Lighthouses of Australia Project - JANUARY 00 BULLETIN

VOL 5 No 3
MARCH 2002
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Features

Lighthouses From the Air: Part 7
Wilsons Promontory by Land
Is Nelson Head the Shortest Lighthouse in the World?

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Australian News

14 Lighthouse Postmarks to Coincide With Stamp Release
Point Lonsdale 100th Anniversary Date Changed
Deal Island Superintendent's Residence Museum Inc Established
Memorial to Cape Jaffa Keepers & Seamen

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Dear Friends

What a rush the last few weeks has been. Organising and getting ready for the trip to Wollongong and Sydney for the annual dinner. Trying to get the Bulletin finished and out before we leave. Look forward next month to first of a series of trip reports.

Lighthouse Pages

The Casuarina Point Lighthouse in Bunbury, Western AustraliaLately there has been a steady stream of photos, history and information, especially from people enthused about the Casaurina Light in Bunbury and Fraser Island. That's great. Keep it coming.

The Sandy Cape Lighthouse on Fraser Island, QueenslandI must apologize if these don't immediately eventuate into Web pages for these lights. As many of you know I have had a bit of a battle with my health over the last 2 years and I have had to put all of my efforts into keeping the Bulletin going.

Fortunately many true believers have come to my aid and I certainly wouldn't have been able to continue without them. As more come onboard with the right skills we will be able to resume getting the rest of Australia's classical lighthouse pages up, so please be patient, help where you can and keep the material coming in.

This Month's Features

Lighthouses From the Air: Part 7The final installment of Lighthouses From the Air continues with part 7 of Lloyd and Winsomes' trip when they return home with the wind in their hair. The trip covers the tropical lighthouses southwards towards the more traditional lighthouses we picture in our minds.

Wilsons Promontory by LandDenise Shultz gives us the second part of her report with Wilsons Promontory by Land where she takes a look a the latest changes in regard to access, renovations and accommodation.

Is Nelson Head the Shortest Lighthouse?Sam Calder looks into the question, "Is Nelson Head the Shortest Lighthouse?" posed by Colin Hay who is working on assembling the history of the light.

This Month's News

14 Lighthouse Postmarks to Co-incide With Stamp ReleaseNot for the faint hearted, but work your way through this story to find out where 14 lighthouse postmarks to coincide with the lighthouse stamp release are available on as well as the stamp on Tuesday 12th March 2002.

Deal Island Superintendent's Residence Museum Inc EstablishedPoint Lonsdale 100th Anniversary Date Changed at the last minute due to a severe clash with another event. It is now going to be held on Saturday the 23rd March 2002.

The Deal Island Superintendent's Residence Museum Inc has been established to take control and maintain this museum for the future. The museum building has an interesting history and has recently been restored

A Memorial to Cape Jaffa Keepers & SeamenA Memorial to Cape Jaffa Keepers & Seamen that have been lost is to made in the form of a plaque. John Nicholson is gathering the information, writing a booklet and organising the event.

Malcolm Macdonald is the founder and convener of Lighthouses of Australia.

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

[Photograph: Marguerite Stephen]


Features

Lighthouses From the Air: Part 7

Homeward Bound

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

Monday 11 June ~ Cooktown to Cairns

After all the fun in Cooktown, it was time to head south to Cairns. Winsome got some good shots of Grassy Head just after take-off.

The Low Isles light was next. It is best known for its red cupola above an island of trees. Winsome was a little surprised to find three buildings, with solar panels covering their roofs.

The island has conservation restrictions due to its bird nesting population in this area, therefore the Cessna wasn't allowed closer than 1000 feet.

From there we flew over Little Fitzroy Island. It was one of 7 GRP huts on the day. Unfortunately they missed the decommissioned light on Fitzroy Island as it was not shown on any of the official lists.

Tuesday 12 June ~ Cairns - Rest Day

Cairns was their stopover point for the next two nights. Lloyd and Winsome visited the RFDS centre and the airport control tower.

The turtles swimming around Green Island. [Image: Winsome Bonham]
The turtles swimming around Green Island.
[Image: Winsome Bonham]

Tuesday was a rest day. "Touristy" things were in order, such as, taking the ferry out to Green Island and having a ride in a glass bottom boat. Seeing turtles swimming around was a real highlight.

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
Lighthouses From the Air: Part 6


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]

The Low Isles Lighthouse at Port Douglas. [Photograph: Winsome Bonham] << Click for larger image.
Click to view lighthouse locationThe Low Isles Lighthouse at Port Douglas.
[Photograph: Winsome Bonham]

The Little Fitzroy Island Lighthouse near Cairns. [Photograph: Winsome Bonham] << Click for larger image.
Click to view lighthouse locationThe Little Fitzroy Island Lighthouse near Cairns.
[Photograph: Winsome Bonham]

Wednesday June 13 ~ Cairns to Townsville

As the army was holding "war games" in the Townsville area, Lloyd had to lodge and follow a very strict flight plan.

It was a very early start from Cairns that day. This had them landing at Townsville airport before 9 a.m.

On the way down this section of coast, framework towers were the dominant types of lighthouse.

When approaching Albino Rock, a heavy rainsquall prevented a close inspection. After circling for a while Lloyd decided to head into Townsville. Albino would be close enough to pick up on the way out on Friday.

The Bay Rock Lighthouse at the Townsville Maritime Museum. [Image: Winsome Bonham]
The Bay Rock Lighthouse at the Townsville Maritime Museum.
[Image: Winsome Bonham]

The Lighthouse from Bay Rock has been installed in the grounds of the Maritime Museum in Townsville and been replaced by a light on a stick.

When on the ground at Townsville, our fliers visited the control tower and met up with some former air traffic control mates of Lloyd's.

During a drive around Townsville, they "discovered" the Maritime Museum, which has a number of interesting "relocated" lighthouses in its grounds.

It was closed for renovation, however the curator spotted them as they were walking around. When Winsome explained their interests and the "Lighthouses from the Air" project the curator offered to open up the displays the next day.

 

 

Thursday 14 June ~ Rest Day - Townsville

Charters Towers is full of historic building such as the Australian Bank of Commerce. [Image: Winsome Bonham]
Charters Towers is full of historic building such as the Australian Bank of Commerce.
[Image: Winsome Bonham]

On their rest day, Winsome and Lloyd drove out to the historic gold mining town of Charters Towers. They had a fabulous time with the National Trust walking tour of the town being the highlight.

When they returned to Townsville in the afternoon, they took up the offer to see inside the Maritime Museum.

The old Wharton Reef Lighthouse is installed in the middle of a round-a-bout. [Image: Winsome Bonham]
The old Wharton Reef Lighthouse is installed in the middle of a roundabout.
[Image: Winsome Bonham]

They saw the lenses from several lighthouses including Penrith Island off Mackay. The Museum also looks after the original light from Wharton Reef. It is installed in the middle of a nearby traffic roundabout.

