Engineers Australia

Shortland Esplanade, South Newcastle Beach, Australia: A case study in rockfall risk management

Greg Kotze


Shortland Esplanade at South Newcastle Beach traverses a stunning scenic location, at the base of an imposing coastal cliff line and defined by a sea wall that adjoins the Pacific Ocean. The cliff line and the sea wall comprise constraints that dictate the geometry, operation and management requirements of the esplanade alignment.

The subject section of Shortland Esplanade has had a history of rockfall activity from the overlying coastal cliffs, one such episode of which prompted Newcastle City Council to close the esplanade to protect the public from ongoing rockfall hazards. GHD Geotechnics were subsequently engaged to provide the following services:

  • Identification of rockfall risk mitigation options
  • Quantification of rockfall risk (QRA) before and after mitigation
  • Design and supervision of Council’s preferred mitigation strategy.

These aspects of this notable case study are described herein.