Frequently Asked Questions

Beaumaris Bay circa 1910 (left), BMYS Today on Land Fill in Beaumaris Bay (right)

Beaumaris Bay circa 1910 (left), BMYS Today on Land Fill in Beaumaris Bay (right)

Q. What is The Beaumaris Motor Yacht Squadron (BMYS) and where is it?
A. The BMYS is a private Motor Yacht Squadron located on the eastern shore of Port Phillip Bay Victoria Australia, about 24 kms south east from Melbourne CBD (note that the BMYS is a motor boat club and is entirely separate to the Beaumaris Yacht Club – a small beach dinghy sailing club). The area this private BMYS motor boat club occupies is Crown Land that is leased from the state Government (Allotment 49H Parish of Moorabbin). BMYS pays $13,000 per annum for the lease, as per Schedule A of the 21-year Crown lease issued on 1 June 1997, which is set to expire on the 1st of July 2018. There is no option for BMYS to extend the lease beyond 2018.

Q. When was the BMYS formed?
A. The BMYS was established in 1959 and incorporated in 2004. In late 1959 this private club initiated land filling of Beaumaris Bay, a public site, on top of the existing beach and into the sea bed. An access road was cut into the historic cliffs in 1960. Today this private club still has less than 700 members, with approximately half living somewhere other than Beaumaris.

Q. What are the important aspects of the BMYS current Lease?

A. Below is an extract of particulars pertaining to the current temporary lease BMYS holds on this area of beach in Beaumaris Bay. Note that the lease area does not include the area of sea bed where the proposed Marina is to be built with berths sold off – this area is currently a reservation, being Crown land adjacent to the current lease. This lease expires in July 2018 with no option to extend it.

Schedule A     Commencement:  1st July 1997  -  Term:   Twenty one (21) Years  - Specified Purpose:  Motor Yacht Club and associated activities

Option to Renew:         NIL

Schedule C

15.1     Recognition of importance of Fossils and right to collect

15.3     Area to be fenced:  clubhouse “Allow members of the public on foot … without hindrance…  outside the fenced area of the club house”




6.1       Ownership of Improvements “at the date of termination of this lease…the Lessee’s works (except for any Lessee’s trade fixtures or fittings) and any additions or modifications to the Leesee’s works reverts to and becomes the property of the Lessor”  Notice to Exercise Option – NIL

6.23.7  THE PROVISIONS OF THE FURTHER LEASE WILL BE THE SAME AS THE PROVISIONS OF THIS LEASE with the following exceptions: The commencement date

6.23.7.  The rent It will not provide for an option for a further term…

6.18.1 “the Lessor may at any time during the last three months of the term place and leave appropriate notices on the premises to advise their availability for lease … MAY CONDUCT PROSPECTIVE FUTURE LESSEES THROUGH THE PREMISES FOR THE PURPOSE OF INSPECTION.”

BOAT RAMP  SCHEDULE C OF LEASE 15.2.1 – current lease allows the boat ramps within the premises to be available for public use in EMERGENCIES


Q. How many members belong to the BMYS?

A. Membership varies year on year, but the BMYS Newsletter from February 2015 states an upper limit of 700: “the constitution of the club restricts the total membership to a maximum of 700 members”. It is estimated that no more than 50% of these members are local to the Beaumaris community. There are about 600 registered vessels in the club. Notably many of these members are unaware of the revived marina plans and many that are aware are against this expensive and damaging proposal.

Q. What does this private Motor Yacht Squadron propose on this Crown land?
A. The proposal is to replace the existing pier with a members only 120 boat marina extending out 160 metres from the shore catering for the berthing of boats up to 18 metres in length. The proposed development will involve creating a breakwater wall that will enclose more seabed area with an increase in the reclaimed area from 12,000m2 to approximately 15,740m2. Two high sea walls totalling 550 metres in length made up of 130,000 cubic metres of large basalt rocks are to be dumped over an additional 3740 sq. metres of our fossil rich sea bed.

