Lighthouses of Australia Project - JANUARY 00 BULLETIN

VOL 5 No 2
FEBRUARY 2002
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Dear Friends

Features

Lighthouses From the Air: Part 6
Wilsons Promontory by Sea
Visit to Bay Rock Lighthouse at Townsville

Letters & Notices

Department of Scrounge

New Pages & Links

New Pages for Australia
New Links for Australia
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Australian News

IALA 2002 in Sydney Next Month
LoA Inc Annual Dinner Reminder
Willoughby 150th Celebrated
Call to Former Victorian CLS Keepers
Point Lonsdale to Celebrate 100 Years
Australian Lighthouse Stamp Release Next Month

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Dear Friends

The readership of the bulletin has been pretty static for a year or 2 now and even took a bit of a dive after September 2001.

However over the last 5 or 6 weeks it has started to grow a steady rate again and has now gone to the highest level ever.

Achieving the Vision

As we enter the 5th year of the Project I still have the vision, but have learned that I as well as being persistent I need to be patient as well. I remember having a piano delivered to my house once and I point out to the carrier the fastest way to the room I wanted it in. He took a walk around then choose what was almost the longest route you could take!

He said the objective was to get the piano into my house in one piece with the least amount of effort and damage to himself and the house.

This Month's Features

Lighthouses From the Air: Part 6Tropical lighthouses are quite different as we discover in this months installment of Lighthouses From the Air. We also find our cousins from the North are more easy going and know how to enjoy themselves.

Wilsons Promontory by SeaOften wondering what the other side of the islands she could see from Wilsons Promontory Lighthouse look like, Denise Shultz has now discovered when she approaches Wilsons Promontory by Sea.

Share Sharon Fielden's visit to the Bay Rock Lighthouse at the Townsville Maritime MuseumShare Sharon Fielden's visit to the Bay Rock Lighthouse at the Townsville Maritime Museum.

This Month's News

IALA 2002 in Sydney Next MonthIts the The XVth IALA/AISM Conference in Sydney next month but what is AILA and what is it's importance to the aims of Lighthouse of Australia Inc (LoA).

You can find out be meeting some of the delegates to IALA's Panel on Historic Lighthouses when they attend our LoA Annual Dinner in Wollongong in March.

A small celebration occurred on the day of Cape Willoughby's 150th birthdayKeith Banks puts out a call to former Victorian Commonwealth Lighthouse Service keepersA small celebration occurred on the day of Cape Willoughby's 150th birthday. A full celebration will occur in April to concur with the Encounter 2002 celebrations.

Keith Banks puts out a call to former Victorian Commonwealth Lighthouse Service keepers with aim of collecting the history of the keepers' era and establishing a contact database for a possible reunion.

The 100th anniversary of the Point Lonsdale LighthousePlans are underway to for Point Lonsdale to celebrate 100 years since the light was first exhibited in the current tower in March 2002.

Malcolm Macdonald is the founder and convener of Lighthouses of AustraliaThe first Australian lighthouse stamp release since 1968 happens on the 12th of next month with the release of four stamps feature 4 of our most significant lights.The first Australian lighthouse stamp release since 1968

Malcolm Macdonald
Bulletin Editor
<keeper@lighthouses.org.au>

[Photograph: Marguerite Stephen]


Features

Lighthouses From the Air: Part 6

Across the Top End

[David Hurburgh <hurburgh@access1.com.au>]

Tuesday 29 May ~ Derby to Wyndham

It was a clear and fine morning; truly beautiful weather. This was to be the only one of two 'lighthouse-free' days on the whole trip, and the only one where Lloyd and Winsome wouldn't have to wear their life jackets. They have to cross the Kimberley Ranges, flying at 5,500 feet. Winsome could pick out the historic Durack homesteads using the WAC charts.

Coming in to land at Wyndham airport was a bit tricky since the strip is between two mountains and the winds were unpredictable. The Avgas fuel at the airport hadn't been certified, so that meant refueling had to wait until the next day at Kununurra. Trevor the taxi driver offered our aviators a guided tour of Wyndham. He's didn't look like your typical cabbie. He had a long flowing beard and bare feet.

 

Lighthouses From the Air: Part 1
Lighthouses From the Air: Part 2
Lighthouses From the Air: Part 3
Lighthouses From the Air: Part 4
Lighthouses From the Air: Part 5


The Lacrosse Island Lighthouse north of Wyndham.[Photograph: Winsome Bonham] << Click for larger image.
Click to view lighthouse locationThe Lacrosse Island Lighthouse north of Wyndham.
[Photograph: Winsome Bonham]

 

Wednesday 30 May ~ Wyndham to Darwin

The first light for the day was Lacrosse Island. There was a fair bit of turbulence around the island. Into Kununurra for refueling. It's fascinating to see the intensive irrigated farming that's based around the Ord River Scheme. From here across to Darwin it's 215 nautical miles, a sector with no lighthouses.

The Charles Point light came into view as the Cessna entered the controlled airspace around Darwin. Flying across Darwin Harbour Winsome spotted an oil rig that was being towed in for repairs. Emery Point was the last light for the day. From the air this light seemed hidden by trees, making photography difficult. Of course, from sea level it is clearly visible.

Once again there was a hassle with hire cars. The agents don't seem to like going out of the way. The distances between the commercial airport terminals and the general aviation facilities, always seems to be too much for them.

 

The Charles Point Lighthouse west of Darwin. [Photograph: Winsome Bonham] << Click for larger image.
Click to view lighthouse locationThe Charles Point Lighthouse west of Darwin.
[Photograph: Winsome Bonham]

The Emery Point Lighthouse at Darwin. [Photograph: Winsome Bonham] << Click for larger image.
Click to view lighthouse locationThe Emery Point Lighthouse at Darwin.
[Photograph: Winsome Bonham]

Thursday 31 May - Friday 1 June ~ Darwin Rest Days

Darwin provided a good 2-day break for our fliers. They stayed with friends, and had plenty of time for chores such as laundry and catching up with e-mails. There was also the important repair to the cockpit microphone switch to be fixed.

