The case of the missing beach

Topic: Water in the world
Student activity

Students use a series of photographs as geographical sources to understand the nature of an atmospheric and hydrological event on the east coast of NSW.

This is the student activity 1 of 2 of the Collaroy case study learning activity.

Task No. 1

Identify the nature of the natural hazard

Look at the gallery of images of Collaroy Beach below. These photos show the impact of a natural hazard. Working in small groups, focus on one specific image.

Collaroy case study images


Answer the following question:

  • What has happened?

Annotate the photograph using post-it notes to show the problems your group has noticed and what they tell you about the natural hazard that has occurred.

Read at least one newspaper article from 6 June 2016. Use the information you have gathered from the article(s) and add further annotations to your group’s photograph. These annotations should highlight key details of the natural hazard that has caused the destruction seen in the photographs.

Task No. 2

Response to the natural hazard

View the following photographs showing the immediate response to the events of 5 June 2016. 


Volunteers fill and place sandbags to prevent further erosion of Collaroy Beach, 7 June 2016 / photograph by Louise Whelan
Item 14: The coastline at Collaroy, looking south from Stuart Street, 8 June 2016 / photograph by Louise Whelan
Item 20: Tony Cagorski in front of his damaged house with temporary sea wall under construction, Collaroy Beach, 4 July 2016 / photograph by Louise Whelan

Complete a See-Think-Wonder routine for each of the photographs and share your findings with the class. You may like to use this See Think Wonder template to document your thoughts on each photograph. 

Imagine you are employed by a Sydney based newspaper as the person responsible for Social Media content. Choose one photograph that you would post on the newspaper’s Facebook or Instagram profile. Write a detailed caption to accompany the photograph describing the immediate response to the storm damage at Collaroy Beach. You can find out more about the immediate response from this ABC News article