Aussie town erupts as 'enraged' locals swarm beloved jetty to protest council

The damaged jetty on South Australia's Eyre Peninsula has been closed for over 17 months after one pile was damaged in a storm.

Locals in a small Aussie town have stripped down to their swimmers and climbed over restrictive barriers in a bid to protest against the closure of a beloved landmark — and it's not the first time the community have gone to drastic measures over a dispute with the state government.

Over the weekend dozens of residents in Tumby Bay on South Australia's Eyre Peninsula gathered together with handwritten signs which read 'Fix our Jetty' and 'Save Tumby Bay'. The jetty has been closed since October 2022 after one of the piles sustained damage after a storm. The entire jetty was written off with a report concluding 26 piles were at the "end of life".

Left, locals climb over barriers at the start of Tumby Bay jetty. Right, a sign reads 'Fix our Jetty'.
Residents climbed over the barrier to run down Tumby Bay jetty and jump into the ocean in protest of its closure. Source: TikTok

For 17 months now the locals have been unable to enjoy the jetty which has been long considered the "lifeblood" of the town. One visitor remarked online that a "massive highlight of every kid's summer" was to jump off the jetty but that hadn't been possible for the last two consecutive summers now.

She found the "enragement" of the community "wild" but impressive, watching as droves of locals climbed over the barriers and ran down the 350-metre jetty before jumping off it this past weekend in the hope the protest would spur action from the local council.

A big crowd seen jumping off the jetty at Tumby Bay
Some locals displayed their discontent in impressive fashion. Source: Facebook

Repairs could cost up to $20 million

The council lease the jetty from the state government and after the storm damage was sustained in October 2022, it was determined it would cost between $17 million to $20 million to repair the jetty, with a shorter replacement jetty estimated at $10 million.

However Yahoo understands the District Council of Tumby Bay is only provided with $5 million per year to oversee all public spaces, meaning an increase in rates paid by residents is on the table as a potential way to fund the jetty repair.

Council responds to residents' passion for town jetty

The local council confirmed to Yahoo News it is currently unknown when the jetty will be repaired and reopened to the public, with the undetermined timeline frustrating locals.

"Jetties are the lifeblood of these regional towns. They're a place where people meet, people come to our town to be on the jetty, it's a draw card and especially for regional and remote communities… it's just such an important part of our social recreation," a District Council of Tumby Bay spokesperson said.

Left, signs on the restrictive barriers at the start of the jetty. Right, dozens of locals line up on the jetty to wait their turn to jump off.
It is currently unknown how long the jetty will be closed off to public use. Source: TikTok

In the 1990s the Tumby Bay jetty was set to be demolished and locals physically chained themselves to it in a bid to protect against it from demolition. The jetty has long been a symbol of the town and a place of nostalgia for locals. It was after this incident the council stepped in and began to lease the jetty from the state government.

"There's a lot of passion around Tumby and a lot of love for their jetty, I think that's what was demonstrated on the weekend," the spokesperson said.

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