Diving in the Bexhill Quarry

Updated: Oct 17


I received a phone call from a Crown Lands employee throughout the week who has made a claim to the effect of "You and Southern Cross University are not authorised to be on the land". I asked him to demonstrate how (given the lack of signage, fencing). He said that because there was once a fence, that it was trespassing. This interpretation, in my opinion, is not supported by case law in any New South Wales Court, the Inclosed Lands Protection act or the Management of Crown Lands legislation.

Crown Lands have stated that there would be a fence erected, the employee (I don't have his name) did state that he would provide me a statement by email, this has not occurred.

If I do receive correspondence from Crown Lands, I will write a seperate article for that.


If you search for the Bexhill Quarry, you will find the following article from the Northern Star (now sold out to the Daily Telegraph)

Samantha Poate is currently a Journalist for NBN News. She did work at Newscorp and holds a Bachelor of Arts from Charles Sturt University.

It should be noted, Ms Poate is not trained in SCUBA Diving, Science or Law and the article cherry picked an report from Southern Cross University (SCU) from 2002, ~16 years old at the date of this article.

Ms Poate claims "Lismore City Council have warned people to avoid Bexhill Quarry following a report by SCU in 2002 revealing the pH levels in the water were almost as acidic as vinegar."

In 2020, I helped SCU EAL with a fact finding mission. The pH was found to be 4.76, the drinking water pH in Australia is between 6 and 10. This is only to reduce corrosion in pipes (Australian Drinking Water Guidelines 2011, Page 845), the water is slightly more acidic than the water that would come out of your pipes. The pH of vinegar is around 2.5, To say that the pH levels in the water were almost as acidic as vinegar in 2018 is like saying that the water in your taps is as acidic as Diesel (which has a pH of 5.5).

Mr Lancaster from the SCU EAL has never expressed any concern to me about the quality of water, knowing that I conduct dive operations in the Quarry.

Given that people have been swimming in there, I have been diving in there and left equipment in there without any damage, I have to accept that the article was a bit sensationalist.

Now the legal side, can you be there?

I am certainly not a solicitor, I would welcome any feedback from a solicitor however the following should be noted that Inclosed Land is;

any land, either public or private, inclosed or surrounded by any fence, wall or other erection, or partly by a fence, wall or other erection and partly by a canal or by some natural feature such as a river or cliff by which its boundaries may be known or recognised, including the whole or part of any building or structure and any land occupied or used in connection with the whole or part of any building or structure.


Any person who, without lawful excuse (proof of which lies on the person), enters into inclosed lands without the consent of the owner, occupier or person apparently in charge of those lands, or who remains on those lands after being requested by the owner, occupier or person apparently in charge of those lands to leave those lands, is liable to a penalty

Section 4, Inclosed Lands Protection Act 1901 (NSW)

Once upon a time, a fence existed around the Quarry. This fence has since been pulled down (whether by time, individuals or council is not clear). The crown is in charge of those lands and have not made a request for people to leave. Additionally, the onus would be on the crown to put a fence up (which they have done at Quarries such as the Riley's Hill quarry only about an hour south of the Bexhill Quarry).

Until advised not to use the land by the DPI (who are responsible for it), I don't see locals being dissuaded to use it anytime soon.

The Quarry still has amazing potential to be a tourist attraction and quite promisingly, I have seen marine life in the water just today (3 October 2021) which may indicate that fish could be introduced to the Quarry in the future.

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