The search is on for the parents of a baby found dead in the sand by young boys who were playing on Sydney's Maroubra beach.
The infant's naked body was found on Sunday morning in a shallow grave at the southern end of the beach by boys aged six and seven who were digging about 20 metres from the water.
Police cannot tell the baby's sex or age because of the advanced state of decomposition.
Inspector Andrew Holland says they will trawl through hospital and other records to try to find the parents of what he described as a very small child.
"Police are concerned about the welfare of the mother involved and hope she sought medical assistance," he told reporters.
"We're making some inquiries through births, deaths and marriages to determine where we can find the parents of this child. We're hopeful the parents will come forward."
Insp Holland said sand was being removed from around the body for forensic examination.
The boys who found the baby are receiving counselling.
Local residents expressed shock at the grim discovery.
One woman put her hand over her mouth and repeatedly said "oh my God".
Dylan DeCosta, 14, was taking photos of surfers when he noticed a group of young children making a commotion.
"Then lifeguards came and police came," he said.
"I thought someone had been hurt.
"I come here most days and think its a safe place but then something like this happens."
The tragedy comes a week after a newborn was found down a drain at Quakers Hill in Sydney's west by a passing cyclist.
A woman, 30, has been charged with the attempted murder of the baby boy.