Some of the attractions in Darwin that Winsome and Lloyd enjoyed were the Military Museum, the Mindil Beach Market and Litchfield National Park. While on the ground they visited the Emery Point Lighthouse, which is located within the grounds of the big army base at Larrakeyah Barracks.

Saturday 2 June ~ Darwin - Darwin

This was a round trip day, which meant thankfully no loading or unloading of the Cessna.

Lloyd took the plane out east to Cape Hotham which is set among a lot of trees and then across to the Vernon Islands where there are 3 GRP huts and towers.

Another 66 N.M. sector and they were over Bathurst Island and Cape Fourcroy. From the air, the 2 big islands Bathurst and Melville, look like they are almost joined.

Cape Don was the last light for the day. It's an impressive sight with its 118 feet high grey concrete tower and the large cleared area around it for the keeper's cottages. When VH-RNL orbited the light, the people on the ground thought it was their charter flight that was due later that day. By all accounts there was some panic and consternation when RNL appeared.

For some reason Darwin air traffic control was puzzled when RNL reappeared on their radar screens only two and a half hours after departure.
It seems that the outbound flight plans drop off the system after 2 hours and are probably not used to the destination being the same as the departure point.

 

The Cape Hotham Lighthouse. [Photograph: Winsome Bonham] << Click for larger image.
Click to view lighthouse locationThe Cape Hotham Lighthouse.
[Photograph: Winsome Bonham]

The Cape Fourcroy Lighthouse. [Photograph: Winsome Bonham] << Click for larger image.
Click to view lighthouse locationThe Cape Fourcroy Lighthouse.
[Photograph: Winsome Bonham]

The Cape Don Lighthouse on the Couburg Peninsula.[Photograph: Winsome Bonham] << Click for larger image.
Click to view lighthouse locationThe Cape Don Lighthouse on the Cobourg Peninsula.
[Photograph: Winsome Bonham]

Sunday June 3 ~ Darwin to Gove

There was an early start this day for there was some long sectors to be covered. The first stop was to be at the aboriginal community of Maningrida in order to top up with fuel. Heading across Arnhem Land they passed over the northern end of the Kakadu National Park and the impressive South and East Alligator River systems. It was great to see this famous and beautiful area from the air.

After refueling., the flight plan took Winsome and Lloyd out over the Arafura Sea and along the Wessel Islands to Cape Wessel. Winsome noted the strong contrast in colours between the shallow aqua water on the landward (west side) of the islands and the deep ocean water on their eastern side.

In this area the lights are mainly the "Tupperware" style Glass Reinforced Plastic (GRP) huts and framework towers.

Gove is a very busy airport, with Customs Department planes, aircraft serving the aboriginal communities and missions, in addition to the regular commercial traffic. The big industry around Gove is the Nabalco bauxite mining operation. Everything is covered in red dust.

Lack of Internet connection up here meant that Lloyd was reliant on faxed weather reports. This means that early starts are not possible, since you have to wait for the office reception area to open.

 

 

Monday 4 June ~ Gove to Groote Eylandt to Burketown

Lloyd replacing the fouled spark plug on Groote Eylandt. [Image: Winsome Bonham]
Lloyd replacing the fouled spark plug on Groote Eylandt.
[Image: Winsome Bonham]

This was to be a long day, which would according to plans would involve a refueling. stop at Groote and then onto Mornington Island followed by Burketown for the overnight stop.

However at Groote they called ahead to Mornington Island to find there was no fuel so it was straight through to Burketown as it was the only place within reach that had fuel and accommodation.

Strolling around Burketown that evening they met a Canadian student teacher assisting at the school. He asked if they could speak to the children but unfortunately they would be heading off to early the next day.

Catherine taking us to the Burketown Airport. [Image: Winsome Bonham]
Catherine taking us to the Burketown Airport.
[Image: Winsome Bonham]

The most interesting light on this sector was Brady Rock. It is specially constructed in the way its attached to the rock in order to withstand cyclonic winds.

Seeing the brolgas dancing near the airstrip was a real treat.

Tuesday 5 June ~ Burketown to Weipa

Kangaroo Point and Karumba were the 2 lights for this day. Lloyd needed to refuel at the Kowanyama community's strip. The rising heat close to the ground meant that Lloyd had to "force" the plane down the last few feet. Gusty winds didn't improve conditions.

From the air, Winsome noted the mangroves grow only on the inside of the river bends. They need the nutrition in the fine silt found in the slower waters of the inside channels to grow.

After several hours of flying our aviators were over Weipa, the biggest town on the west side of Cape York Peninsula. Comalco's bauxite mining project is the big industry here.

Wednesday 6 June ~ Rest Day - Weipa

The bauxite loading jetty at Weipa. [Image: Winsome Bonham]
The bauxite loading jetty at Weipa.
[Image: Winsome Bonham]

Since Port Pirie where all the GPS navigation points dropped off, Lloyd had been punching the following day's waypoints into the machine each night using a 12 volt car lighter socket. Since they wouldn't have access to a car over the next 3 days it meant all the points for that stretch of flying had to be entered.

Thursday 7 June ~ Weipa to Horn Island

Lloyd relaxing on a rest day at Weipa. [Image: Winsome Bonham]
Lloyd relaxing on a rest day at Weipa.
[Image: Winsome Bonham]

The first sector took the Cessna out over the bauxite loading jetty towards Duyfken Point and then north up to Booby Island. Flying conditions were difficult along the west shore of Cape York when the sun was low and there was glare off the water.

The next light was Western Hill followed by Goods Island, then a series of GRP huts through to Horn Island. The volume of air traffic into Horn Island is impressive. It serves as the airport for Thursday Island (called T.I. by everybody) and the adjoining Torres Strait region. Surprisingly with all this traffic there is no control tower at the airport.