Friday 15 June ~ Townsville to Mackay

After backtracking to Albino Rock, it was off to Cape Cleveland with its keeper's cottages followed by the new light at Cape Bowling Green. The original tower is on display at Darling Harbour's Australian National Maritime Museum.

Stone Island, just off Bowen was interesting, as it is a six-sided wooden tower. It was an accident they got this one as it should have been a white beacon according to the list.

When they entered Hamilton Island air space, Lloyd was pleased to learn that the controllers were aware of their mission.

Dent Island is quite a steep island. With the Cessna approaching from the opposite side to the lighthouse, they nearly missed seeing it.

The helicopter-landing platform on the island almost looks like a ski jump from the air.

In this part of the world, many of the helipads have the island's name painted on them. Obviously with so many similar looking islands, this form of identification is just like the way outback homesteads have their names emblazoned on their roofs to assist incoming aircraft.

After three more lights, they arrived at Flat Top Island in Mackay Harbour.Mackay was to be home for the night. The air traffic controller at the airport had Lloyd's flight plans pinned up on his wall. He was quite excited to have our adventurers visiting.

The old Pine Islet tower has been relocated to the Mackay Harbour. [Image: Winsome Bonham]
The old Pine Islet tower has been relocated to the Mackay Harbour.
[Image: Winsome Bonham]

The lighthouse from Pine Islet had been relocated into the wharf area of Mackay Harbour in 1985.

Coal is the big export industry here, so Winsome and Lloyd drove out to Hay Point to see the huge coal ship-loading facility.

The Hay Point coal loading facility. [Image: Winsome Bonham]
The Hay Point coal loading facility.
[Image: Winsome Bonham]

Once again, the army had decided to have more war games in the region. This area covered the Pine Islet lighthouse, which Winsome wanted to photograph.

Lloyd spent some time ringing around various officials to get clearance to fly through the designated area. After several calls and being "passed up the line", they ended up dealing (by total coincidence) with a defence force friend in Darwin.

In order to get the go-ahead to fly, Lloyd had to specify what time they would enter the restricted airspace and what time they would clear it. This of course depended on takeoff time, which in turn was weather dependent.

Included in all these arrangements was getting some radio callsigns and frequencies so they could advise the authorities where they were during the flight.

Saturday 16 June ~ Mackay to Gladstone

Again, the motel phone systems were a problem. They wouldn't accept any of Lloyd's systems used to access weather reports. So, it was back to a public telephone and a wait for the motel reception to open in order to receive the weather fax.

In the air again, they tracked out towards Hay Point to see the coal loader from the air.

Vernon Rocks and Pine Peak Island were safely negotiated and they reached defence force airspace in the right time-slot. Pine Islet, with its replacement GRP hut and the keeper's cottage, together with High Peak Island and the Clara Group completed the sequence of lights to be observed within the restricted airspace.

Cape Capricorn Lightstation was the last for the day before heading into Gladstone.

The temperature in the air has now dropped from the previous days 24°, yesterday to 12°. Winsome hadn't realised how cold it was getting until she was waiting in line for the hire car at Gladstone airport where she started to shiver uncontrollably.

Talking to Arthur White on the replica of James Cook's 'Endeavour' in Gladstone Harbour. [Image: Winsome Bonham]
Talking to Arthur White on the replica of James Cook's 'Endeavour' in Gladstone Harbour.
[Image: Winsome Bonham]

When driving around Gladstone they saw the replica of Captain Cook's ship "Endeavour" which was visiting the port. Lloyd and Winsome took a tour of this interesting ship and talked to some of the volunteers.

Arthur White was one of the characters with his long white hair tied back with a rope knot clip.

Winsome was glad she didn't have to travel on this ship because of the cramped conditions on board. Winsome thought the early explorers are to be much admired for their courage and perseverance.

Camalco's alumina plant at Gladestone is the world's biggest. [Image: Winsome Bonham]
Camalco's alumina plant at Gladestone is the world's biggest.
[Image: Winsome Bonham]

Other sights around Gladstone, which they saw, were the world's biggest alumina plant, which is owned by Comalco (Rio Tinto), and the Awoonga Dam. Around the dam, there was a very tame family of resident wallabies.

Sunday 17 June ~ Gladstone to Maroochydore

Back in the air, they passed over the town of Seventeen Seventy (1770). Once again, this is a reminder of James Cooks' exploration.

Bustard Head with its damaged keeper's cottages and chain wire fence was the first light for the day.

Next, came Burnett Heads, near Bundaberg and then across to Fraser Island and Sandy Cape.

They flew south along the coast of Fraser Island. The beach has many 4WD's running up and down which looked like ant trails. No beach on the mainland was without 4WD tracks. Winsome commented, "They manage to get everywhere".

Double Island Point was the last light for the day before landing at Maroochydore.

Our travellers found Maroochydore an interesting place. Their first stop was the Point Cartwright Lighthouse, and then a visit to the Maroochy Wetlands where there is a great educational centre. They couldn't pass up a visit to the legendary Ettamogah Pub.

Monday June 18 ~ Maroochydore to Coolangatta

They were in the air early. They flew over Point Cartwright with its distinctive water tank and the next sector was tracking onto Bribie Island and Caloundra Head.

We couldn't find the two older Caloundra lights as they were obscured by blocks of flats and offices.

Moreton Island has a small square concrete tower amongst the rocks on the northern end of the island and then nearby is the Cape Moreton lightstation.

The keepers cottages here appear from the air to be quite well maintained, resplendent in white and green paintwork. The lighthouse is stone with two red bands on the top half.

Cowan Cowan Point has a small light near the end of a grass runway and there are some ship wrecks nearby.

Point Lookout on Stradbroke Island is a white square tower.

The next light is at Cleveland Point, which appears to be a 6-sided wooden tower. Winsome wonders how many lighthouses of timber construction there are around Australia.

Point Danger and the Captain Cook Memorial Tower at Tweed Heads on the New South Wales border were next.

Liz, the very efficient fuel lady. [Image: Winsome Bonham]
Liz, the very efficient fuel lady.
[Image: Winsome Bonham]

The last light for the day was Fingal Head. After landing at Coolangatta and finding a place to park VH-RNL, Liz, the very efficient fuel lady, was on the spot before they were out of the plane. Winsome commented, "She was one very helpful lady".

Lloyd's daughter, Janelle lives locally so our fliers were looking forward to a couple of day's rest and relaxation.

Tuesday June 19 ~ Rest Day - Coolangatta

Winsome and Lloyd drove out to Fingal Head to get a close hand look at the light. The tessellated rocks on the coastline nearby are very interesting and they saw a few dolphins swimming close inshore.

They also visited the modern light at Point Danger, which was only opened in 1971. Winsome queried whether there was there was an earlier light on this site.

They had a great two days here, taking it easy with Lloyd's family.

Wednesday 20 June ~ Rest Day

In the morning, our adventurers had a telephone interview with Madeleine Randall at ABC radio in Newcastle. They were able to confirm their schedule and that they would be arriving back in Maitland in 3 days time.

