MELBOURNE, Jan. 9 (Xinhua) -- A spate of shark sightings in Victoria state has forced the closure of some of Australia's most popular beaches.
Elwood and St. Kilda beach, both just a short journey from Melbourne's CBD, were closed at midday on Sunday after patrols spotted a 1.5-meter unidentified shark was spotted in the area.
At about the same time, Fairhaven Beach, on the state's iconic Great Ocean Road, was also closed to swimmers after two shark sightings in a short time period.
David Rylance, the Elwood Life Saving Club president, said it was the first time in 10 years the beach has been evacuated due to a shark sighting.
Kane Treloar, the Life Saving Victoria state duty officer, said despite the shark sightings and beach closure, some swimmers decided to stay in the water.
"We educate the public on what we've sighted and the action we've taken," Treloar told Fairfax Media in comments published on Monday.
"All the people in the water (were) spoken to by the lifesavers and continued to swim."
The closures capped off a weekend where dozens of the state's beaches were closed due to numerous shark sightings along the coast.
At least six Great White sharks were spotted near Fairhaven Beach over the weekend, closing many popular swimming spots on the Great Ocean Road as temperatures soared to 40 degrees Celsius.
Nigel Taylor, the CEO of Lifesaving Victoria, said the number of shark sightings in Victoria this summer was markedly up.
"What we're saying is this is different. There are more sharks there (on the coast) than we have seen for three to four years," Taylor said.
"Some of our experienced observers are seeing more in this year than they would have seen in total (in) the three or four years previously."
The last confirmed fatal shark attack in Victoria occurred in 1956 at Portsea Beach, located on the opposite side of Port Phillip Bay to the CBD.
It is believed that then-Prime Minister Harold Holt was killed by a shark while swimming off Cheviot Beach in 1967 but it has never been confirmed.