Kirra Beach from Kirra Hill

Pictorial Time Line

1910 - Kirra Beach was wide with rolling dunes. Settlement in the area had begun in the late 1800s.

Kirra Beach 1910 


1915 - Kirra gained popularity as a holiday destination following the establishment of a track around Kirra Point some time prior to 1889.

Kirra Beach 1915

Photo: Photographer unknown, courtesy of Gold Cost City Council Local Studies Library


1920s - Kirra Beach was still very wide and early development was taking place. The first Kirra Surf Life Saving Club House was built on the beach in 1922 (not shown).

Kirra Beach 1920s 


Early 1930s - The Kirra Beach Pavilion was under construction and people flocked to Kirra's recreational beach.

Kirra Beach 1930s 2

Photo: Photographer unknown, courtesy of Gold Cost City Council Local Studies Library


1935 - The Kirra Beach Pavilion was officially opened in 1935.

Kirra Beach 1930s

Photo: Photographer unknown, courtesy of Gold Cost City Council Local Studies Library


1936 - A tropical cylone hit Kirra on 22 March 1936, damaging the old Kirra Surf Life Saving club house and washing up against the new Kirra Beach Pavilion. Several people obtained serious injuries when waves surged into the car park and toppled a makeshift retaining wall.

Kirra Beach 1936 2

Photo: Photographer unknown, courtesy of Gold Cost City Council Local Studies Library


1936 - During the March 1963 cyclone sand bags were used to protect the Kirra Beach Pavilion when the beach was completely washed away. Foreshore protection works were extended in the storm's wake.

Kirra Beach 1936

Photo: Photographer unknown, NSW Department of Lands archive


Late 1930s - Kirra Beach recovered from the March 1936 cyclone over time and a recreational beach reformed naturally.

Kirra Beach 1930s

Photo: George Rose, courtesy of Gold Cost City Council Local Studies Library


1940s - Beach widths fluctuated naturally during the 1940s in response to erosive storms, calm periods of beach rebuilding and variations in natural longshore sand flow. At the time of this image, the beach is narrow and the Kirra Beach Pavilion is at risk of storm damage.

Kirra Reef 1940s

Photo: Photographer unknown, courtesy of Gold Cost City Council Local Studies Library


1940s - At the time of this image, a long shoal of sand had recently migrated past Kirra Point and attached itself to Kirra Beach, increasing the beach width and covering the rocks near Kirra Point. Sand shoal migration is natural coastal process that we continue to see occur seasonally at Kirra Beach.

Kirra Beach 1940s b

Photo: Photographer unknown, courtesy of Gold Cost City Council Local Studies Library


1940s - At the time of this image, there was a fairly narrow beach in front of the Kirra Beach Pavilion, but a wide expanse of sand to the north. The variation in beach width was probably due to longshore migration of sand shoals.

Kirra Beach 1940s c

Photo: Photographer unknown, courtesy of Gold Cost City Council Local Studies Library


1940s - At the time of this image, the beach shape is almost a reverse of the previous image, with a wide expanse of sand directly in front of the Kirra Beach Pavilion covering rocks near Kirra Point, and a narrow beach to the north of the Pavilion.

Kirra Beach f

Photo: Photographer unknown, courtesy of Gold Cost City Council Local Studies Library


1940s - At the time of this image, Kirra Beach had a crescent shaped shoreline offering protected swimming conditions, but little protection from storm erosion.

Kirra Beach 1940s e
Photo: Photographer unknown, courtesy of Gold Cost City Council Local Studies Library


1946 - The beach was in an accreted condition and showing some signs of longshore shoal migration.

Kirra Beach 1946
Photo: Photographer unknown, courtesy of the National Archives of Australia


1940s - It is likely that this image was taken soon after the cylone on 23 January 1947, when storm waves flooded the Kirra camp ground and completely stripped the beach of sand.

Kirra Beach 1940s d

Photo: Photographer unknown, courtesy of Gold Cost City Council Local Studies Library


1950 - No major storms had occurred since January 1947 and the beach had rebuilt naturallyover time. Onshore winds which aid beach rebuilding had also blown sand onto the road and carparks at the time of this image.

Kirra Beach 1950

Photo: Photographer unknown, courtesy of Gold Cost City Council Local Studies Library


1950 - The Kirra camping ground was popular for holiday accomodation and campers flocked to Kirra Beach to swim and sunbathe.

1950 


1952 - Despite severe erosion by a tropical cyclone on 25-30 January 1951, Kirra beach had recovered by 1952 and was in a naturally very accreted condition. Almost all the rocks near Kirra Point were covered and a wide expanse of sand existed from Kirra Point right up to Bilinga Beach.

Kirra beach 1952
Photo: Photographer unknown, courtesy of the National Archives of Australia


Around 1954 - A tropical cyclone hit Kirra on 20 February 1954, bringing 2 m high waves crashing over the road and picking up cars. Extensive beach erosion occurred.