Thursday 21 June ~ Coolangatta to Coffs Harbour

Back on the lighthouse trail again. Winsome and Lloyd knew they were getting close to home when they passed Cape Byron. This is the most easterly point of the Australian coast. It is therefore an important landmark and was the first light for the day.

The next lights were Ballina Head and Evans Head. Winsome thought from here on south they were back into "real lighthouse" country. No more GRP huts! Clarence Head, is a tall white tower set amongst houses at Yamba.

The last lights for the day were North and South Solitary Islands.

A substantial stone wall on South Solitary Island extends from the keeper's cottages to the lighthouse. This must be a testimony as to how bad the weather can get since the wall must have been built to protect the keeper on his way to the lighthouse.

Coffs Harbour Airport has very little air traffic but it boasts an air traffic controller. Winsome and Lloyd stayed with friends at the small village of Mylestom, on the Bellinger River just south of Coffs Harbour.

Friday 22 June ~ Rest Day - Coffs Harbour

It was another rest day for the aviators. They took a drive inland to Dorrigo and have a relaxing time seeing new places. Radio station KOFM in Newcastle had picked up on Wednesday's ABC interview and asked to do a story on the "Lighthouses from the Air" adventure as well.

Saturday 23 June ~ Coffs Harbour to Maitland

Winsome was feeling sad at the start of this day. It was to be the last day of their huge adventure. She couldn't believe that they were almost back to their starting point. It had gone so quickly and amazingly, with only a few minor hiccups.

All the planning had paid off and except for things they could not plan for, like the apathy of hire car firms and the idiosyncrasies with motel telephone lines, they have completed the circumnavigation without any major disasters.

The morning weather report said there was going to be fog at Maitland. Lloyd and Winsome thought, this was a little poetic since they had to wait for the fog to lift on that long ago day of departure for this trip: 28 April 2001.

They arrived at Coffs Harbour airport and packed the gear into VH-RNL for the last time. Before taking off they took a little time out to visit the Bureau of Meteorology to talk about the prospects for the day. The lady in charge had just returned from Antarctica. She was very interesting and informative lady.

The Trail Bay Goal at South West Rocks. [Image: Winsome Bonham]
The Trail Bay Goal at South West Rocks.
[Image: Winsome Bonham]

The sun had risen and they took off at 8am. They were now on the very last leg of the trip. They flew by Trial Bay Goal, which they had visited in 2000 during the Big Ride, an organised cycling expedition.

South West Rocks or Smoky Cape seemed to be sparkling in a new coat of paint and a couple was breakfasting in the courtyard of the keeper's cottage.

Tacking Point and Crowdy Head are very similar types of buildings. Winsome thought Crowdy Head had got closer to the cliff since she saw it last time!

Again looking inland it was quite smoky. The view of the coastline passing below never failed to appeal to Winsome.

It was much colder as they got further south and they only had the window open when they were near the lighthouses and were ready to shoot the photos.

The GPS was handy here since, it told Lloyd how far to go to the next point. Then Winsome could be prepared to open the window again.

Sugarloaf Point or Seal Rocks came into view. They had previously visited this lighthouse on the ground and knew about a power line across a gap. It is always necessary to check as they make low approaches that someone hasn't strung up a wire somewhere.

Point Stephens Lighthouse is on an island, which is accessible at very low tide. The keeper's cottages were burnt several years ago and the stone remains look like many of the sadder relicts they have seen on their trip.

Nelson Head is a cottage with a lantern room attached on one corner. It displays different coloured lights depending on the viewing angle. The week following our aviators visit the roof of the cottage was replaced.

They are now back in very familiar territory. The last stretch was to fly along Stockton Beach, go round Nobbys Head and then inland to Maitland Airport.

Home at last!

NBN-TV from Newcastle had rung the airport to say they were on their way to meet Winsome and Lloyd. They wanted our tired travellers to wait until their crew arrived in order to get some footage for their evening news.

The NBN crew got some shots of our tired travellers unpacking the plane. Our expeditioners were pleased to put their feet up at home. It was a strange sensation to watch themselves on the TV news that night from the comfort of their own armchairs.

Winsome reflected at the end of the trip:

"It has been invaluable to write this report, compiling all this information together with my photographs. In the months that have passed, we began to realise how little we actually knew about lighthouses before we started. All we have read in LOA Bulletins is starting to mean something very special and we will certainly reread them before we leave for Tasmania".

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

The new Cape Bowling Green Lighthouse east of Townsville. [Photograph: Winsome Bonham] << Click for larger image.
Click to view lighthouse locationThe new Cape Bowling Green Lighthouse east of Townsville.
[Photograph: Winsome Bonham]

The Stone Island Lighthouse off Bowen. [Photograph: Winsome Bonham] << Click for larger image.
Click to view lighthouse locationThe Stone Island Lighthouse off Bowen.
[Photograph: Winsome Bonham]

The Dent Island Lighthouse in the Whitsunday Group. [Photograph: Winsome Bonham] << Click for larger image.
Click to view lighthouse locationThe Dent Island Lighthouse in the Whitsunday Group.
[Photograph: Winsome Bonham]

The Flat Top Island Lighthouse in the Mackay Harbour. [Photograph: Winsome Bonham] << Click for larger image.
Click to view lighthouse locationThe Flat Top Island Lighthouse in the Mackay Harbour.
[Photograph: Winsome Bonham]

The Pine Peak Island Lighthouse in the Percy Isles. [Photograph: Winsome Bonham] << Click for larger image.
Click to view lighthouse locationThe Pine Peak Island Lighthouse in the Percy Isles.
[Photograph: Winsome Bonham]

The new Pine Islet in the Percy Isles. [Photograph: Winsome Bonham] << Click for larger image.
Click to view lighthouse locationThe new Pine Islet Light in the Percy Isles.
[Photograph: Winsome Bonham]

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

The Bustard Head Lighthouse near Seventeen Seventy. [Photograph: Winsome Bonham] << Click for larger image.
Click to view lighthouse locationThe Bustard Head Lighthouse near Seventeen Seventy.
[Photograph: Winsome Bonham]

The Burnett River Lighthouse near Bundaberg. [Photograph: Winsome Bonham] << Click for larger image.
Click to view lighthouse locationThe Burnett River Lighthouse near Bundaberg.
[Photograph: Winsome Bonham]

The Sandy Cape Lighthouse on Fraser Island. [Photograph: Winsome Bonham] << Click for larger image.
Click to view lighthouse locationThe Sandy Cape Lighthouse on Fraser Island.
[Photograph: Winsome Bonham]

The Double Island Point Lighthouse. [Photograph: Winsome Bonham] << Click for larger image.
Click to view lighthouse locationThe Double Island Point Lighthouse.
[Photograph: Winsome Bonham]

The Point Cartwright Lighthouse near Maroochydore. [Photograph: Winsome Bonham] << Click for larger image.
Click to view lighthouse locationThe Point Cartwright Lighthouse near Maroochydore.
[Photograph: Winsome Bonham]

