Artists did not profit from their sand sculpting until the late 19th century, when many boardwalk sculptors were thrown coins by intrigued passers-by. Throughout the 20th century, sand sculpting continued to be an integral part of beachside resorts and many people have fond memories of building sand castles as part of competitions held at most beaches each summer.
In the 1970’s, modern day sand sculpting as we know it came into being in California. Teams of artists built bigger and bigger sculptures that became more detailed and intricate as they tried to outdo each other.
In 2000, sand sculpting came to Rye beach, on Victoria’s Mornington Peninsula in the form of a single sculpture display. The following year, over 20,000 people travelled to Rye to see the Rye Beach Sand Sculpting Championships that were held on the foreshore. The Championship then developed into an exhibition of the talents of sculptors, both local and from around the world.
Over the years, the Sand Sculpting Australia exhibition has grown to include not only magnificent sculptures, but sand sculpting workshops for budding sculptors of all ages, and many other sand based activities.
In December 2007, Sand Sculpting Australia opened an exhibition at Lighthouse Square in Port Adelaide (South Australia) and in January2008 the Victorian exhibition opened to rave reviews at its new home in Frankston, where, for the first time, the sculptures were lit for evening viewing.