The recently restored Custom House on Thursday Island. [Image: Winsome Bonham]
The recently restored Custom House on Thursday Island.
[Image: Winsome Bonham]

Winsome and Lloyd thought the wind here was very strong, but the locals with typical understatement said it was quite a calm day. It was time for VH-RNL to get a 50 hour oil change, which Lloyd had to do relying on instructions he had from the Royal Newcastle Aero Club engineers. There was also a fouled spark plug to change. To do this in the middle of a hot day, with no shade and with 20 knot winds blowing, was a bit of a challenge.

Oil change at Horn Island. [Image: Winsome Bonham]
Oil change at Horn Island.
[Image: Winsome Bonham]

There was a courtesy car to take our hot and tired travellers to their accommodation at the Gateway Torres Strait Resort. It's a short ferry ride across to T.I. Lloyd and Winsome found the history surrounding this region fascinating, particularly the role played by the T.I. locals during WW2. There is a great museum focussing on this history at the Resort.

The AQIS quarantine people in this area are very diligent, with fumigation of aircraft required, and restrictions on transporting fruit, as anybody moves around by air in the 3 zones they have defined in Far North Queensland (FNQ).

Friday 8 June ~ Horn Island to Lockhart River

Early starts to the flying day are required in FNQ at this time of year, since the wind often builds up in the afternoon.

Eborac Island was the first light for the day. It's a square concrete house about 20 feet high. The next light on the flight plan was Albany Rock, which is a similar structure to Eborac.

The next series of lights were Wyborn Reef, Caincross Islets, Hannibal and Clerke Islands. These are all framework towers, with Wyborn made of stainless steel and the other three painted red.

Along the next stretch were 6 GRP huts built up on pylons on reefs. They are all solar powered and some have helicopter pads to give access to service crews. Our fliers had covered 13 lights since taking off from Horn Island.

The overnight stop was Lockhart River. It's an isolated aboriginal community and provided our visitors with quite an experience. A transfer bus didn't materialise and accommodation was certainly "different". It was an Old Peoples Home but since they have no old people here, it's used for visitors.

It was the start of a long weekend so everything in town was to close at 3pm. Their stay was to be a self- catering exercise since there are no pubs or restaurants. The lack of a phone and fax for Lloyd's daily weather report was also an issue. Fortunately the fuel agent's wife who works in the general store offered the use of their fax machine.

Saturday 9 June ~ Lockhart to Cooktown

Lloyd had hired a satellite phone at the start of the trip to use in isolated areas like this, but it proved impossible to get a signal when they needed it most. Fortunately they found a public phone where Lloyd could order his weather fax. Winsome commented that payphones in this part of the world are not vandalised since they are a vital link to the Flying Doctor (RFDS)

The series of 26 lights down the east coast of Cape York, from the tip of FNQ to Cooktown, are all very similar. That is, they are mostly GRP huts placed on reefs or small islands. The number of lights along this coast reflects the importance and difficulty of marine navigation in these waters. The concrete tower for the light on South Barrow Islet was the most substantial structure seen on this sector.

The beauty and complex character of the Barrier Reef caught Winsome's imagination. She thought of Captain Cook and his crew on the Endeavour trying to find their way through this maze of coral. Cook was right when he called this region "The Labyrinth"

Flying into Cooktown, the airport is almost hidden behind Grassy Hill. There was a fair bit of turbulence at the end of the runway. When on the ground, the refueller suggested to Lloyd that light aircraft often land half way down the strip and let the prevailing head wind pull them up. Avgas was only for sale here "in bulk", that is, by the 200 litre drum. This worked out fine, since the next day's flying was to be a circuit out of Cooktown.

 

The Brady Rock Lighthouse in the Gulf of Carpentaria. [Photograph: Winsome Bonham] << Click for larger image.
No map available.The Brady Rock Lighthouse in the Gulf of Carpentaria.
[Photograph: Winsome Bonham]

The Kangaroo Point Lighthouse in the Gulf of Carpentaria. [Photograph: Winsome Bonham] << Click for larger image.
Click to view lighthouse locationThe Kangaroo Point Lighthouse in the Gulf of Carpentaria.
[Photograph: Winsome Bonham]

The Karumba Light in the Gulf of Carpentaria. [Photograph: Winsome Bonham] << Click for larger image.
Click to view lighthouse locationThe Karumba Light in the Gulf of Carpentaria.
[Photograph: Winsome Bonham]

The Booby Island Lighthouse in Torres Strait. [Photograph: Winsome Bonham] << Click for larger image.
Click to view lighthouse locationThe Booby Island Lighthouse in Torres Strait.
[Photograph: Winsome Bonham]

The Western Hill Lighthouse in Torres Strait. [Photograph: Winsome Bonham] << Click for larger image.
Click to view lighthouse locationThe Goods Island Lighthouse in Torres Strait.
[Photograph: Winsome Bonham]

The Goods Island Lighthouse in Torres Strait. [Photograph: Winsome Bonham] << Click for larger image.
Click to view lighthouse locationThe Goods Island Lead Light in Torres Strait.
[Photograph: Winsome Bonham]

Queens Birthday Celebrations in Cooktown

Cooktown is definitely the place to be. This is their big weekend of the year. Every spare piece of grass has tents, swags and anything else used to camp in, on it. The town it crowded.

When we rang from Lockhart River to check our accommodation, we discovered it had changed hands 6 weeks ago and they knew nothing of us. They had a coach booked and no room at the inn.

Fortunately, they found us a bed at Pam's Place, a backpackers hostel, but once again we needed to provide our own breakfast.

The main street was closed for tug-a-war, truck pulling, line dancing and many other activities. A

reenactment of Cook's landing to repair the "Endeavour" was held on Sunday morning but we missed that as we were out flying again.

A billy cart derby was held on Sunday afternoon. Naturally this is a down hill affair so another street is closed off. The carts were reaching speeds of 55kph and run into bales of hay at the end otherwise it is into the drink."