Key redevelopment features include:

  • Construction of a surrounding rock wall breakwater
  • 120 floating marina berths
  • 3 lane fully protected boat ramp
  • 680m2 boardwalk
  • 78 berth ‘dry stack’ facility, launching dock and ‘lay by’ berths
  • Sewage pump out facilities
  • Extension of the adjacent stormwater drain within the breakwater into deeper water
  • Car and trailer parking
  • New club house and kiosk
Beaumaris Marina Plans

Beaumaris Marina Plans

This private club wants to significantly extend its construction on top of and in front of rich fossil deposits, including a 3 storey high dry stack boat storage area 78 metres long. Smaller craft will be stored in the dry stack and accessed by a massive fork lift type of vehicle. This private club also proposes to create a 3 lane boat ramp and new club house with function facilities. In addition the club has proposed the construction of 680 square metres of piled boardwalk decking over the shoreline and install traffic lights at the cliff top where the members only access road intersects with Beach Rd.

Planned Marina Expansion & Fossil Cliff Encroachment (Red) vs. Current Landfill Site (Olive)

Planned Marina Expansion & Fossil Cliff Encroachment (Red) vs. Current Landfill Site (Olive)

Q. How much would the Beaumaris Marina cost and how is it all going to work?

A. This significant proposal is estimated to cost around AU$21 million dollars. Note that income from selling berths over sea bed is using Crown Land for which BMYS currently does not have a Lease.  BMYS Financials show:

Planned Beaumaris Marina Income & Budget Estimate

Income from Sales of Berths $16,992,900.00
(from sales of berths over sea bed on Crown land – not currently leased)

Income from Members Dry Stack $6,026,400.00
(boats with fuel tanks to be stacked on top of each other against the cliffs)

Loan/Other Income $1,500,000.00

Total Income $24,519,300.00

Less Capital Budget $21,143,000.00

Contingency Surplus $3,376,300.00


Q. What is so important about Beaumaris Bay?
A. In addition to the abundance of present day sea creatures that call Beaumaris Bay home, the cliffs and underlying gravel beds of Beaumaris contain one of the richest and most diverse fossil assemblages in the world, with more than 31 vertebrate families already discovered at Beaumaris. The Museum of Victoria states that the sea bed and cliffs here represent Australia’s best snapshot of life over the past 6 million years including extinct dugongs, giant wombats and human-sized penguins. Beaumaris has produced the only fossil evidence in Australia of several marine animal groups, including whales, seals, sea turtles and seabirds.

To view the many kinds of fossils Beaumaris offers the World, have a look through this Guide To The Fossils Of Beaumaris.

A Pelegornis (ancient 6m wing-spanned fanged pelican), Discovered For The First Time In Beaumaris 2004.

A Pelegornis (Ancient 6m Wing-Spanned Fanged Pelican), Discovered For The First Time In Beaumaris 2004.

The importance of Beaumaris is not only its rare sea fossils, but that it provides evidence of both sea life and land megafauna from the Cenozoic era (0-66 million years ago) in the one place, offering a combined evidence that is pivotal to calibrating the timescale for the evolution of Australia’s unique marsupial fauna. In short, without Beaumaris, we would know nothing of the prehistoric past of many of the most iconic and ecologically influential organisms in Australia.

A Diprotodon Fossil Discovered at Beaumaris.

A Diprotodon (Giant Wombat) Fossil Discovered at Beaumaris.

Major discoveries continue to be made, showing that the full scientific and educational potential of this fossil site has yet to be realised. In 2014, the discovery of sea turtle fossils at Beaumaris enabled scientists to fill in a 66-million-year gap in the history of Australian reptiles. In February 2015 at a recent Beaumaris Fossil Day event, it appears another major discovery was made that could potentially narrow a 100-million-year gap in Victoria’s record and rewrite our understanding of ancient megafauna in Australia.

