ARTWORK AND REAL TIME DATA SET TO ENGAGE LAKE MACQUARIE BEACH-GOERS

One of Lake Macquarie’s most iconic stretches of coast has been adorned by local artwork, to engage beach-goers in surf safety.

The trio of Redhead Beach murals, painted by local artist Daniel Joyce, is a part of the Smart Beaches campaign, with one of the murals set to have a digital board installed to broadcast live beach information.

Other Smart Beaches technology is being trialed at Redhead and Blacksmiths Beach over the past 6 months.

The technology includes sensors monitoring wave and swell movement, to providing earlier detection of dangerous conditions.

While, crowd-counting cameras are monitoring visitor activity to gauge which beaches and amenities are busiest at any given time.

The data collected is transmitted in real-time to lifeguards, local councils and the community via a user-friendly interface.

Artist Daniel Joyce with Smart Beaches Project Manager Tony Blunden

Smart Beaches Project Manager, Tony Blunden said the murals would provide an enduring representation of a pioneering trial spearheaded by Council.

“We’re now in the process of reporting back on the trial, and assessing the viability of scaling it up to roll out this kind of technology at other beaches along Australia’s coast,” he said.

The project received $910,000 in funding under Round Two of the Australian Government’s Smart Cities and Suburbs Program.

The funding agreement included an allocation for a permanent artwork at one of the trial beaches.

Daniel Joyce, who has been painting beach-themed murals for more than 20 years, spent upwards of 160 hours creating the Redhead Beach artworks in his studio nearby.

“Local knowledge of the beach, and all its beauty and danger, together with regular on-site meetings with lifeguards and Council to fine-tune details of the project, has really helped,” Joyce said.

“If any part of this artwork piques the attention of a member of the community and assists in possibly saving someone’s life or preventing an incident, then this project has been a success.”

Installation of the three murals is expected to be complete by the end of the week.

The digital monitor is on track for installation in August, prior to the 2020-21 beach season.

Go to smartbeaches.com.au <https://www.smartbeaches.com.au/> for more information about the Smart Beaches project.

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Madison Scott is a reporter and producer with NBN News who has a passion for people and sharing the stories that matter most. She started her career in TV, after completing a Bachelor of Journalism at Queensland University of Technology. After producing for Nine News in Brisbane, Madison reported for Nine in Toowoomba, before she made the move down to Newcastle's NBN.