The Eborac Island Lighthouse in FNQ. [Photograph: Winsome Bonham] << Click for larger image.
Click to view lighthouse locationThe Eborac Island Lighthouse in FNQ.
[Photograph: Winsome Bonham]

The Wyborn Reef Lighthouse in FNQ. [Photograph: Winsome Bonham] << Click for larger image.
Click to view lighthouse locationThe Wyborn Reef Lighthouse in FNQ.
[Photograph: Winsome Bonham]

The Cairncross Island Lighthouse in FNQ. [Photograph: Winsome Bonham] << Click for larger image.
Click to view lighthouse locationThe Cairncross Island Lighthouse in FNQ.
[Photograph: Winsome Bonham]

The Hannibal Island Lighthouse in FNQ. [Photograph: Winsome Bonham] << Click for larger image.
Click to view lighthouse locationThe Hannibal Island Lighthouse in FNQ.
[Photograph: Winsome Bonham]

The Clerke Island Lighthouse in FNQ. [Photograph: Winsome Bonham] << Click for larger image.
Click to view lighthouse locationThe Clerke Island Lighthouse in FNQ.
[Photograph: Winsome Bonham]

A Treasury of Botanical Art in FNQ

For a change from the hectic pace of the street party, Winsome and Lloyd checked out the Cooktown art gallery.

It has a famous collection of paintings by the renowned botanical artist Vera Scarth-Johnson. She was born in Yorkshire near James Cook's birthplace.

Vera originally came to Australia to collect botanical specimens for the Royal Botanical Garden's at Kew, London. She fell in love with Cooktown, and made it her life's work to paint all the 157 species of flowers native to the Cooktown area.

These are the same flowers that had been collected and described by Joseph Banks and Daniel Solander on Cook's "Endeavour" when the ship was being repaired.

The Cooktown Orchid. [Image: Winsome Bonham]
The Cooktown Orchid.
[Image: Winsome Bonham]

The most famous, and perhaps most beautiful flower, found in this part of the world is the Cooktown Orchid, which is the State of Queensland's official floral emblem.

Vera died in 1999 and her paintings have been given to the town. Sadly, she was only six paintings short of completing her goal, when ill health intervened.

Sunday 10 June ~ Cooktown to Cooktown

Though most of the lights in the Cooktown area were of the GRP style the folk in FNQ were quite a contrast and certainly know how to enjoy themselves.

Find in the column to the right an extract straight from Winsome's journal is an amusing account of the fun and games the Cooktowners have over the Queens Birthday Weekend.

After all the activity during the Queen's Birthday Weekend in "wild old" Cooktown it was time to head south.

The next stop would be Cairns, and from there, VH-RNL will be tracking south down the east coast of the continent.

In Part 7 we will give you details of the last 8 flying days of the trip. However, there are still 62 lights to cover in the flight plan, before Lloyd and Winsome get back to their home-base of Newcastle, and the starting point of this great circumnavigation.

NEXT MONTH

PART 7 - "Homeward Bound"

This will be the final part of Lighthouses From the Air but then it's onto "Tassie Lighthouses from the Air" the following month.

The South Barrow Island Lighthouse in FNQ. [Photograph: Winsome Bonham] << Click for larger image.
Click to view lighthouse locationThe South Barrow Island Lighthouse in FNQ.
[Photograph: Winsome Bonham]

The Grassy Hill Lighthouse at Cooktown. [Photograph: Winsome Bonham] << Click for larger image.
Click to view lighthouse locationThe Grassy Hill Lighthouse at Cooktown.
[Photograph: Winsome Bonham]

Wilsons Promontory by Sea

[Denise Shultz <pshultz@tpg.com.au>]

Approaching South East point and the Wilsons Promontory Lighthouse on the walking trail. [Image: Denise Shultz]
Approaching South East point and the Wilsons Promontory Lighthouse on the walking trail>.
[Image: Denise Shultz]

Wilsons Promontory must surely be one of the most beautiful places in Australia. From rugged mountains to gold and white beaches, tall rainforest to ever moving sand dunes, coffee coloured creeks and friendly wildlife there is little this National Park does not offer.

A significant part of its charm is its islands. A few of them are visible from the main asphalt road leading to Tidal River. They are Shellback Island, Norman Island and Glennie Group of Islands comprising Great Glennie, Dannevig, Citadel and McHugh Islands.

Part of Glennie Group of Islands, Dannevig Island with some humurous stone outcrops. [Image: Denise Shultz]
Part of Glennie Group of Islands, Dannevig Island with some humorous stone outcrops.
[Image: Denise Shultz]

The latter four can be seen clearly from Norman Beach near Tidal River. They look so close that it almost seems like it would be possible to swim that far. In fact they are around 8 km distant.

If you feel fit enough to climb Mount Oberon, from the summit you will see other islands in the south. These are Cleft, Kanowna, Anser and Wattle Islands.

They are all part of the Wilsons Promontory National Park.

Rodondo Island, 12 km from the tip of the prom is technically part of Tasmania. [Image: Denise Shultz]
Rodondo Island, 12 km from the tip of the prom is technically part of Tasmania.
[Image: Denise Shultz]

On the other hand the prominent pyramid lying well off the coast is Rodondo Island, which curiously enough is part of Tasmania although it lies only 12 km off Victorian coast.

Covered with countless granite boulders these islands rise steeply from the waves. They are sparsely vegetated, some have stunted trees but most of them lack even these, only salt resistant grasses struggling to survive in the harsh conditions. Yet some of these incredible islands were considered as a site for a lighthouse back in 1850's.

Anyone walking along Norman Beach must be undoubtedly intrigued by a huge granite rock sticking out of the sea to the southeast. It is completely bald and in the middle are visible several dark markings. It uncannily resembles a human skull and not surprisingly is called Skull Rock by the locals but on the maps it is marked as Cleft Island.

