The Great Brak River harbours a treasure trove of geological and archaeological wonders, if one knows where to look and what one is looking at. These geological features hold worldwide scientific acknowledgment, yet their significance unfortunately remains shrouded by invasive plant species and a lack of general knowledge. Who knew that the unassuming rocks that form part of the river’s eastern channel wall has been dated back to as far as 131 000 years ago?

These ancient formations at the mouth of the Great Brak River narrate the dynamic story of our planet’s evolution. From shoreface to aeolianite deposits (sandstone derived from windblown sand), these rocks serve as enduring records of past sea levels and offer an unparalleled insight into coastal development. So much so, that geologists from across the globe have journeyed here to witness these geological marvels, and their published research and findings are easy to find online. Drawn by their distinctiveness and scientific value, these formations disclose evidence of raised sea levels that hint at shifts of up to 7 m above current levels. Such revelations hold profound implications for contemporary concerns surrounding climate change and global warming, providing tangible evidence of our planet’s historical climate fluctuations.

It is not just geological significance that renders these rocks invaluable. They also bear imprints of ancient life, preserving tracks of vertebrate fauna like elephants, quaggas and antelopes. These fossilized remnants, alongside invertebrate traces and shell fossils, offer a vivid snapshot of prehistoric ecosystems, frozen in time for modern scholars to decipher. The aesthetic allure of these rocks is undeniable, marred only by the encroachment of invasive Rooikrans vegetation over recent decades.

The proliferation of Rooikrans over time in the area not only detracts from the visual appeal and hides potential new discovery but also poses a significant fire hazard to nearby communities, notably Hersham and The Island. By clearing invasive vegetation and implementing robust conservation measures, we can ensure that these irreplaceable relics of our past remain accessible and appreciated for generations to come.

Preserving areas of geological and archaeological importance like that at Great Brak River Mouth are not just about preserving history in order to study it. It’s about safeguarding our area’s heritage and understanding our place within its intricate tapestry of time.