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

The Bribie Island Rear Light Lighthouse. [Photograph: Winsome Bonham] << Click for larger image.
Click to view lighthouse locationThe Bribie Island Rear Light Lighthouse.
[Photograph: Winsome Bonham]

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

The Cowan Cowan Light on Moreton Island [Photograph: Winsome Bonham] << Click for larger image.
Click to view lighthouse locationThe Cowan Cowan Light on Moreton Island
[Photograph: Winsome Bonham]

The Point Cleveland Lighthouse near Brisbane. [Photograph: Winsome Bonham] << Click for larger image.
Click to view lighthouse locationThe Cleveland Point Lighthouse near Brisbane.
[Photograph: Winsome Bonham]

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

The Fingal Head Lighthouse south of Tweed Heads. [Photograph: Winsome Bonham] << Click for larger image.
Click to view lighthouse locationThe Fingal Head Lighthouse south of Tweed Heads.
[Photograph: Winsome Bonham]

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

The Richmond River Lighthouse at Ballina. [Photograph: Winsome Bonham] << Click for larger image.
Click to view lighthouse locationThe Richmond River Lighthouse at Ballina.
[Photograph: Winsome Bonham]

The Clarence River Lighthouse at Yamba. [Photograph: Winsome Bonham] << Click for larger image.
Click to view lighthouse locationThe Clarence River Lighthouse at Yamba.
[Photograph: Winsome Bonham]

The North Solitary Lighthouse near Coffs Harbour. [Photograph: Winsome Bonham] << Click for larger image.
Click to view lighthouse locationThe North Solitary Lighthouse near Coffs Harbour.
[Photograph: Winsome Bonham]

The South Solitary Lighthouse near Coffs Harbour. [Photograph: Winsome Bonham] << Click for larger image.
Click to view lighthouse locationThe South Solitary Lighthouse near Coffs Harbour.
[Photograph: Winsome Bonham]

The Smoky Cape Lighthouse near South West Rocks. [Photograph: Winsome Bonham] << Click for larger image.
Click to view lighthouse locationThe Smoky Cape Lighthouse near South West Rocks.
[Photograph: Winsome Bonham]

The Tacking Point Lighthouse near Port Macquarie. [Photograph: Winsome Bonham] << Click for larger image.
Click to view lighthouse locationThe Tacking Point Lighthouse near Port Macquarie.
[Photograph: Winsome Bonham]

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

The Sugarloaf Point Lighthouse near Seal Rocks. [Photograph: Winsome Bonham] << Click for larger image.
Click to view lighthouse locationThe Sugarloaf Point Lighthouse near Seal Rocks.
[Photograph: Winsome Bonham]

The Point Stephens Lighthouse near Port Stephens. [Photograph: Winsome Bonham] << Click for larger image.
Click to view lighthouse locationThe Point Stephens Lighthouse near Port Stephens.
[Photograph: Winsome Bonham]

The Nelson Head Lighthouse at Port Stephens [Photograph: Winsome Bonham] << Click for larger image.
Click to view lighthouse locationThe Nelson Head Lighthouse at Port Stephens
[Photograph: Winsome Bonham]

 

NEXT MONTH

This was the final part of Lighthouses From the Air but now it's onto "Tassie Lighthouses from the Air" next month.

LIGHTHOUSES OF TASMANIA - "From The Air"

The Nobbys Head Lighthouse at Newcastle. [Photograph: Winsome Bonham] << Click for larger image.
Click to view lighthouse locationThe Nobbys Head Lighthouse at Newcastle.
[Photograph: Winsome Bonham]

Wilsons Promontory by Land

Wilsons Promontory by Sea: Feb 2002 Bulletin

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

Wilsons Promontory Lightstation is on an isolated rocky headland. [Image: Winsome Bonham]
Wilsons Promontory Lightstation is on an isolated rocky headland.
[Image: Winsome Bonham]

The steep concrete "driveway" seemed to go on forever and I was near exhaustion as I was trailing our group of seven family members and friends. A few minutes later I joined the rest of the gang waiting for me at the top of the hill, where our journey ended. We finally reached the South-East Point - better known as the Wilsons Promontory Lighthouse. They were waiting for me in the company of a slim woman in her forties with short hair and sun tanned weather beaten face.

According to my sources she should have been Kate, but when I asked if it was her name she told me that Kate had left some five months ago and her name was Gill. She and her husband Keith were now looking after the Wilsons Promontory Lighthouse and its visitors after taking over from Matt and Kate.

Denise discussing changes at Wilsons Promontory with the Chapmans. [Image: Denise Shultz]
Denise discussing changes at Wilsons Promontory with the Chapmans.
[Image: Denise Shultz]

Gill and Keith Chapman come from Tasmania and for them Wilsons Promontory Lightstation must seem like a reasonably busy place. Last year they spent two three month stints at Maatsuyker Island, the southernmost lightstation in Australia. They both have other professions but decided to give the lighthouses a go after reading an advertisement looking for caretakers and weather observers for this windswept, and most remote of lighthouses. With qualifications like that, Wilsons Promontory must have seemed like a tropical paradise.

One thing is for sure - they can not complain about the lack of company of other people. From what Gill told me the cottages are seldom unoccupied.

Some of the wildlife that can be found around the station. [Image: Denise Shultz]
Some of the wildlife that can be found around the station.
[Image: Denise Shultz]

Lots of things have happened in the Wilsons Promontory National Park and especially to the lightstation since our last visit here three years ago. A new track has been cut along the eastern side of Wilsons Promontory from the lighthouse to Little Waterloo Bay, linking the lighthouse with all the rest of the east coast up to Sealers Cove. It is a little longer than the old one through Roaring Meg, but follows the coast most of the time and is reputedly more interesting. The final 3 km of the old lighthouse track were also changed and built closer to the coast. The path is now much safer and provides the hikers with a spectacular view of the lightstation, Bass Strait and the islands as far as 80 km away. Rodondo Island, 12 km distant, looks a lot closer and when the visibility is good Curtis Island can be seen on the horizon.

The many buildings that make up the lightstation are under the control of Parks Victoria except the lighthouse which is still under the control of AMSA. A program of restoration has been undertaken to give the three of the four cottages a new life as accommodation for the numerous hikers who frequent the area.

On the western side two of the three cottages were made available for accommodation in 1996. The first one has been recently refurbished with modern fully equipped kitchen, two bathrooms, library, comfortable furnishings and bed linen included at no extra cost. It can sleep eight people. Gill and Keith occupy the middle cottage. The third cottage (and the one we were staying at) is called Sutton as a tribute to the last lighthouse keepers Peter and Pat Sutton. It is closest to the lighthouse. This house used to be able to accommodate 12 people but now it has only eight beds in three bedrooms. On the eastern side of the station is a former head keeper's cottage (Richards Residence). This house built of granite stone has been empty since the Suttons left in 2000. The external roofing has recently been restored to the original slate and the internal renovations will resume in April. It is anticipated that it will be available later in the year to be rented to the visitors.