A 5 Million Year Old Turtle Fossil (shell bone and jaw) Discovered in 2014 at  Beaumaris

A 5 Million Year Old Turtle Fossil (shell bone and jaw) Discovered in 2014 at Beaumaris.

Unfortunately though, what is considered the best part of this amazing fossil site has been covered over by land-fill dumped by the Beaumaris Motor Yacht Squadron (BMYS), with the club now planning to drastically increase their coverage of the site, when in fact the opposite should be happening.

Fossil Fossicker Richard Casley Shows An Ancient Whale Tooth He Just Found At Beaumaris. Picture: Andrew Henshaw

Fossil Fossicker Richard Casley Shows An Ancient Megladon Shark Tooth He Just Found At Beaumaris. Picture: Andrew Henshaw

Q. Is Beaumaris a Marine Sanctuary?
Yes, Beaumaris is home to an official Marine Sanctuary, where it is illegal to fish or even take sea shells off the beach (“All activities in Marine National Parks and Marine Sanctuaries must be conducted as “no-take” activities for all animals, plants, shells, sand, seaweed, and other artefacts”).

The official Beaumaris Marine Sanctuary extends for kilometres along the Black Rock and Beaumaris coastline, stopping just meters west of the Beaumaris Motor Yacht Squadron and their planned 100+ boat marina. With rare sealife living around the current BMYS site, it makes sense that the Marine Sanctuary should now be extended slightly to incorporate this area, in addition to the proposal to list this site as World Heritage given its globally significant fossils.

The Beaumaris Marine Sanctuary

The Beaumaris Marine Sanctuary

Whilst the current BMYS site is just outside the Marine Sanctuary, tidal longshore drift, particularly over summer between the months of November and April when boating is most active, shifts water from the site of the planned BMYS marina directly into the protected Beaumaris Marine Sanctuary, bringing with it many potential pollutants from the BMYS including disturbed sediments, raw sewage or “blackwater” discharged from boats, toxic anti-fouling paints that intentionally dissolve off boat surfaces as well as engine contaminants including metal fragments, petrol and motor oils.

Long Shore Drift Brings Containments from BMYS into the Marin Sanctuary.

Long Shore Drift Bringing Potential Contaminants from BMYS into the Marine Sanctuary.

Q. Is Beaumaris Bay of Aboriginal Significance?
A. Yes, an Aboriginal shell midden is located at the site and registered as an Aboriginal Cultural Heritage Place (MDT Consulting Pty. Ltd., 2009). The site of significance is visible as a profile deposit on the very edge of Beaumaris cliffs, east of the BMYS car park. The midden is located in an erosion gully at the top of the cliff between Hutchinson and Cromer Roads. It is located about 12cm below the ground surface, and is about 4cm thick.

Aborigine shell middens contain shellfish remains, bones (of fish, birds, land and sea mammals used for food), charcoal from campfires, and tools made from stone, shell, and bone. Numerous aspects of distant Aboriginal life can be determined from the analysis of shell middens including diet, hunting and gathering techniques, seasonality of resource use, the existence of trade routes and local habitat.

The Registered Aboriginal Cultural Heritage Place at Beaumaris Bay.

The Registered Aboriginal Cultural Heritage Place at Beaumaris Bay.

Q. What is there now by way of “improvements”?
A. For millennia until 1960 this area was a protected natural area of bay beneath the cliffs, with an extremely rich fossil bed. It is thought that millions of years ago this area of Beaumaris represented the opening of an ancient Yarra river, which carried dead land animals down to the bay where their remnants later became fossils along with the sea life. Aborigines also chose this area of the Bay as a shell midden, with Australian natives renowned for choosing the best locations for their camp-fires.

Original State of Beaumaris Bay circa 1900 (now defunct Keefers Boat Rental in the background)

Original State of Beaumaris Bay circa 1900 (now defunct Keefers Boat Rental in the background)

Beaumaris in 1945, Before BMYS Land-Filling Began.

