Local's rant about warning sign triggers fiery debate: 'Can't you read?'

The woman said visitors often put their lives at risk by sitting on the beach.

A woman from Far North Queensland has sparked a fiery discussion after posting a lengthy rant about tourists who she claims are ignoring important “warning signs”.

The ex-pat, who appears to have lived in Cardwell for several years, complained online last week that “day after day after day” she is forced to shoo visitors off the town’s iconic beach overlooking Hinchinbrook Island.

“I have come to the conclusion that people who are not Australian can’t read warning signs,” she posted on Facebook alongside a photo of a sign erected on the beach.

The warning sign in front of the beach in Cardwell, Far North Queensland.
The resident in Cardwell, Far North Queensland, claimed tourists frequently ignore warning signs at the beach. Source: Facebook

“Warning,” it reads in English, Chinese and German, urging people not to swim because “crocodiles inhabit this area” and “attacks may cause injury or death”. The sign also tells tourists to “keep away from the water’s edge” and “take extreme care when launching or retrieving boats”.

Campers should stay “well away from the water” and fishermen are discouraged from cleaning fish or leaving fish waste behind.

“Like the one in the picture, it clearly, in a couple of languages just in case they can’t understand the pictures, says that it’s not the best idea to go onto the beach,” the woman added.

Local 'yells' at visitors to 'get off the beach'

The 68-year-old resident said tourists often visit Cardwell for its idyllic view, and stop to grab a sandwich or one of their “apparently famous meat pies” and a coffee or beer.

“They’ll have a walk along the foreshore path and look at the never-ending sandy beach that has absolutely no human footprints on it; they gaze at the horizon dotted with some of the Great Barrier Reef islands and look for the steps down to that beach,” she said.

Large crocodile alongside boat on Ord River.
Crocodiles in northern Australia are getting bigger every year, local Rodney Fischer recently told Yahoo. Source: Rodney Fischer

“Because they don’t read the signs, and the moment that they get their towel laid out, or pull off their shoes some well-meaning local (like me) will rock up and yell at them ‘get off the beach’, or ‘can’t you read, you dork?’.”

The travellers are “lucky” if they haven’t let their kids jump into the water yet, and “may go away thinking that elderly Australian women are right weird”, she continued.

“If they are not so lucky they might get eaten,” the local said. “After discovering that all the hullabaloo is because our waters are infested with crocodiles, sharks and stingers, they have a tendency not to come here for their holidays.”

Woman's warning sign rant backfires

The woman’s rant has ignited a heated debate, with several social media users arguing that the sign doesn’t tell people they can’t walk or sit on the sand.

“Um, the sign says not to go in the water and use caution by the water edge” one person responded. “It does not say ‘do not go on to the beach’. The two images are also no swimming and ‘here there be crocodiles’ — not no entry. So maybe a new sign is needed?”

“I am also struggling to understand the issue with just walking along the beach, as long as you don’t go put your hand on anything suspiciously log shaped with eyes,” another said.

A third person who claimed they walk on a “croc beach” everyday deemed the post “a gross exaggeration of the danger.”

“Vigilance yes, but not to stay off of the beach. People fish off of the beach all the time, no problem,” someone else wrote.

Other Aussies joked that the woman was “starving the crocodiles” and that “it’s called natural selection”. Last year, a man was attacked by a crocodile in Far North Queensland when he and his dog entered dangerous waters. The croc mauled him on the leg before turning on, and killing his dog.

Love Australia's weird and wonderful environment? Get our new newsletter showcasing the week’s best stories.