One of the Cottages before restoration and a new roof. [Image: Grant Maizels]
One of the Cottages before restoration and a new roof.
[Image: Grant Maizels]

Though I am very happy that Richards cottage, which is the oldest (1859) and most historically important, is being renovated and restored, I can not help but having my doubts about the wisdom of catering mostly for the up market tourist. It may bring in more money, but few people would be encouraged to stay longer than one night. Also, the type of people who hike the 18 kilometres from Tidal River to the Lighthouse are unlikely to be looking for this type of accommodation. I believe, and the caretakers agree with me, that this place is enjoyed the best when you have more time to experience it, to relax for a day, taking in the beauty of the surroundings, before enduring the long walk back to Tidal River.

When the refurbishment of the head keeper's house is finished the accommodation capacity of all three houses would be 28 beds. Thirty people is quite a crowd and the environment, already altered beyond repair by one and a half centuries of human habitation, could suffer even more, if things are not handled with great care. Hopefully all aspects will be considered. Parks Victoria, who have been the owners of the lightstation since it was automated in 1993 declared this the area of historical significance and therefore no one is allowed to remove anything from there. Strangely enough, that includes all the rubbish dumped and scattered over the cliffs all around the lighthouse during the era when lighthouse keepers were not as environmentally conscious as we are today. Even this rubbish may be historically significant.

Restoration being undertaken on Wilsons Promontory Cottages. [Image: Geoff Durham]
Restoration being undertaken on Wilsons Promontory Cottages.
[Image: Geoff Durham]

During our first visit five years ago, when approaching the lighthouse I remember distinctly hearing the sound, which reminded me of a helicopter. Coming closer we could see that a powerful wind generator was making the noise. The next day though, it was on the ground and in need of repair. Now the windmill has been changed for a smaller sleeker model, which is not only quieter but also more reliable.

The remnants of a flying fox on the western side of the point further deteriorated and are fast disintegrating.

We had a full day to recover at Wilsons Promontory lightstation before heading back to Tidal River next morning. Two members of our party refused to walk more than 50m from the lighthouse (moving any further would have involved climbing down and up the dreaded hill again) but the rest of us explored the surroundings with the renewed energy. As this was our third visit here we could see that some things have remained the same but a lot has also changed.

Denise and her party embarking on the 18km hike from Wilsons Promontory back to Tidal River. [Image: Denise Shultz]
Denise and her party embarking on the 18km hike from Wilsons Promontory back to Tidal River.
[Image: Denise Shultz]

What has not changed though is the charm this place exudes. It is a tough walk from Tidal River but it's worth the effort. Though we were always lucky to have sunny weather I can imagine the lightstation would not lose any of its magic during a storm or a gale. It still has a feeling of living in a by gone era when the lightkeepers had to take turns every night tending the light and watching for passing ships during the day.

No matter what further changes are planned for the station, I hope this aspect will always remain the same.

The author, Denise with her daughter Corinne having a rest while hiking. [Image: Denise Shultz]
The author, Denise with her daughter Corinne having a rest while hiking.
[Image: Denise Shultz]

For those who are interested the cost of staying at Wilsons Promontory Lightstation is:

Lighthouse Cottage - $75 per person per night
Sutton Cottage - $40 per person per night
Richards Residence - Anticipated to be the same as Lighthouse Cottage when available.
   
Linen - Extra $12 per person per night

Access is only by hiking from Tidal River.
Distance to lighthouse from Tidal River 18km.

Phone Parks Office, Tidal River: (03) 5680 9500 (03) 5680 9555

Is Nelson Head the Shortest Lighthouse in the World?

[Sam Calder <sam_calder_subs@yahoo.com>]

In our ongoing search for more information about Australian Lighthouses, LoA has been contacted by Colin Hay of the "Nelson Head Inner Lighthouse Cottage Museum" (Port Stephens, NSW) with some valuable historical and technical details about both the Inner (Nelson Head) and Outer (Point Stephens) lights. More follows below but ...

He has also posed us the question"Do we have the shortest lighthouse in the world?" A very good question indeed.

I guess many a port has been sunk around the dinner table arguing this topic and no doubt some of those arguments have gotten around to the question "Just what makes a lighthouse 'the shortest'?".

Hexagonal room to the left is the lighthouse. Tea rooms are in the middle and the cylinders to the right are the Royal Volunteer Coastal Patrol. [Image: Colin Hay]
Hexagonal room to the left is the lighthouse. Tea rooms are in the middle and the cylinders to the right are the Royal Volunteer Coastal Patrol.
[Image: Colin Hay]

Nelson Head Inner Light, located on the first headland inside the southern entrance to Port Stephens - near Shoal Bay, was gazetted in 1872. The keeper's cottage was constructed in 1875. The light room, affectionately known to its custodians as the "lighthouse", the hexagonal room at the NW corner of the building was added in 1876. This may have been to allow the surveyors to accurately design the room and its windows which "aim" the light beams.

The first vessel listed as having entered The Bay was the "Salamander", many years prior to the construction of the light, on 21st August 1791.

From around the early 1800s the surrounding area was a settlement in its own right and sustained many industries such as timber getting (cedar and turpentine), lime (from oyster shells), fishing and various agricultural products from the Australian Agricultural Company which had operations as far away as Stroud, there was even ship building in a small way, usually company or private vessels, all from very early in our history. The port was most likely also linked to the settlement of the Hunter region, as a significant amount of freight was sent from the valley to America, New Zealand, China, Sydney as well as England.

As with the installation of many safety features a number of disasters and mishaps occurred prior to action being taken. The Government was petitioned to provide navigation aids in 1837.

There is evidence to suggest there was a light of some form positioned on Nelson Head from the mid 1850s. This "light" was located in a shed or on a tower just to the north of what became the light room. A yellow post located in the grounds (near the flag pole) is thought to be the remnants of that structure. The earliest specifications for the light show that it was kerosene operated and was to be visible ten miles to sea in good conditions, prior to that it could have been a bon fire for all we know.

Nelson Head Inner Lighthouse Cottage Museum

The cottage is now the home to the "Nelson Head Inner Lighthouse Cottage Museum" and also tea rooms that are privately operated. It is a four room, solidly constructed rendered and plastered brick / stone design with central hallway and all-round verandah.


Nelson Head Lightstation and Royal Volunteer Coastal Patrol Station from the air. [Image: RVCP]
Nelson Head Lightstation and Royal Volunteer Coastal Patrol Station from the air.

[Image: RVCP]

The two northern rooms contain historical displays: one containing information on HMAS Assault, Fort Tomaree (both of WW2 interest) and the Brig "Lady Nelson" as well as some shipwreck artifact. The model of the Brig "Lady Nelson" relates to the visit to the Port on New Year's Day 1812 by Governor Macquarie and his second wife. She was recorded as being the first white woman to enter the Port and the area was known as Lady Nelson Bay for some years until it was shortened to Nelson Bay. The shipwreck artifact are in the main from the Ketch "Sea Foam" which foundered on Shoal Bay beach in 1894 when her anchor dragged.

