Mayhem at Hyams with CommBank's Catherine Livingstone turning activist

Mayhem at Hyams with CommBank's Catherine Livingstone turning activist
Mayhem at Hyams with CommBank's Catherine Livingstone turning activist

The residents of idyllic Hyams Beach, the NSW South Coast town, are unhappy with the torrent of summer tourists drawn to their picturesque beach.

"We need to close the village when the village is full," Lois Sparkles, a committee member of the Hyams Beach Villagers Association told Fairfax Media.

"We need a system to limit the number of cars coming in," she says.

Tourism and infrastructure spending has helped make Hyams Beach one of the hot spots of the NSW tourism industry, if international tourists can't get to Whitehaven in Queensland.

Recently it was declared Hyams didn't have the whitest sand in the country, it was likely a beach in WA.

A NSW tourist campaign has promoted the beach on the back of Sydney buses while false claims spread on the internet suggest that Guiness World Records had declared it the whitest beach in the world.

The permanent population of 112 jumps to 4000 people some summer evenings, and the streets become overwhelmed with traffic, according to residents.

This Australia Day weekend could be its busiest ever.

The lobby group got local Fairfax Media coverage in the South Coast Register, with four articles early in the new year including pictures of the traffic after rangers were forced to turn visitors away, some of whom had travelled three hours for a Hyams Beach experience. 

Then the issues appeared on the Domain website, without reference to Fairfax's South Coast Register, and has since escalated nationally after the CommBank chairperson Catherine Livingstone and her husband, Michael Satterthwaite were smartly spotted amid a nondescript photo of the annoyed activists by the Australian Financial Review's Rear Window column.

"She's here quite a bit," said Morgan Sant, the president of the villagers association advised. "Like everybody else she wants to enjoy the ambience that Hyams Beach has most the year all year around."

They paid $940,000 in 2002, securing a $200,000 renovation approval in 2005.

It had previously been a rental known as Watermark.

Amanda Findley, the local mayor, said the Shoalhaven City Council hopes to find a solution by Easter.

Mayor Findley recommended Callala Beach and Bay, which has the same white sand, and peaceful bay without the congestion, with plenty of parking spaces.

Ms Livingstone suggests a shuttle from a carpark outside the village, which is hemmed in by pristine bushland. 

Mayhem at Hyams with CommBank's Catherine Livingstone turning activist
Commonwealth Bank chairman Catherine Livingstone wore dark glasses for a photograph of Hyams Beach residents upset with congestion.

Offering direct beach access to Hyams Beach from its exclusive position, nearby 94 Cyrus recently sold for a record $3.5 million.

The home was only completed in June and was built and fully landscaped by Tim Clout, one of the best builders in Jervis Bay.

Mayhem at Hyams with CommBank's Catherine Livingstone turning activist

It last traded for $1.7 million in 2014 as a vacant 880 sqm land parcel.

The home has four bedrooms, three bathrooms, a large front deck, covered walkways and a swimming pool.

Comparable homes in Hyams Beach would generate over $110,000 per annum, with a peak weekly rate of around $6,500, according to the marketing.

South Coast Properties agent Craig McIntosh sold the home after $3.5 million hopes.

Cyrus Street is the localities millionaire's row. The top 10 most expensive homes in the area have sold on the street.

94 Cyrus would set the price record that has barely been challenged since 2007 when Elandra, a seven bedroom home seven doors down sold for $3.44 million.

It was bought by former bankrupt Keddies partner Scott Roulstone and wife Kathryn.

Last year another Cyrus Street home fetched $2.86 million. 

Jonathan Chancellor

Jonathan Chancellor

Jonathan Chancellor is one of our authors. Jonathan has been writing about property since the early 1980s and is editor-at-large of Property Observer.

Tourism Hyams Beach


Be the first one to comment on this article
What would you like to say about this project?