Kirra Beach 1954
Photo: Photographer unknown, courtesy of Gold Cost City Council Local Studies Library


1955 - Kirra Beach was slow to recover naturally from the February 1954 tropical cyclone. A year and a half later the bech in front of the Kirra Beach Pavilion was still very narrow, offering little protection from further storm damage.

Kirra Beach 1955
Photo: Unknown photographer, NSW Department of Lands archive


1950s-1960s - Beach widths fluctuated naturally during the 1950s and 1960s in response to storm erosion, natural beach rebuilding processes and variations in longshore sand supply. At the time of this image the beach had plenty of sand, offering good recreational opportunities.

Kirra Beach 1950s-1960s

Photo: Photographer unknown, courtesy of Gold Cost City Council Local Studies Library


1958 - Kirra and North Kirra beaches were wide at low tide but appear to have been narrow at high tide.

Kirra Beach 1958

Photo: Photographer unknown, courtesy of the National Archives of Australia


1960s - In 1962 construction of the Tweed River entrance training walls commenced. The training walls reduced the northward longshore flow of sand from NSW to the Gold Coast beaches and Kirra started to became narrower for longer periods of time.

Kirra Beach 1960s

Photo: Photographer unknown, courtesy of Gold Cost City Council Local Studies Library


Around 1963 - Kirra was a popular recreational beach throughout the 1960s, though the beach was typically narrower than had been seen prior to the 1960s.

Kirra Beach 1963
Photo: Photographer unknown, courtesy of the National Archives of Australia


Around 1965 - In 1964 a major coastal engineering study of the Gold Coast commenced, focussing on the issue of longshore sand supply and prolonged retreat of southern Gold Coast beaches.

Kirra Beach 1965

Photo: Photographer unknown, courtesy of Gold Cost City Council Local Studies Library


1970 - No cyclones had occurred at Kirra since 1967 and the beach had recovered naturally, though not to the widths seen prior to the 1960s.

Kirra Beach 1970

Photo: Photographer unknown, courtesy of the National Archives of Australia


1970 - By November 1970, Kirra Beach had been eroded back to the rock walls in front of the Kirra Beach Pavilion, with waves overtopping the wall and flooding the carpark during storms and high seas. The major coastal engineering study of the Gold Coast was completed in 1970.

Kirra Beach January 1970

Photo: Photographer unknown, courtesy of Gold Cost City Council Local Studies Library


[No images are currently available for these dates]

  • 1972 - The Kirra Point "Big Groyne" was built.
  • 1973 - The Kirra camping ground was washed into the sea by storms. Large boulder seawalls were built in response.
  • 1974 - The most severe series of cyclones on record for the Gold Coast hit Kirra. Tropical Cyclones Wanda, Pam and Zoe occurred in close succession, with waves surging into houses along the Gold Coast. To aid beach recovery, 900,000 cubic metres of sand dredged from the Tweed River Entrance was placed on Kirra Beach following the storms.
  • 1975 - The Miles Street "Little Groyne" was built.
  • 1985 - Southern Gold Coast beaches were nourished using sand dredged from offshore reserves.
  • 1986-1987 - Calm conditions prevaled, allowing for dune fencing to be constructed.
  • 1988 - 1.85 milliion cubic metres of dredged sand was deposited just offshore at Kirra and Bilinga.
  • 1989 - Storms and erosion occurred during the summer months. In April, 50,000 cubic metres of sand was placed on offshore bars at Kirra to provide storm protection. In November 1989 - 390,000 cubic metres of sand was placed at nearshore Kirra under Stage 1 of the Southern Gold Coast Nourishment Strategy.
  • 1990 - 70,000 cubic metres of sand pumped onto Kirra Beach through a 900m long pipeline connected to an offshore dredge. In a nourished condition, Kirra Beach withstood the erosive effects of Cylone Nancy.

1995 - During the 1990s, Kirra was in a chronically eroded state. Central Kirra in particular seldom had any sand in front of its rock wall.

Kirra Beach April 1995

Photo: TRESBP


1996 - Gold Coast City Council reduced the length of the Miles Street 'Little Groyne" in June 1996 to allow sand to flow around to the badly eroded Central Kirra Beach.

Kirra Beach March 1996

Photo: TRESBP


1997 - Even following the shortening of the Miles Street 'Little Groyne', Central Kirra Beach remained severely eroded.

Kirra beach 1997

Photo: Photographer unknown, courtesy of Gold Cost City Council Local Studies Library


1998 - Kirra and Central Kirra Beaches were severely eroded, with little sand on the beach at high tide.Kirra Beach January 1998

Photo: TRESBP


1999 - Kirra Beach had recovered to some extent but Central Kirra Beach was still very badly eroded.

Kirra Beach 1999

Photo: TRESBP


2000 - There was little change in the condition of Kirra and Central Kirra Beaches from 1999 to 2000. The beaches were still both in a long-term eroded state and adjacent land and infrastructure was at extreme risk of potentially significant damage by ocean storms.

Kirra Beach January 2000

Photo: TRESBP

Page last updated/reviewed: 05 May 2014