The Twelve Apostles, Victoria

The Twelve Apostles is a collection of limestonestacks off the shore of Port Campbell National Park, by the Great Ocean Road in Victoria, Australia.

Their proximity to one another has made the site a popular tourist attraction. Seven of the original eight stacks remain standing at the Twelve Apostles viewpoint, after one collapsed in July 2005.[1] Though the view from the promontory by the Twelve Apostles never included twelve stacks, additional stacks—not considered part of the Apostles group—are located to the west within the national park.[2]


Formation and history

The limestone unit that forms The Twelve Apostles is referred to as the Port Campbell Limestone, which was deposited in the Mid-Late Miocene, around 15 to 5 million years ago.[3]

The Twelve Apostles were formed by erosion. The harsh and extreme weather conditions from the Southern Ocean gradually erode the soft limestone to form caves in the cliffs, which then become arches that eventually collapse, leaving rock stacks up to 50 m (160 ft) high. The stacks are susceptible to further erosion from waves. In July 2005, a 50-metre-tall (160 ft) stack collapsed, leaving seven standing at the Twelve Apostles viewpoint.[1] Due to wave action eroding the cliffs, existing headlands are expected to become new limestone stacks in the future.[4]

The stacks were originally known as the Pinnacles, and the Sow and Pigs (or Sow and Piglets, with Muttonbird Island being the Sow and the smaller rock stacks being the Piglets), as well as the Twelve Apostles.[1][5] The formation's name was made official as the Twelve Apostles, despite only ever having had eight stacks.[1]

In 2002, the Port Campbell Professional Fishermens Association attempted to block the creation of the Twelve Apostles Marine National Park at the Twelve Apostles site.[6] The association approved of a later decision by the Victorian government to prohibit seismic exploration at the site by Benaris Energy,[7] believing such exploration would harm marine life.[8]


See also


  1. "Twelve Apostles". Parks Victoria Information Centre. Archived from the original on 22 August 2014. Retrieved 10 March 2019.
  2. Thomas Hunter (September 28, 2009). "Sister, not apostle, crumbles into sea". Fairfax Digital. Retrieved April 24, 2019.
  3. Tassone, David R.; Holford, Simon P.; Hillis, Richard R.; Tuitt, Adrian K. (2012). "Quantifying Neogene plate-boundary controlled uplift and deformation of the southern Australian margin". Geological Society, London, Special Publications. 367 (1): 91–110. doi:10.1144/SP367.7. ISSN0305-8719 .
  4. Porter, Geoff (2006). Little Bites of Australia. Pegasus Elliot Mackenzie Pu. p. 203.
  5. Biunv (1 January 1898). "A picturesque resort". The Leader. p. 36. Archived from the original on 8 November 2016. Retrieved 8 November 2016.
  6. "Port Campbell bid to block marine national park". Australian Broadcasting Corporation. 15 April 2002. Archived from the original on 18 May 2015. Retrieved 17 June 2010.
  7. "Fishermen welcome decision against national park seismic exploration". Australian Broadcasting Corporation. 17 October 2003. Archived from the original on 29 June 2011. Retrieved 17 June 2010.
  8. "Otway Basin seismic survey work set to start". Australian Broadcasting Corporation. 21 October 2003. Archived from the original on 29 June 2011. Retrieved 17 June 2010.