Residents salty after beach toy library removed

February 21, 2024 BY

St Leonards residents have been left feeling angry and confused after the beach library was removed from the town's foreshore. Photo: FACEBOOK/NICOLE BATES

ST LEONDARDS residents have expressed disappointment after a beach toy library set up on the town’s foreshore was removed by the local land manager.

The initiative encouraged children to borrow toys from the library to play with during their time on the beach and return them before they headed home.

The toy box was filled with beach toys donated by community members and included items such as buckets, spades and sand moulds.

However, the beach toy box was removed by Bellarine Bayside after the organisation was unable to track down the individual who began the initiative.

Community members had been donating beach toys to the library for local children to enjoy. Photo: FACEBOOK/LEANNE MARKS


The library had received a great deal of praise online and its removal sparked both confusion and anger.

“I had been adding little sand toys and removing anything broken so it looked neat and tidy,” Irene Dawson wrote on Facebook.

“Such a shame it’s been removed; so many kids were enjoying it.”

Another called the move “utterly ridiculous”.

“Do something nice for our beach community and this is what happens,” Sue Rawkins wrote.

A community-driven initiative, beach libraries have gained popularity in recent years, and many operate with great success both around Australia and internationally.

Bellarine Bayside placed signage on the beach library approximate two months ago in an attempt to start a dialogue with the community member who began the initiative. Photo: FACEBOOK/LEANNE MARKS


Bellarine Bayside chief executive Bruce Elliot said that as a small not-for-profit, the organisation did not have the capacity to provide the required level of administration to maintain the beach library on a regular basis.

“We wanted to ensure that the beach toy box was being inspected regularly by the individual or organisation that placed it there, so we posted signage on it asking the owner to reach out to us,” he said.

“We received no contact in the approximately two months that the beach toy box was in place, leading us to remove it at the end of the school holidays as abandoned goods on the coast.

“We would still welcome a conversation with anyone wishing to progress this initiative.”

Bellarine Bayside can be contacted via email at [email protected] or by phone on (03) 5254 4000.