Why is that so can only be discovered by venturing closer to this rock and looking at it from the other side. The rock is fascinating not only because of its appearance but also because it was proposed in 1853 as one of the sites for a lighthouse (Another was Rodondo).

Eventually common sense won and the lighthouse was built on the mainland at the less forbidding South East Point in 1859.

Bay Connections Logo. [Image: Bay Connections]Until just recently, I could only dream about visiting the Wilsons Promontory Islands but back in March last year I finally got my chance.

I learned that Bay Connections were running occasional tours of the islands and the Promontory starting at San Remo, and finishing in Port Welshpool. For me there would also be a great bonus of seeing three lighthouses from another angle, that of a person they were meant to serve at the first place - the seafarer.

We left San Remo, on Phillip Island, early in the morning and headed along the it's coast at the same time enjoying a breakfast of muffins and tea. The sea was calm and I disregarded the thought of taking a seasickness pill. I regretted it an hour later after we left the waters sheltered by Phillip Island and entered the open sea. By the time we were passing Cape Liptrap Lighthouse I could scarcely pay any attention to it, much less to photograph or film it.

Things were looking much brighter when we stopped at Walkerville to disembark a sick passenger. By the time she was taken ashore and airlifted to the hospital by a helicopter I was feeling much better.

Also part of Glennie Group of Islands, Shellback Island is one of the numerous islands off the Prom. [Image: Denise Shultz]
Also part of Glennie Group of Islands, Shellback Island is one of the numerous islands off the Prom.
[Image: Denise Shultz]

Out in the distance we could already see some of the familiar islands but this time with their backs turned to us. By early afternoon after we passed Shellback, Norman and Great Glennie Islands and were cruising among the other islands of the Glennie Group, I felt well enough to look forward to a sizzling lunch.

Citadel Island from the boat. [Image: Denise Shultz]
Citadel Island from the boat.
[Image: Denise Shultz]

While we circumnavigated the Citadel Island I was trying to get the best angle to photograph its elusive lighthouse. We could not be too close and indeed not too far to even see it.

The GRP light on Citadel has replaced the original light from the turn of the 20th Century. [Image: Denise Shultz]
The GRP light on Citadel has replaced the original light from the turn of the 20th Century.
[Image: Denise Shultz]

When the lighthouse was built it was always meant to be automatic. Yet there are still visible remains of something resembling a flying fox with a few crossed poles and a steel rope among the bushes. Could they be the artifact of the time when the building materials had to be hauled up to the top back in 1913 when the lighthouse was built? Perhaps the device was used to supply the lonely keeper when he was stationed there for the first six months of the light's existence?

The remains of the flying fox on Citadel Island. [Image: Denise Shultz]
The remains of the flying fox on Citadel Island.
[Image: Denise Shultz]

I was still pondering this question when we left Citadel Island and its neighbours and headed straight towards the elusive Skull Rock. The closer we got the more incredible this granite boulder seemed to be. It was obvious that there was a large single cavern well above sea level, which was so big that it took almost all northern side of the rock.

As we approached the island, we could see the startled seals sliding into the water leaving the smaller caverns closer to sea level. When the photographic and filming frenzy subsided, we moved slowly along the huge rock.

Cleft Island, more popularly known as 'Skull Rock'. [Image: Denise Shultz]
Cleft Island, more popularly known as 'Skull Rock'.
[Image: Denise Shultz]

From the south, Skull Rock is no less surprising. There is a large cleft almost splitting the island and the bare smooth rock face is like something out of a gory movie set.

After saying adieu to this scary place we headed towards Kanowna and Anser Island thick with the smooth bodies of Australian fur seals. They did not wait for us to approach and headed for the water in droves using the smooth rock as a waterslide and giving us some pretty funny performances.

The Wilsons Promontory Lighthouse viewed from the boat. [Image: Denise Shultz]
The Wilsons Promontory Lighthouse viewed from the boat.
[Image: Denise Shultz]

Soon after we passed South Point, the southernmost place on the Australian mainland we could see the Wilsons Promontory Lighthouse. It looked lonely and deserted among the wilderness but yet proud and beautiful. High on the cliff stood the unpainted granite tower and its surrounding white cottages.

For a while I was worried about a building, which looked like a white box and was obstructing the tower from the south. It looked extremely ugly and I could not remember seeing it when we stayed at the lighthouse two years before. (As a matter of fact I was wrong. When I later checked the photographs I found that it was there all the time. Indeed as I found out during our last visit, it is now an office containing some weather instruments and communication equipment).

Denise and other passengers on the Kasey Lee. [Image: Denise Shultz]
Denise and other passengers on the Kasey Lee.
[Image: Denise Shultz]

Our encounter with lighthouses did not finish with Wilsons Promontory that day. After disembarking for a while at a beautiful Refuge Cove we headed further along the coast towards Port Welshpool. The sea was like a mirror and when the night fell I headed outside the cabin to look for the lighthouses.

Sure enough there was a strong flashing light out in the east. Contrary to what I thought, it was not the notorious Cliffy Island but a more recent one at East Monceur Island.

Denise relaxing on the Kasey Lee.[Image: Denise Shultz]
Denise relaxing on the Kasey Lee.
[Image: Denise Shultz]

As we moved along the blinking buoys marking the channel leading us to Port Welshpool I made my way to the bridge to talk to our skipper John Dickie. He was using GPS and other associated devices but when I asked him what he thought about lighthouses, he said:

"Sure we have all this precise and sophisticated equipment and we are thankful for it, but these are all dependent on power. If the battery fails all that is left is the lighthouse. They should never be extinguished."

I could not agree more.

Next month Denise Shultz follows up her trip around Wilsons Promontory by sea with a hike by land to the Lighthouse with her daughter Corrine and friends.

Visit to Bay Rock Lighthouse at Townsville

[Sharon Fielden <mfielden@bigpond.com>]

The entrance to the Townsville Maritime Museum. [Image: Sharon Fielden]
The entrance to the Townsville Maritime Museum.
[Image: Sharon Fielden]

Last year I attended the Open Day for the newly renovated Townsville Maritime Museum.

