Golden Beach Gippsland Victoria

& The Famous Ninety Mile Beach

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 Courtesy of the Australian Newspaper December 27, 2008.


Wanted: new universe by the beach

Bernard Salt | December 27, 2008

Article from:  The Australian

FORGET about the global financial crisis and focus on what really interests Australians over summer: contemplation of the perfect seachange.

But where to find such an idyll? After all, hasn't everything within cooee of the coast been fully priced for years? Well, maybe. But then again, maybe not.

The Australian seachange universe is comprised of 446 towns located outside capital cities on the coast, according to the 2006 census. This includes quintessential seachange communities such as Byron Bay but it also includes decidedly non-seachange towns such as Dampier in Western Australia and Nhulunbuy on the Arnhem Land coast.

The seachange universe is always expanding. At the time of the 2001 census there were 415 urban centres on the Australian coastline but about six seachange towns materialise on the coast every year.


This is because the census only recognises an "urban centre" once its permanent population exceeds 200.

So a cluster of, say, 180 people in 2001 growing to 210 people by 2006 presents as a new town.

The seachange universe in 2006 contained 3.244 million residents, up 380,000 over the previous five years.

The seachange shift is growing at a rate of 76,000 new residents per year. Most of this growth is attached to the big seachange communities of the Gold Coast and the Sunshine Coast in Queensland and the NSW central coast, north of Sydney.

In order to ascertain the perfect seachange community, it is necessary to apply a series of criteria.

The perfect seachange town must be, above all else, affordable. If this were not the case then places such as Sydney's Palm Beach and Melbourne's Portsea would win every time. The value of property in these communities


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means that, by the measure of most desired, these are the locations for the perfect seachange. But the problem with Palm Beach and Portsea is they are inaccessible to the majority of Australians.

My view of the perfect seachange town is it must be accessible -- meaning, affordable -- to middle Australia. Accordingly, the seachange universe must be scanned and filtered to isolate communities that are affordable and that offer other desirable seachange qualities.

For example, the perfect seachange town should offer scope to get a job locally. Not everyone is able to move to the coast and live off their accumulated reserves of wealth.


The perfect seachange town should also not be jam-packed with old people waiting to die (how depressing). Equally, such a town should not be filled with screaming kids (how annoying). And it should offer ethnic diversity. I can think of nothing worse than being confined to an exclusively Anglo-Saxon or Mediterranean or Asian town. A touch of multiculturalism offers spice to life by the beach.

The affordability issue is addressed by selecting only those towns where the median individual weekly income was less than $600 at the last census. Mining towns regularly exceed $1000 on this measure. The logic is, if the income capacity of the locals is modest, there is limited capacity to pay exorbitant mortgages and the town should be affordable to the average Australian.

Other demographic criteria for the perfect seachange town are easily determined. Towns must have less than seven per cent unemployment, whereas the Australian average at this time was five per cent. The median age should straddle the Australian average of 37. And no more than 90 per cent of the population should be born in Australia.

When all of these criteria are applied to the seachange universe, the following towns present as each state's perfect seachange community.

And the six winners are:

Gerringong (NSW)

The town (population 3600) is about 130km south of the Sydney CBD on the NSW south coast.


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It has a broad sandy beach, a headland and new estates. For the ultimate in water views and access, try Werri Street between the lagoon and the beach.

Unemployment was 4 per cent in 2006, so there's a better probability than in many other coastal towns of being able to score a job here.


Golden Beach-Paradise Beach (Vic)

Golden Beach and neighbouring Paradise Beach are not well known outside Victoria. In fact, this collection of just 320 permanent residents is not well known outside Gippsland.

The reason is Golden and Paradise beaches are unpolished gems tucked away on a narrow spit of land separating Bass Strait from Lake Reeve. The problem (or the advantage) is that "the Beaches" are not exactly on the road to anywhere: from Melbourne you must drive 220km east to Sale and a further 20km further south.

Because no one knows where Golden and Paradise beaches are, they don't attract cashed-up baby boomers from the city, who push up prices. So secluded are these coastal communities that it's almost as if the good residents of Sale have been keeping them secret.

Well, I'm sorry, citizens of Sale, but it's time to share your private seachange booty with the rest of the nation. Get out your compass and divine your way to Golden Beach and Paradise Beach.


Tannum Sands (Qld)

This is not your typical Queensland seachange town, since it is located next to an industrial precinct.

Tannum Sands comprises 4100 permanent residents, is 500km north of Brisbane and its primary purpose is to service the needs of the Boyne Island alumina smelter. To some extent, Tannum Sands also acts as a commuter town to Gladstone, 25km to the north.

Perhaps it is this odd juxtaposition of seachange with industry that delivers Tannum Sands its unique demographic qualities: neither old nor young and close to an industrial precinct that is effective in keeping seachange-seeking yuppies at bay.

Middleton (SA)


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This town is often overlooked because it's wedged between far bigger communities.

Middleton is a coastal town of 820 residents, 80km south of the Adelaide CBD.

The reason you've probably never heard of it is it is overshadowed by Port Elliot to the west and Goolwa to the east.

The median individual weekly income is $393, suggesting a limited capacity to push up the value of property.

Binningup (WA)

The southwest coast of Western Australia is full of surprises. And here's another.

Hands up anyone outside Western Australia who has heard of Binningup. And yet there it is, bold as brass, offering all the attributes of the perfect seachange town, sitting just north of Bunbury and 150km south of Perth.

There is a single road into Binningup that is accessed off the Old Coast Road, which has been superseded by the South Western Highway that links Perth with Bunbury.

The people of Binningup are a bit like a lost Amazon tribe; their town's so hidden no one knows it exists. Until now. The gig's up Binningup. We are on to you and your idyllic way of life and we want a piece of the action. Or should that read "a piece of the inaction". Say goodbye to blissful anonymity, Binningup.

Low Head (Tas)

There the tiny town of Low Head (population 480) sits quietly minding its own business on the eastern head of the mouth of the Tamar River facing Bass Strait, when some mainlander declares this to be an idyllic place for a seachange.

But facts are facts and Low Head must face up to the fact it is a drop-dead perfect place for a seachange. Stunning river and ocean views, balanced demographic community, and close proximity to work options in Bell Bay (power generation and alumina production). And I bet the fishing is good, too. It's high time we all new about Low Head.