chisolm said he first noticed the rock fall while out on the water on Monday.

"My mate said something about the bluff isn't quite right," said Chiza. "He said 'I haven't been here for a while, and everything seems a little bit smaller' and an hour later I actually realised [it was]."

At first Chiz was not sure what he was seeing.

"I concluded yeah, a really large amount of the cliff had actually just collapsed," he said. "I've gone 'hey guys check it out, I swear a bit of the cliff's fallen down' and sure enough, everyone just spun out.

"We kind of couldn't believe it."

Surfers access the wave either by boat or on foot.

"When we walk in you've got to go around the headland, right under ... basically where the rocks fell down is where we walk through," said Chiza.

"A couple of years ago a small car-sized boulder fell off the cliff face just after we walked through. So when you see something like this … I'm hoping, no one got hurt."

Locals are worried Parks and Wildlife will consider closing the track which allows walkers to access the bluff, but Chiza said it would not deter those chasing waves.

"For the general public you might want to err on the side of caution, but if you want to go into a surf spot you're going to go in regardless, it doesn't matter," he said.

"There can be as much bureaucracy as there wants to be but there's nothing [that is] going to stop me going in when the swell's big," he said.

At this stage it is not clear when the rock fall occurred.

"It could have been a week ago for all we know but usually when something happens down there we find out about it pretty quick," said Chiza. "Rock structures have been falling down all over the place around the world for a long time. So it's Shippies' time you know?"

The Tasmanian Parks and Wildlife Service said the walking track to the area would remain open but bushwalkers were advised to steer clear of the cliff area. Staff will be conducting an inspection today and installing warning signs.

"The walking track to Raoul Bay remains open, however people visiting the area are asked to respect any warning signage beyond the end of the track in the interests of their own safety," southern region operations manager Shane Breen said in a statement.

"The rockfall site is likely to be unstable for a number of weeks. These events are part of the natural erosion process in a dynamic coastal environment." //HARRIET AIRD

© Australian Broadcasting Corporation. All rights reserved.


Coaster's picture
Coaster's picture
Coaster Tuesday, 17 Jan 2017 at 7:28pm

This suspiciously looks like frog's handiwork. :)

Tarzan71's picture
Tarzan71's picture
Tarzan71 Wednesday, 18 Jan 2017 at 6:56am

The photo at left actually shows the fault line developing, the photo at right shows a bunch of geotechnical anomalies that would indicate that a lot more country is about to descend. It would probably be in the best interests of local surfers to divert the track. Ive never been there so don't know the practicalities, but being hit in the head by the lip at Shippies would be nothing compared to having that ground mass land on you.

Craig's picture
Craig's picture
Craig Wednesday, 18 Jan 2017 at 7:32am

Yeah that's at the base where they leave all the gear. Looks like they may need to leave it back closer to the bush.