The original Maritime Museum was constructed in the 1930'as part of the Pier Master's office. It was damaged during Cyclone Althea in 1971, refurbished early 1989 and officially opened on the 15th July of that year.

The Bay Rock Lighthouse now at the Townsville Maritime Museum. [Image: Sharon Fielden]
The Bay Rock Lighthouse now at the Townsville Maritime Museum.
[Image: Sharon Fielden]

In 1992 the Bay Rock Lighthouse was donated and relocated to the Maritime Museum.

The Museum expanded in 1994 and a new organization was founded. In 1997, Townsville Maritime Historical Society was incorporated and a curator employed.

The Museum was relocated to reclaimed land on the banks of Ross Creek. The doors were closed on the 1st of June 2000 for the Centenary of Federation renovations, opening once more on 24th August 2001.

I was disappointed by the lack of lighthouse information considering they played such an important part in maritime safety in this area. I could find no reference to Cape Cleveland, which is visible from Townsville, nor Cape Bowling Green which is south of Cape Cleveland. I am hoping to access the Museum's records in the hope of finding more lighthouse information

A selection of lenses used in the Townsville area. [Image: Sharon Fielden]
A selection of lenses used in the Townsville area.
[Image: Sharon Fielden]

There are however, a number of lenses from lights or beacons . Although a map shows the location of these lights, more information on them would have been nice.

The one Lighthouse that is heavily featured is the aforementioned Bay Rock Lighthouse.

Bay Rock was owned by the government and used solely for lighthouse purposes.

Bay Rock Lighthouse when located on Bay Rock, off Magnetic Island. [Postcard: Laurie Sharp]
Bay Rock Lighthouse when located on Bay Rock, off Magnetic Island.
[Postcard: Laurie Sharp]

The lighthouse, completed in 1866, was one of the first 4 or 5 to be built in Queensland. It has historical significance as it was initially used extensively by vessels making for the quarantine station anchorage on West Point, Magnetic Island.

The lighthouse was standard white sound timber-framed, zincanneal-cladded tower with standard equipment. A lantern and beam projection apparatus was used with an open flame acetylene gas burner.

The original light stood 29 metres above ground.

The last keeper left in 1920 and the light was automated in 1930.

The last occupants were John Albert Edward Lawson and his family. He started his service on Gatcom Head near Gladstone. He was tragically lost at sea while returning to Bay Rock. His decedents still live in Townsville and I had the privilege of meeting some of them at the Museum.

The memorial plaque on the Bay Rock Lighthouse. [Image: Sharon Fielden]
The memorial plaque on the Bay Rock Lighthouse.
[Image: Sharon Fielden]

The Museum is packed with interesting photos, models, stories and artifact from the areas shipping past and I would recommend it to anyone visiting the Townsville region.


Letters & Notices

Seeking Information on Walter Major

Dear Sir

The Moreton Island LighthouseAs a favour to a friend ,I am seeking information re Walter Major who is believed to have been connected with the Moreton Island Lighthouse.

If any such information be available, a reply would be appreciated. Thank you in anticipation.

Rosemary Delemare <rdelamare@hotkey.net.au>
M/S 331
Goomeri
Qld 4601

(07) 41 687181

James Oastler - Lighthouses Builder in Tasmania and Japan

Dear Malcolm:

I am researching a member of my family. His name was James Oastler and was from Australia. He lived in New South Wales and then Tasmania building lighthouse around 1876.

Though a plumber, his occupation was also a lighthouse builder while he was in Tasmania.

What would be the best way of seeking information on his time in Tasmania - in particular, while building lighthouses? Also if any of your members know who I could contact about his work.

He evidently worked on Tasmanian lighthouses before travelling to Japan where we became employed in the Japanese Government Lighthouse Service.

Thank you.

Kind regards,

Jim Oastler <joastler@netc.net.au>

Response to Denise Shultz's Sandy Cape Lighthouse Article

Hi Denise

I was so interested to read your article as I am researching the sailing ship Eastminster. My great-grandfather, Captain Daniel Rees, was the Master when it was lost in a cyclone about 17 Feb 1888.

Quote from the Maryborough Chronicle 28 March 1888:

"The last person to see anything of the Eastminster was Mr Philips, the lighthouse keeper at Sandy Cape, who reported he saw the vessel on Friday night, 17 February, trying to beat out to sea during the fearful gale, and it was his opinion that she foundered somewhere between Sandy Cape and Lady Elliott Island. He reported that the wind was so fearful that night that he had to sit up the whole time keeping the light burning, though he had no less than six wicks alight."

Named wreckage was found at Yeppoon, North Keppel Island, Number 1 Percy Islands and Cape Manifold. Some opinion is that it came to grief in the Capricorn Group.

Regards Ivor Davies <ivord@iinet.net.au>

Feel free to post any request, letters, notices here regarding research, events etc for any Australian Lighthouse on this notice board.

<keeper@lighthouses.org.au>


Department of Scrounge:

If anybody has any of this material on any Australian lighthouses including the ones listed at the Department of Scrounge it would appreciated, especially the high priority ones:

  • Original Colour Photographs
  • Historical Photographs or Postcards
  • History, experiences and anecdotes
  • Technical History

Please eMail <Keeper>


New Pages & Links

New Pages for Australia:

No new pages for Australia this month

New Links for Australia:

No new links for Australia this month

Also, New Links for World:

No new links for World this month

If your e-mail does not display in HTML these pages can be accessed from the "New Listing for Month Index" at <http://www.lighthouses.org.au/lights/New/Index%20New.htm>


Australian News:

IALA 2002 in Sydney Next Month

[Steve Merson <merson@bigpond.com>]

The XVth IALA/AISM Conference, Sydney 2002, Australian Maritime Safety Authority. International Association of Marine Aids to Navigation and Lighthouse Authorities

The XVth IALA/AISM Conference, Exhibition and Workshop - March 2002
The XVth Conference and Workshop of the International Association of Marine Aids to Navigation and Lighthouse Authorities (IALA) will be held in two of Australia's most stunning locations, Sydney and Cairns.

