Sinkhole recovery at Inskip Point.
Sinkhole recovery at Inskip Point. Greg Miller

Sinkhole is dramatic, but it's not the end of the world


BEFORE listening to the fear mongers saying the subsidence that occurred so dramatically at Inskip Point last weekend is a signal that the end is nigh, it is important to remember that it has all happened before, and the world did not end then.

The earliest recording of sinkholes at Inskip have been tracked back to an incident about 15 years before Jack the Ripper was terrorizing the streets of Whitechapel.

An article in the Brisbane Courier records that on the evening of Friday, January 17, 1873 a large "landslip" occurred underneath the pilot station at Inskip that subsequently swept boats, the boatshed, tents and provisions into the sea in circumstances remarkably similar to the events of Saturday night.

There were no injuries or loss of life recorded, but the paper said the "men had a narrow escape with their lives".

Another article in the Telegraph of Wednesday January 22, 1873 goes into greater detail, saying the incident was reported to the Harbour Master, RB Sheridan esq, by Captain Durrell of the steamship Balclutha that was anchored at Tin Can Bay at the time.

This article states the subsidence happened at about 10pm and left a gap, "where now a large ship might ride at anchor."

"There is now three or four fathoms (5.4-7.2m) of water where the tents were pitched," the Telegraph reported.

The article also speculated as to the cause and cites a phenomenon called "scour".

Tidal scour is an erosion process is carried out by the tidal movement of water.

"We understand the extraordinary landslip arises from the large body of water forced into the Bay by the late heavy easterly gales, having, in its endeavour to return, formed what is called a "scour" under the point where the tents were pitched."

Reports are that this occurrence happens with regularity, to differing degrees of severity.

So perhaps with monitoring, we will be able to predict events in the future and safeguard against any possible future tragedy.