The Prince Street seawall – better known as The Wall – was considered to be indestructible when it was built between North Cronulla and Elouera beaches in 1985.
It replaced a previous concrete, perpendicular structure which was wrecked by a huge storm in 1974.
An earlier seawall had experienced the same fate.
The 1985 Leader report said, “It has taken 10 years to come up with a replacement wall which could stand up to all the sea could throw at it.
‘‘Sutherland Council engineers are convinced that the model they are building will do it.’’
The $1.7 million project involved the installation of 3500 hexagonal shaped concrete blocks, each weighing one tonne.
They were supported by a flexible PVC mattress, covered by galvanised wire cages filled with rounded river cobbles.
However, in 2007, another big storm left the predictions...and the wall, in ruins.
This led to a reconstruction project, costing $4.6 million and marred by delays, a cost blowout and controversy over engineering aspects.
The new wall was completed in 2010, but it didn’t take long before defects started to appear.
A Sutherland Shire Council report in 2015 said repairs would cost $1 million.
Problems included erosion, gaps between contiguous piles, exposed concrete reinforcement and subsidence of the concrete units used in the construction of the sea wall.
Comments made by former councillor and state MP Maurie Keane after the 1974 storm are pertinent.
Mr Keane said the council was “contending with tremendous natural forces, and the time would come when the sea would reassert its superiority”.