The Nelson Head Inner Lighthouse Cottage Museum. [Image: Colin Hay]
The Nelson Head Inner Lighthouse Cottage Museum.

[Image: Colin Hay]

The other northern room is a bedroom display attempting to recreate living conditions from 1875 through to early 1900s. The southern rooms house the museum's video / reading room and the tea room.

The water-tank type buildings to the south of the cottage (constructed in 1993) are home to a Royal Volunteer Coastal Patrol radio base. The Trust which manages this cottage is a division of the RVCP.

 

Regrettably, between 1862 and 1872, there were apparently some twelve wrecks in the area with the loss of about forty lives before the Nelson Head "Inner Light" eventually commenced operations on 1st April 1872.

The flagstaff and hexagonal light room. [Image: Colin Hay]
The flagstaff and hexagonal light room.
[Image: Colin Hay]

The light room (1876) contained four kerosene lamps, one in each of the four windows, trained onto specific parts of the harbour. Electric light did not eventuate until 1948. The windows were sized and positioned such that various width beams were thrown over the bay and out to sea to guide ships around the extensive shoals in the harbour. The room ceased operation after 1984 when it was replaced by a Tupperware Tower on top of an old WW2 bunker further north of the building.

So, is this the shortest lighthouse in the world?

The hexagonal light room itself is 2.4m from ground level to just under the guttering. The roof sticks up a further 1.75m above that point, making the total height 4.15 metres top to bottom. The room used to have a chimney and cowl on top of that (to assist in the removal of kerosene fumes) but those were removed many years ago as they were not required once electric light was introduced. The room is eleven feet across (inside measurement) and is made of 14 inch thick concrete and then rendered with a vaulted roof of 9 inch coke concrete over which was a pointed timber and corrugated iron roof.

The focal plane of the light is approximately 175 feet above high water, that's about 52.5 metres.

To answer Col's question (and at the risk of being accused of being a fence-sitter) "We don't know." (Groan - what an anticlimax!). This may well be the shortest building that houses a navigation light, but, regrettably, this is not a recognised measurement in nautical circles.

No doubt there will be many more ports sunk over this topic (and perhaps even a few letters from our readers both at home and abroad).

Many thanks to Col for this valuable contribution to our site.

For more information regarding the Nelson Head Lighthouse and the Museum please contact Colin Hay <light_house@coastalpatrol.nelsonbay.com>


Letters & Notices

Getting Grandmother Back to Neptune Island

Dear Keeper

I am after some information on Neptune Island for my grandmother, who was on the Island during WWII with my great grandparents as the lighthouse keepers.The South Neptune Lighthouse

My great grandfather was in the Air Force as a lookout with 3 other families.

I also spent 7 days on the Island with the Army pulling down the old wharf in 1999 so I have a little bit of history on the Island.

So if you could please help me to find out how my grandmother might be able to visit the Island one more time ,It would be much appreciated.

Yours Faithfully

Mr Walters <WaltersonJames@aol.com>

Looking for Bernard MacGowan of Montague Island

Hi Malcolm

Montague Island Lighthouse in New South WalesA friend of mine is related to a Bernard MacGowan who was a lighthouse keeper on Montague Island.

Wonga Shoal Lighthouse in South AustraliaDo you know where the records for the lighthouse are kept, especially the logs.

I am Mary Criddle's Web mistress and we would like to add a page on the lighthouse and Bernard's roll on it.

Mary's grandfather was the keeper on Wonga Shoal Lighthouse in South Australia and we have already done a page on this at:

http://www.users.bigpond.com/Criddlma/wonga.htm

Cheers

Carolyn Harris (Victorian in exile) <Tall_Trees@bigpond.com>
PO Box 4157
Myaree Business Centre
Myaree 6960
Western Australia

Looking for Ernest John Percey of South Solitary

Hi Malcolm,

I have been looking into the life of my grandfather who I have not met.

I understand he was a teenager on South Solitary Island in the late 1800's. Is there any way to confirm this?

He was Ernest John Persse/Percey/Percy (+ a few more spellings) son of John Percey born in Genoa, Italy 1841 died in Bellingen 1881.

The South Solitary Island  LighthouseHe was sent to the UK in 1881 after his father died. He was 5 at the time and was to be educated by the family but returned to Australia not wanted. He was born in Bellingen.

My aunt (his daughter) told me that he worked(?) on the island as a teenager and the lighthouse keeper commented on his huge appetite.

I have no information on where he went then but I think it was Sydney while his brothers stayed on the North Coast. He appeared to be well educated and wrote and spoke Latin. This may have come from his time on Solitary.

I did contact the National Archives with no luck.

What a pity there is not enough funding to restore the lighthouse cottages etc. We have our other home near Seal Rocks and saw how well maintained it is over Xmas.

Thank you for this most interesting web site.

Judy Edenborough<judye@idx.com.au>

Looking for William Woolley

Hi

I'm hoping you can point me in the right direction.

The Macquarie LighthouseIn researching my family history I have come across an ancestor named William Woolley who described himself as a lighthouse keeper.

This was in 1874 when he was living in The Rocks so the obvious possibility is Macquarie Lighthouse.

Can you suggest books or web sites where I might be able to confirm this and find out more about the man and his work?

Any suggestions greatly appreciated.

Ross Sergeant <sergeant@nor.com.au>
Lennox Head
NSW Australia

Lost Fellow Keepers of Cape Nelson and Bruny

Sir

The Cape Nelson  LighthouseMy father in law Ray Kirkwood was a light keeper back in the eighties.

He is trying to trace some of the people he worked with he can only remember first names and the years I wonder if you could help with this?

The Cape Bruny LighthouseThe first couple were head keepers at Cape Nelson their first names were Lindsey and Thaile around 1980 - 82.

The next was a relieving keeper on Bruny Island around 1987, first name is Ron.

My father was also a light keeper on Gabo, the Prom and others.

Hope you can help.

Regards

Reg James <rpjames@dcsi.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:

14 Lighthouse Postmarks to Coincide With Stamp Release

[Source Australia Post]

National FDI Postmarks

The first day cover featuring the 4 new lighthouse stamps. [Image: Australia Post]
The first day cover featuring the 4 new lighthouse stamps.
[Image: Australia Post]

First day covers, serviced with national first day of issue (FDI) postmarks, are available from FDI Post Offices and from the Australian Philatelic Bureau by mail order (for four weeks).

Private covers can only be serviced:

  • at the designated post office, Beacon WA 6472, on the day of issue, OR
  • by the Bureau if covers are received prior to the first day of issue.

Associated Postmarks

When the 4 lighthouse stamps are released on the 12th March 2002 there will be 13 associated lighthouse postmarks available on the day for cancelling the stamps on first day covers and other assorted postal items.

