Engineers Australia

Perth Sands

Doug McInnes


‘Perth Sands’ is a widely used generic description which refers mainly to the superficial sands on the Perth Coastal Plain. They are variously referred to in terms such as loose, dirty, clean, hungry, one sized, uniform, sharp, well drained (and in some instances ‘gutless’).

This contribution examines some of the conventional geotechnical characteristics of these sands and attempts to provide a measured description of typical Perth Sands. Their disposition in terms of soil associations, their principal geotechnical properties and examples of their response as engineered materials are covered.

The discussion indicates that although their engineering properties are generally favourable, definition of these properties is substantially lacking. Details regarding their disposition and physical and chemical character are needed for progress to be made towards a better understanding of the engineering behaviour of Perth Sands.