Lucky Bay, the isolated beach west of Esperance, claims to be the whitest in Australia … perhaps the world.
And it’s not just a promotional catchphrase — it has been scientifically proved. Twice.
According to soil science consultant Noel Schoknecht, the testing was the result of light-hearted boasts over a beer.
He said the various State representatives of a national committee on soil and terrain were having a drink one night in 2006 when NSW claimed Hyams was the whitest beach in Australia.
“So we decided to test it,” Mr Schoknecht said. “The rules were drafted, samples were collected and the first official whitest beach challenge began.”
Samples had to be collected from the top 10cm in the “active zone” between the water and the dunes. Based on a visual assessment, Lucky Bay was the unanimous choice as the whitest beach ahead of nearby Hellfire Bay and Tallebudgera Creek Beach in Queensland.
Hyams Beach was fifth.
Three years later, Whitehaven on Whitsunday Island challenged the verdict.
This time a more rigorous scientific approach was used, measuring the spectral reflectance of the samples … with the same result.
Mr Schoknecht, who recently retired from the WA Department of Agriculture and Food, said the whiteness of beaches depended on the composition and size of the sand particles.
He said the whitest sands usually had fine grains of milky or frosted quartz and an absence of impurities. “But until you see the sands side by side, it is hard to know which is whitest,” Mr Schoknecht said.
“Wherever the whitest beach may finally reside, it is clear that Australia has many beautiful and pristine beaches that we should cherish.”
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