Location: Lighthouse Featured:
Aireys Inlet VIC 3231 Split Point
Alonnah Bruny Island TAS 7150 Cape Bruny
Cann River VIC 3890 Point Hicks
Devonport TAS 7310 The Bluff
Edithburgh SA 5582 Troubridge Shoal
George Town TAS 7253 Low Head
Mallacoota VIC 3892 Gabo Island
Pt Lonsdale VIC 3225 Point Lonsdale
Port Adelaide SA 5015 Port Adelaide
Queenscliff VIC 3225 Point Lonsdale
Tidal River VIC 3960 (impressions from Manager Foster LPO VIC 3960) Wilsons Promontory
Warrnambool VIC 3280 Flagstaff Hill
Wynyard TAS 7325 Table Cape

Aireys Inlet, Cann River, Mallacoota and Point Lonsdale are new permanent postmarks available from the 12th March.

The first day of issue postmark and 3 previous lighthouse postmarks. [Photograph: Australia Post & Laurie Sharp]
The first day of issue postmark and 3 previous lighthouse postmarks.
[Photograph: Australia Post & Laurie Sharp]

IALA Commerative Postmark

On the 12 March 2002 The International Association of Marine Aids to Navigation & Lighthouse Authorities (IALA) Conference The IALA Conference will be held in Sydney from 1015 March 2002.

The theme for the conference is "Navigation and the Environment". Australia Post will produce a commemorative postmark (12 March only) and cover. The cover ($3.23 each) will be the Lighthouse issue covers, with four Lighthouse issue stamps and IALA commemorative postmark.

Requests for commemorative covers and private covers to:

Postal Manager
POSTshop
Queen Victoria Building
NSW 1230, or

The Australian Philatelic Bureau (Minimum credit card order $10.00)
Freecall: 1800 331 794
Fax: (03) 9887 0236, or

Reply Paid 4000
Australian Philatelic Bureau
PO Box 4000
FERNTREE GULLY, VIC 3156
(This is a reply paid address, so, no stamp is required when posted from within Australia.)

Mail order code:

1250260 IALA Commemorative cover $3.23
1250265 IALA Commemorative postmark $0.75

Purchasing Within Australia

Australian residents should send their orders directly from the post office concerned. At least a minimum base-rate 45c stamp is required and covers are 75c each, unless otherwise specified.

Anyone with queries should contact their nearest philatelic office:

Sydney (02)9244 1354
Melbourne (03) 9204 7736
Brisbane (07) 3405 1438
Adelaide (08) 8402 6367
Perth (08) 9237 5902
Hobart (03)6236 3543

Purchasing Overseas

Overseas residents can obtain stamps and postmarks from the Australian Philatelic Bureau or at the following overseas agents.

Harry Allen, UK
PO Box 5
Watford WD24 4ZZ
ENGLAND
Tel: (192) 3475 555

The Australian Stamp Agency in North America, USA
1 Unicover Center
Cheyenne, WY 82008-0010
Tel: (1) 800 443 4225
Tel: (307) 771-3000
Fax: (307) 771-3134

Kowloon Philatelic Centre, Hong Kong
Box 74473,
Central Post Office
Kowloon
Hong Kong
Tel: (852) 2384 4079

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.

Please note that Lighthouses of Australia Inc will not obtain any of these stamps, covers or postmarks on behalf of persons within Australia or overseas.

Point Lonsdale 100th Anniversary Date Changed

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

The 100th anniversary celebration for the current Point Lonsdale have been put back 1 week to the 23rd March 2002.

Celebrations will commence at 1pm and conclude at 3pm.

Anyone wanting further information should contact Leanne Stein <leanne.stein@queenscliffe.vic.gov.au>.

Former keepers, and friends and family of former keepers should contact Val Lawrence at <Lawrence@sunet.com.au>>.

Deal Island Superintendent's Residence Museum Inc Established

History of the Superintendents Cottage

The Superintendents Residence* on Deal Island in Bass Strait is one of Tasmania's most intriguing 19th century buildings. Its part of a complex of buildings that make up the Deal Island Lightstation one Australia's most intact lighthouse complexes. Buildings on the site range from this mid 19th century cottage through to a 1930's house and a later 1960s residence as well as various outbuildings. The complex shows the evolution of history of light keeping from 1849 through to 1992 when light was deactivated.

The Superintendents Residence is remarkable because it stopped being used as a house in the 1930's and was not modernized as the building was then used as a store for the majority of the period before the deactivation of the light.

The Deal Island cottages with the lighthouse in the background. [Photograph: David Roberts]
The Deal Island cottages with the lighthouse in the background.
[Photograph: David Roberts]

It is very easy to imagine the life of a 19th century light keeper and their family by visiting the building and you have to admire the incredible resourcefulness of the people who had lived their during this period.

The furnishing has of course long disappeared either because the original occupants took it away or it had simply fallen apart from intensive use. And the building did get well used at a typical keepers family might have had something in the order of seven to eleven children.

However many clues to the lifestyle are a part of the fabric of the building such as the tiny rooms upstairs (scarcely bigger than cubicles where they might able to squeeze in that extra tot), the magazines and newspapers used as wall paper for the bedrooms, the empty gun rack in the top floor corridor, hand made pegs adjacent to doors awaiting that well soaked oil skin.

Magazines and newpapers used as wall paper in an upstairs bedroom of the Superintendents Residence. [Photograph: Christian Bell]
Magazines and newspapers used as wall paper in an upstairs bedroom of the Superintendents Residence.
[Photograph: Christian Bell]

The room devoted to slaughtering of livestock and the curing of meat (still with the big chopping block in place and hooks left in place). There is even a story of one of the keepers who had died while on service on the island whose family preserved his body and kept it in this room to await the next scheduled supply ship for burial of the body off the Island.

Supply vessels were few and infrequent and much had to made of that 19th century virtue of thriftiness. Rather than replacing a whole pane of glass that was broken in a window for example they would simply patch the broken section with an off-cut left over from another job and then mortar in over the top.

So scarce were maintenance materials you simply had to do this and many a head keeper complained to his superiors in Hobart about the conditions, resources and supplies (or lack of them) they had to endure while on the island.

In the 1930's a new house was built for the head keeper and they moved out of the old Superintendents Residence and the keepers and their families started to enjoying a real twentieth century lifestyle in terms of their pay and conditions which steadily improved for the remainder of the century (prior to deactivation in 1992).

The old residence remained a store until the early 1980's when the keepers and their spouses decided to dedicate the two front rooms on the ground floor to the cultural history of the lightstation and the natural history of the Kent Group of Islands (of which Deal is a part) as a museum.

The late Dr. Stephen Murray Smith, historian and member of the nearby Erith Island Mob supplied much of the display material, as did the families of former keepers and the Australian Marine Safety Authority (AMSA).

The museum became a popular spot to visit amongst yachties, fisherman and other visitors to the island and a very successful community initiative (very informally run) and many a visitor to the Kent Group looks forward to signing the visitor's book.