The Conference and Exhibition component will take place at Darling Harbour in Sydney from 10 - 15 March 2002, and the Workshop will be held in Cairns from 18 - 19 March 2002.

This is the first time the Conference has ever been held outside the northern hemisphere.

Since the last Conference in Hamburg in June 1998, there have been significant advances in aids to navigation and Vessel Traffic Services (VTS) management, engineering, technology and guidelines - particularly in areas such as risk management, extended maintenance, Differential Global Positioning Systems (DGPS), Automatic Identification Systems (AIS) and VTS operator training.

The IALA/AISM Conference and Exhibition is an ideal opportunity for equipment providers and for those responsible for the implementation, operation and maintenance of aids to navigation services, including VTS, to meet together and discuss issues of common interest in the delivery of navigational services.

The Workshop is being held in the area of the world's first declared Particularly Sensitive Sea Area - the Great Barrier Reef, and will provide the perfect setting for interested parties to consider and witness the interaction of commercial shipping and navigational safety technologies in such vulnerable areas.

IALA is a non-profit making international technical association. Established in 1957, it gathers together authorities on marine aids to navigation, manufacturers and consultants from all parts of the world and offers them the opportunity to compare their experiences and achievements.

Taking into account the needs of mariners, developments in modern technology, and the requirements and constraints of aids to navigation authorities, a number of technical committees have been established bringing together experts from around the world.

The aim of these committees is to facilitate the design and implementation of buoyage systems, radionavigation services and traffic management services.

IALA is encouraging its members to work together in a common effort to harmonize aids to navigation worldwide and to ensure that the movements of vessels are safe, expeditious and cost effective. This work ensures that the mariners have aids to navigation, which will meet their needs both now and in the future.

There will be a high calibre of international and local speakers both at the Conference in Sydney and the Workshop in Cairns. There will be five technical sessions held at the Conference where some fifty-two papers will be presented. Areas of discussion are as follows:

In Sydney:

  • Training in Aids to Navigation and VTS Personnel
  • Risk Analysis and Quality Assurance Techniques
  • Practical Problems and Efficient Solutions
  • Integrated Navigational Services and Harmonised Standards
  • Future Developments and New Technologies

At the Workshop in Cairns:

The workshop will focus on the safety of navigation in environmentally sensitive areas such as the Great Barrier Reef. Topics covered will include:

  • Understanding the sensitivities of the Great Barrier Reef (GBR)
  • The role of Aids to Navigation in the GBR
  • Case Study of the GBR using IALA Risk Analysis Techniques

Unfortunately the meeting does not have a public gallery so even though many members will be in the Sydney area for our annual Lighthouses of Australia (LoA) dinner to be held in Wollongong they won't be able to attend the IALA Conference.

However members of the Advisory Panel on the Preservation of Historical Lighthouses, Aids to Navigation and Related Equipment (PHL) have been invited to the annual LoA Dinner being held on Tuesday Evening, March the 12th 2002.

This will present an opportunity for LoA members and friends to meet PHL members and discuss the current attitudes and techniques regarding lighthouse preservation.

More information can be found on the Conference or Workshop arrangements by visiting the conference website at http://www.tourhosts.com.au/iala.

LoA Inc Annual Dinner Reminder

The Belmore Basin with it's 2 lighthouses as a backdrop. [Image: Ian Clifford]
The Belmore Basin with it's 2 lighthouses as a backdrop.
[Image: Ian Clifford]

Speaking about our Lighthouses of Australia Annual Dinner don't forget to book early for yourself, your partner and other lighthouse friends as it is assured to be a great occasion.

As mentioned above, as well as having visitors from overseas, it will also coincide with the re-lighting of the recently restored Wollongong Breakwater Lighthouse.

In addition to having a guest speaker <<expand>> it will be an opportunity to put faces to many of the people you read about in the Bulletin and Prism.

It will also be an opportunity to meet and welcome our new members who have joined LoA Inc from the former Australian Lighthouse Association (ALA)

For the local New South Wales supporters it creates a time and place to come together and find out who else in your area shares your interest in lighthouse heritage. This may even seed a few new friendships and projects.

The menu will soon be available and even though it is a seafood restaurant provision has been made for some interesting dishes for vegetarians and non-fish eaters.

To register you intention of attending contact Denise Shultz by email <pshultz@tpg.com.au> or phone (03) 9801 9726. She will notify you with confirmation and payment details when they are available.

The Harbour Front Restaurant with the Breakwater Light in the background. [Image: Ian Clifford] << Click here for more details on the dinner.
The Harbour Front Restaurant with the Breakwater Light in the background.
[Image: Ian Clifford]

Willoughby 150th Celebrated

[Daniel Rowley <Rowley.Daniel@saugov.sa.gov.au>]

On 10 January 2002 Cape Willoughby lightstation turned 150 years old. Cape Willoughby is the oldest lighthouse in South Australia. National Parks and Wildlife South Australia (NPWSA) staff celebrated this by cutting a cake on the balcony of the lighthouse on the day.

Cape Willoughby NPWSA staff- Wren Lashmar (Site Manager Cape Willoughby), Mary Northcotte and Brian Costigan cutting the 150 Cake. [Photograph: Daniel Rowley]
Cape Willoughby NPWSA staff- Wren Lashmar (Site Manager Cape Willoughby), Mary Northcotte and Brian Costigan cutting the 150 Cake.
[Photograph: Daniel Rowley]

While this was a low key celebration, NPWSA are planning a larger celebration to coincide with the Encounter 2002 (E2002) celebrations in Penneshaw from 1 to 7 April 2002. The celebrations are to include the following:

  1. Modified tour structure to link Cape Willoughby with the E2002 celebrations
  2. Photographic display at Cape Willoughby
  3. Lightkeepers reunion on 5 April 2002 at 2:00pm

Cape Willoughby 150th Cake. [Photograph: Daniel Rowley]
Cape Willoughby 150th Cake.
[Photograph: Daniel Rowley]

Any past lightkeepers or descendants of past lightkeepers are encouraged to attend the reunion and bring along any memorabilia from Cape Willoughby. NPWSA is looking at recording any information relating to the history of Cape Willoughby.

