‘Radioactive sand’ closes popular island campsite


High levels of radioactive sand has forced the closure of a popular North Stradbroke Island campground during its busy Christmas tourist season.

Dunwich's Adam's Beach campground was locked down in the weeks before Christmas following the discovery of radioactive material in top soil at the site.

The Quandamooka Yoolooburrabee Aboriginal Corporation - which manages the island - said it closed the campground following advice from the Department of Resources.

"The legacy of sand mining, and the history of transporting the sand mined through Dunwich has resulted in some long term contamination issues which are being investigated in detail by the State of Queensland," it said.

"Once works have occurred in accordance with the remediation plan, QYAC intends to reopen the Adam's Beach campground."

Decades of sand mining on the island has resulted in frequent recordings of higher than usual levels of radioactivity - however State Government investigations have found no threat to public health.

A public notice regarding the closure of North Stradbroke Island's Adam's Beach campground.
A public notice regarding the closure of North Stradbroke Island's Adam's Beach campground.

A Department of Resources spokeswoman confirmed some "low-level contamination associated with mineral sands was found at a number of isolated locations at Adams Beach".

However, she said the closure of the camping grounds "is at the discretion of QYAC".

"The department will continue to consult with QYAC on progress and options for future management of the site and we are also consulting with Queensland Health to assess the risks and options for current and future management of the site," the spokeswoman said.

In 2012 the results of a two-year health investigation undertaken by the State Government found no "evidence to suggest that activities associated with the mining, processing and transportation of mineral sand on North Stradbroke Island adversely affected occupational or public health, from a radiological perspective".

In October Stradbroke Early Learning Centre at Dunwich temporarily closed parts of its facility following concerns about a higher than usual level of radioactive elements uranium and thorium in the sand.

The closure of Adam's Beach campground comes after the nearby Bradbury's Beach grounds were closed over Christmas due to construction.

Despite the closures residents say the island has been packed with campers and tourists during the high-peak season.

Dunwich Business Group President Bill Giles questioned the closure of the two campgrounds, declaring harmless radioactivity frequently occurred on the island.

Mr Giles said the island remained "chock-a-block" full of tourists.

"There's been a surprising number of people here," he said.

"The shelves at the local Foodworks were almost empty which is good for them."

Originally published as 'Radioactive sand' closes popular island campsite