When the keepers were withdrawn in 1992 and the light deactivated financial support for maintenance of the lightstation ceased to be supplied (with the exception of the light tower which was repaired by AMSA after major fire) for much of the decade.

However AMSA did appoint a volunteer caretaker and a presence was maintained on the island until transfer to the Tasmanian Government in 1998.

The Tasmanian Parks and Wildlife Service has managed a volunteer caretaker scheme on Deal since the transfer (though for period the Australian Bush Heritage Fund supplied the caretaker).

Currently the caretakers do three months stints on a rotational basis similar to the arrangements for Maatsuyker Island. However a very large backlog was generated in relation to the maintenance needs of the light station over the 90's and the budget at present available for maintenance is only a tiny fraction of what was being spent by AMSA on the island during its last days a working light.

While the main burden of financial responsibility for looking after the very important cultural heritage assets on the island must continue to reside with the State government much can be done by community groups, the private sector or individuals to help maintain the lightstation.

Restoration of the Cottage

David Reynolds in cap, Simon Sadubin and Suzy Manigian (in background) undertaking repairs to the Residence. They are unloading supplies for the TCT project on Deal Island. [Photograph: Christian Bell]
David Reynolds in cap, Simon Sadubin and Suzy Manigian (in background) undertaking repairs to the Residence. They are unloading supplies for the TCT project on Deal Island.
[Photograph: Christian Bell]

The Tasmanian Conservation Trust obtained two grants from the Commonwealth Government between 1998 and 2002 to undertake repairs to the doors, windows and floors of the Superintendents Residence as well as prepare a number of reports to assist in with the preservation of the building.

Ross Berkman, Suzy Manigian, Michael Staples and Simon Sadubin undertook the repair work. Quentin Reynolds, Brett Kitchener and Trish McKeown also contributed there time and the Cultural Heritage Branch of Department of Primary Industry, Water and the Environment through Richard Hawson and Mike Nash greatly assisted with the management of the project.

The Parks and Wildlife Service also replaced the roof of the cottage and would be fair enough to say that the Superintendents Residence is in much better shape that it has probably been for at least the last 80 years. Certainly it has set the standard with regard to what should be happening with regard to the rest of the light station.

On January 31st a new community association was formed dedicated to the preservation of the Superintendents Residence as an important part of Tasmania's and Australia's maritime heritage. The objects association are to maintain the building in a state of good repair and to manage the museum and its collection in a proactive manner and to produce new displays on the natural and cultural history of the Kent Group as well as undertake new research on behalf of the museum.

* The cottage is called the Superintendents Residence because the original head keepers were the supervisors of convicts (who were the assistant keepers). While the assistants were convicts they were well on the way to freedom because they had been granted "ticket of leave" providing they agreed to go to such a remote place as Deal Island. The assistant keepers lived up in quarters adjacent to the light placed on a high hill on the island (over 300 metres). Deal was very unusual in that the head keeper (in the Superintendents Residence) lived in a house more than two miles from the assistant's keepers (close to the main landing point for vessels visiting the island). There was certainly a class divide on Deal Island.

The restored superintendant's residence on Deal Island. [Photograph: Christian Bell]
The restored superintendent's residence on Deal Island.
[Photograph: Christian Bell]

New Group Forms to Manage Museum

The first General Meeting was held at the Tasmanian Environment Centre on Thursday January 31 2002, at 102 Bathurst St, Hobart. The elected Office holders of the Management Committee are:

  • President: Christian Bell
  • Vice President: Denise Shultz
  • Treasurer: David Reynolds
  • Secretary: Trauti Reynolds

The position of Senior Vice President was left vacant. Also elected to the Management Committee were Ross Berkman, Suzy Manigian and Nathan Males.

It was resolved that the Superintendent's Residence on Deal Island be managed as a museum and that where practical, the artifact present in the building be preserved. Material relevant to the cultural history or natural history of the Kent Group is to be acquired or returned for display within the building, and previous contributors of existing artifact are to be acknowledged. The association will contribute to research being conducted on the natural history and cultural history of the Kent Group.

A key objective for the association is to secure resources for the maintenance of the building and the two adjacent stone annexes, in addition to the Tasmanian Government's obligatory contribution towards the general maintenance and security of the building.

If you would like to know more about the objectives of the museum or would like to become a member please contact:

Christian Bell
Deal Island Superintendents Residence Museum Inc
(03) 6234 3552
TAS@mccn.org.au
102 Bathurst St, Hobart 7000

Memorial to Cape Jaffa Keepers & Seamen

John Nicholson is currently involved in organising a memorial to Seafarers, Fishermen and Lightkeepers that is to be erected at Cape Jaffa in South Australia. It is to be in memory of those from the above groups who were lost in, or were from, the Cape Jaffa or Kingston SE area.

The orignal keepers cottages at Cape Jaffa Lighthouse. [Image: AMSA]
The original keepers cottages at Cape Jaffa Lighthouse
.
[Image: AMSA]

He is also compiling a 64 page A5 size booklet that will tell the stories behind the events to be remembered on this memorial.

John, in discussing the project said:

"I am most grateful to those concerned for the encouragement I have received for this project and for the help and support from the Kingston District Council, the Kingston Professional Fishermen’s Association and the South Australian Government through the History Trust of South Australia's 2001 Community History Fund."

The scope for the lightkeepers has been widened to take in lightkeepers or members of their families who died of any cause while stationed at the Cape Jaffa Lighthouse.

The platform with the Cape Jaffa Lighthouse still in place. [Image: Chris Browne]
The platform with the Cape Jaffa Lighthouse still in place
.
[Image: Chris Browne]

At this stage John has 37 names to go on the three plaques.

Further, John said:

"If any one knows of a lightkeeper or a member of a lightkeeper's family who died while at the Cape Jaffa lighthouse and they are not in the following list I would appreciate it if they could contact me."

  • William Henry Taylor, accidentally shot
  • Tamar Gardner, died on lighthouse
  • Otto Frank, died at Kingston
  • Robert Thomas Young Clark, died at Naracoorte hospital,
  • Edwin Blavins and Alfred Ashcroft, drowned near lighthouse.

Any interested persons or relatives of those who's names will be on the memorial are most welcome to attend the unveiling which at this point in time, is planned for Monday April 15.

The booklet will be available for purchase at this time also.

For anyone interested the sailors who are to be remembered are from;

  • The schooner Victoria, lost 9 June 1846 (2 men)
  • The schooner Agnes, lost 13 March 1865, (5 men)
  • The Steam Tug Nyora, lost 9 July 1917 (14 men).

Ten fishermen's names will also be on the memorial one of whom was Henry Dowdy who died off Cape Jaffa in 1938..

Of the 33 men lost at sea only 7 bodies were recovered.

John Nicholson can be contacted at <amandus@bigpond.com> or (08) 8733 4970.

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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1997, 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001 Lighthouse Computer Training & Development
2002 Lighthouses of Australia Inc.
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