Beaumaris in 1945, Before BMYS Land-Filling Began.

In 1959 an investigation began into reclaiming an area of sea below the cliffs to facilitate slipping of boats. Land-filling of this bay area began in October 1959, with an access road cut into the historic cliffs by mid-1960. Within the first year of establishment, before Opening Day on Christmas 1960, an access road, launching ramp and cyclone fence had been constructed. During the 1960’s the BMYS club experienced an ongoing period of opposition to its development from local residents who felt they were being excluded from this area of public foreshore.

The BMYS Dumping Landfill into Beaumaris Bay (1961)

The BMYS Dumping Landfill into Beaumaris Bay (1961).

By July 1962, 1.5 acres of the Bay had been reclaimed, lined by an 8ft heavy rock sea wall, and sealed off by a chain wire mesh fence and locked gates. In 1963 an additional 2.5 acres of bay was reclaimed using landfill and a clubhouse was officially opened. Construction of the main pier began in March 1964. The access road cut into the historic cliffs was sealed in 1971. In 1998 the BMYS doubled the area of the landing again.

Today, trailer boats are launched by members only from 12,000sq metres of former fossil rich seabed that the private club has currently reclaimed from the Bay. This reclaimed area comprises, inter alia, two launching ramps, car parking facilities and a 2 story club house. There is also a 60 metre long concrete pier.

The BMYS Today on Landfill Dumped In The Bay.

The BMYS Today on Landfill Dumped In The Bay.

Recently, rubbish has been discovered dumped into an area north-east of the car park behind a cyclone fence. This is modern rubbish containing plastic bags and bottles, which appears to have been exposed by weathering above a rock wall, with mulch then placed over it.

Rubbish Illegally Dumped into this Crown Land.

Rubbish Illegally Dumped into this Crown Land.

Q. Can the huge marina development be stopped?
A. Of course it can! People power recently stopped a similar marina proposal on Port Phillip Bay at Mornington. There was also an attempt by the BMYS to build a marina on this exact site in 1969 which was quickly quashed (and this is purportedly why the BMYS now refers to their revived marina plans as a “safe harbour“, a term deemed less controversial).

It is an interesting time for the BMYS to propose a new marina, as their lease on this Crown land will expire outright in June 2018, with no option to extend it. Whilst their marina plans would generate themselves $17m in revenue off the public sea beds in Beaumaris Bay, the current lease doesn’t even cover the sea beds on which this marina is proposed.

A further $6m is planned to be raised by extending the landfill area even further, covering more fossil beds towards Mentone and building a boat stacker against the cliffs – the very fossil-rich cliffs featured in Tom Robert’s famous painting “Mentone”. If BMYS stacks their motor boats with fuel tanks along the cliff, the chances of another fire are high, such as that which burned down the neighbouring and now defunct Keefers Boat Rental in 1984.

From early 2018 everyone has the right to inspect this site and apply for a new lease so that this precious fossil site can be put to better use than a closed-off marina on public land for a small number of people who mostly are not even from Beaumaris. Their marina can be built anywhere, for example in Edithvale, where the BMYS commodore lives.

Artist Impression of the Proposed Beaumaris Marina

Artist Impression of the Proposed Beaumaris Marina

Q. Does this private Motor Yacht Squadron have a Liquor Licence?
A. Yes. From 12.00 noon to 1.00am. But it is generally noted by locals that the downstair’s bar operates outside theses hours on Sunday mornings.

Q. What can I do to help?
A. First sign our petition! Then share this site and petition with as many people as possible by clicking the icons below, and be sure follow our Twitter account @BeaumarisMarina.

Petition Against The Beaumaris Marina

I the undersigned,


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Q. How can I contact the organisers of this site?
A. If you have any further questions, comments or would like to help our cause to protect Beaumaris Bay, send us an email at: