Long term Tangaroa Blue volunteer Owen O’Shea tells of an interesting find this year at Yanchep, a cache of unopened Emu Export steel cans buried in the dunes.
“After having been involved in beach clean ups under the inspirational banner of Tangaroa Blue for some years now, there isn’t much scope left for unpredictability in the annual West Australian Beach Clean Up. Nevertheless, it is a great cause and having been involved in its organisation for the past few years, I always try and keep it interesting by offering a prize for the most unusual item recovered. While there are always the same old generic finds; children’s toys, clothing and fishing gear, one of the most common finds are alcohol containers, both bottles and cans. However, this year something a bit different was uncovered – twice. While scouring the beach at Yanchep, about 50kms north of Perth, a mate of mine, Alexis, was digging out cans of beer from the side of a sand dune that had been significantly eroded due to the recent inclement weather. However, what made it even stranger was the fact that these cans were part of a whole carton (we recovered over 20 cans), all neatly stacked on top of each other, all still full and severely degraded, but made of steel with an older style logo – EMU EXPORT. The cans were so old they broke up as they were pulled from the sand and were difficult to discern certain wordings, such as best before dates. We knew they were old, but how old?
All sorts of old fisherman’s tales started filling my head about someone burying this case of beer and forgetting where they buried it. It couldn’t have washed up and yet been so neatly stacked, but what I don’t understand is why bury a carton of beer in the first place? Could it have been kids messing about on the beach at night and being rumbled by the cops and so burying their illicit stash to ‘lose’ the evidence? Left over grog from a party that none could be bothered to lug back up the beach, and so buried for next time? Whatever the reason, it was done a long time ago, possibly before much of the northern suburban corridor was conceived, let alone built.
And so, this has bothered me so much that I contacted Lion Nathan brewery who in turn put me through to the Swan Brewery here in Perth, which now brews Emu. They listened to my story with much interest and after making some further enquiries found out that these cans were in production between 1962 and 1984. Many strange items were found that day, including a bus stop, but to find an intact case of full beers from between 28 and 52 years ago was this year’s highlight. I can’t wait for next year to see if we can beat this strange item, or possibly find some more!”
Coincidentally 400km further south during the same clean up event a midden of old steel drink cans was found in the sand dunes by Deepdene volunteers. These too were Emu Export cans, only these ones were empty and again unveiled due to recent deep erosion of sand dunes in the area.
The 2012 West Australian Beach Clean Up was a huge success again in 2012 with over 1000 volunteers taking part state wide. Beaches from Wyndham in the north, to Esperance in the south and as far offshore as the Cocos lslands, were given a spring cleaning this October. Data is rolling in and to date over 2500kg of rubbish was removed from our shoreline during this year’s clean up. Large volumes of rubbish were found on individual beaches including 280kg of rubbish removed from Challenger Beach, Kwinana, 100kg from Titchella near Port Hedland and 155kg from Deepdene Beach in WA’s south west. Not only was the weight of the rubbish found astounding but the sheer number of items found is just as concerning, with more than 40 000 individual items removed from our coastline – 4637 items alone collected by the volunteers cleaning up Binningup Beach.
The 2012 West Australian Beach Clean Up was proudly supported by Tangaroa Blue Foundation, Coastwest, Keep Australia Beautiful Council, South West Catchments Council and the WA Department of Fisheries. A full report on the event will be available at www.tangaroablue.org in the coming months and don’t forget to include the 2013 WA Beach Clean Up into your calendar for 12 & 13 October, 2013!