Pillar 4 - Safety beach bay trail

Banksias lean and twist on dunes
as Yellowtail Black Cockatoos
save these trees; ‘Kee-oo kee-oos’
butchering beetles.
‘Calyptorynchus funeralis’
in winter mantle.

This ‘Jingle’ was written by Tom McCullough in 2015 to celebrate the remnant native Coastal Banksia trees (banksia integrifolia) that cluster here and there on old sand dunes bordering Marine Drive, Safety Beach. They lean away from the onshore winds, and grow with twisted trunks into attractive shapes like giant Japanese bonsai plants. The trunks of most Banksias have lots of holes in them from the larvae of Longicorn beetles, which can eventually kill the trees if left untreated. 

Originally there were plenty of Yellowtail Black Cockatoos (Calyptorynchus funeralis) here to feed on the cones of Banksia trees, and they also liked eating the beetles and their larvae. Some people believe that more damage is done to trees by Cockatoos stripping away the bark as they search the tunnels of the beetles looking for larvae. However others believe that the birds can save the Coastal Banksia trees if enough of them nest in the area and feed here regularly. Unfortunately we only see these quite rare birds a few times a year, usually in winter months around June. It is as if these large birds are dressed in mourning clothes (their ‘funeralis’ mantle) when they fly past in winter calling in a worried tone ‘kee-oo  kee-oo’.

Mornington Peninsula Shire funded these poetry pillars that were designed* by Safety Beach Foreshore Landscape Committee Inc., in 2016 (*copyright T. McCullough).

There are 11 of these pillars with different ‘Jingles’ on each one. The pillars are spaced at intervals of about 200 metres apart, alongside the Bay Trail at Safety Beach foreshore. Marine Drive is parallel to the Bay Trail which runs from the south at Nepean Highway intersection, to the northern end at the Mt Martha cliffs (or Tassell’s Beach) opposite Bruce Road intersection, Martha Cove Marina’s channel entrance and S.B. Sailing Club building. Each Pillar has two red ‘port’ squares or green ‘starboard’ triangles on it, similar to Channel Markers leading into an anchorage. They are meant to reflect our channel markers in Port Phillip Bay leading northward to Melbourne.


R.V. Lewis, Dromana Beach, pp. 127,134, Greypath Press, Vic., 2004.   

For further information or questions, please write to: The Secretary, Safety Beach Foreshore Landscape Committee, 65 Victoria Street, Safety Beach, Victoria, 3934.