For further information on the Cape Willoughby 150 celebrations please contact:

Daniel Rowley, Ranger KI East on
(08) 8553 8233 or 0417 822 343
<Rowley.Daniel@saugov.sa.gov.au>

Cape Willughby Logo National Parks and Wildlife South Australia Logo Encounter 2002 Logo

Call to Former Victorian CLS Keepers

[Keith Banks <klbanks@yahoo.com.au>]

Keith Banks is hoping to gather all former Victorian lightkeeprs together. [Photograph: Keith Banks]
Keith Banks is hoping to gather all former Victorian lightkeeprs together.
[Photograph: Keith Banks]

Keith Banks is wanting to gather together all lightkeepers and other staff that have been connected with the Commonwealth Lighthouse Service in Victorian over the years. I am doing a project of the history of the keepers, who they were, and what stations they worked at and in what years were they on the different stations.

The idea is to make a history or database for their years of service so that people that are interest know who was here and who was there.

Keith said:

"I am therefore calling on all past lightkeepers to keep the lighthouse fraternity going by sitting down and putting pen to paper of where they were and when, what years and how long were they there, as so many of the log books were never made out right or have been lost so we have very little knowledge of these dedicated people who kept the grand ladies of the past going even the libraries have very little of this history."

Keith realises that its going to be a big job but he states he is willing to give it a go so that these people get the recognition they deserve.

He went on to say that he knows a lot of keepers by their names and a rough idea where some served his era was between 1936..1951.

In addition Keith is asking children and grandchildren of keepers that grew up at the same time as he did that have accurate records of their forebears details to please send them to him.

Keith Banks after a very succesful day's fishing in 1950. [Photograph: Keith Banks]
Keith Banks after a very successful day's fishing in 1950.
[Photograph: Keith Banks]

Keith said:

"Lin Richards who was a reliever between the mid eighties has sent me all the details of his service I thank him most kindly it's a start. So come on you lot out there, lets get together on this one for old times sake before there is no one to say who we were or when. Later on we might be able to arrange a get together in the form of a picnic or dinner or what ever in the future."

Keith shared with us his pilgrimage back to Gabo Island in the January 2001 Bulletin.

Keith can be contacted at Keith Banks <klbanks@yahoo.com.au>.

Point Lonsdale to Celebrate 100 Years

The Point Lonsdale Lighthouse. [Photograph: Ed Kavaliunas]
The Point Lonsdale Lighthouse.
[Photograph: Ed Kavaliunas]

A special picnic day is to be held to celebrate the 100th anniversary first exhibition of the current Point Lonsdale Lighthouse tower, which will be held on Sunday 17th March 2001. The official anniversary is on Wednesday 20th March.

Both the Queenscliff Maritime Museum and Historical Society Museum are intending to put on special exhibitions.

At the picnic as well as the usual dignitaries and speeches it is anticipated that there will be of music, old yarns and a reunion of past Point Lonsdale lightkeepers. The occasion will be preceded with a remembrance of those lost on the West Coast and at the Heads and also those who served on the light.

Point Lonsdale in all her glory. [Photograph: Rodney Nicholson]
Point Lonsdale in all her glory.
[Photograph: Rodney Nicholson]

The organising committee would particularly like to hear from past keepers and their families as it is hoped to gather as many as possible together on the day.

For further details contact Leanne Stein at the Borough of Queenscliffe at <leanne.stein@queenscliffe.vic.gov.au> or phone (03) 5258 1377.

Australian Lighthouse Stamp Release Next Month

On the 11th March 2002 Australia Post will be releasing 4 new lighthouse stamps featuring:

The Macquarie Lighthouse on South Head, Sydney, New South Wales, was Australia’s first lightstation. [Image: Australia Post] The Macquarie Lighthouse on South Head, Sydney, New South Wales, was Australia’s first lightstation.
The lighthouse at Cape Naturaliste, Western Australia, was built after more than twelve ships were wrecked in the Cape ’s strong currents and hazardous reefs. [Image: Australia Post] The lighthouse at Cape Naturaliste, Western Australia, was built after more than twelve ships were wrecked in the Cape ’s strong currents and hazardous reefs.
The lighthouse on Troubridge Island, South Australia, was made from cast iron pieces shipped out from Britain and bolted together on the site. [Image: Australia Post] The lighthouse on Troubridge Island, South Australia, was made from cast iron pieces shipped out from Britain and bolted together on the site.
Cape Bruny Lighthouse, Tasmania, was built by convicts, using stone cut on the site. It is Australia's oldest coastal light. [Image: Australia Post] Cape Bruny Lighthouse, Tasmania, was built by convicts, using stone cut on the site. It is Australia's oldest coastal light.

There will be a launch in Sydney on the 12th March 2002 and it will coincide with IALA and our annual dinner.

The Macquarie Lighthouse 150th anniversary stamp issued in 1968. [Image: Australia Post]
The Macquarie Lighthouse 150th anniversary stamp issued in 1968.
[Image: Australia Post]

This is not the first time Australia’s first lighthouse has appeared on a stamp. The stamp above was issued in November 1968.

Click on the Australia Post logo to see more information on this release. Click on the Australia Post logo to the left to see more information on this release.

If you know of any news or event effecting an Australian Lighthouse please forward it to us so we can publish in the Monthly Bulletin.


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Thankyou

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The FEBRUARY 02 BULLETIN was published on: 12/02/02

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Lighthouses of Australia Web Site First Published: 3/12/97

Photographs & Contributions:

AMSA for Photographs
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