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Lighthouses of Australia Project - JANUARY 00 BULLETIN

Dear Friends

Quiet month for Project

Sorry folks, too much Christmas cheer, too much Y2king.

I will try and do 4 or 5 lighthouses this month, I promise. I promise. I pro...

Outstanding effort by Ian Clifford

I would like to note the outstanding effort that Ian Clifford has made towards this Project.

Ian Clifford has provided many of the photographs used in the Project. [Photograph: Ed Kavaliunas]
Ian Clifford has provided many of the photographs used in the Project.
[Photograph: Richard Jermyn]

He has provided many photos and info about lighthouses on the New South Wales south coast and a few in Western Australia. Now he has started to take on the north coast of New South Wales. See his report and photos on Point Stephens and Sugarloaf Point below. He has another report and photos coming on South and North Solitary islands in February.

Calling Queensland, Western Australia and the Northern Territory

As you aware, all the work on this Project has been as a result of the goodwill of those involved.

Many people have made huge contributions out of their own time and expense and it has all helped to make this project the success it is and the credit belongs to all of them.

But with only 12 months of the construction phase to go we are still battling to get a fair representation of lighthouses from Queensland, Western Australia and the Northern Territory.

We really need people from those states who can get out there and get the pictures, the histories and anecdotes, even if it's just your own local lighthouse.

This is an Australia wide project, not an 'Eastern States' project as some in the West have felt inclined to indicate. It belongs to everybody, every state that contributes.


Notice Board:

Letter from Jayne Hindle

Dear Malcolm,

I've just received the December bulletin and wanted to pass on my congratulations to yourself, Deborah and Ed on an excellent report on your Point Perpendicular Expedition. It certainly brought back a lot of childhood memories for me - having spent many of my earlier years at Point Perp, Montague and Green Cape. Dad was one of the last keepers at all three of these stations and my Grandfather spent considerable time at many of them, particularly Montague, as well.

Montague Island when we were there from 1977-1980 [Photograph Courtesy: Jayne Hindle]
Montague Island when we were there from 1977-1980
[Photograph Courtesy: Jayne Hindle]

Jayne, her sister Mellissa with her lighthouse keeper parents at Montague Island, 1977-1980 [Photograph Courtesy: Jayne Hindle]
Jayne,her sister Mellissa with her lighthouse keeper parents at Montague Island, 1977-1980
[Photograph Courtesy: Jayne Hindle]

My husband and I did a similar trip in January of this year in an attempt to pass on to him some of the feelings of growing up on lighthouses - but I'll certainly be passing on your bulletin for him to read - to gain another perspective too.

Jayne's first day of school, Mellissa ready for pre-school, January, 1981, Pt Perpendicular [Photograph Courtesy: Jayne Hindle]
Jayne's first day of school, Mellissa ready for pre-school, January, 1981, Pt Perpendicular.
[Photograph Courtesy: Jayne Hindle]

Jayne and Mellissa back at Montague Island during automation, 1986-1987 [Photograph Courtesy: Jayne Hindle]
Jayne and Mellissa back at Montague Island during automation, 1986-1987.
[Photograph Courtesy: Jayne Hindle]

So - thanks again and keep up the brilliant work. I love receiving the bulletins - it takes me back to a totally different way of life that I really miss! Now that I'm not a teenager I realise what a special and privileged childhood I had, and I think it's great that you have so much respect and commitment for lighthouses and all their history.

Well Done!

Jayne Hindle (nee Munday) <john_hindle@bigpond.com.au>.


Talk on Point Gellibrand's Lighthouses by Cliff Gibson

Cliff Gibson, well known Williamstown (in Melbourne) resident, will be giving a talk on Point Gellibrand's Lighthouses, both the Time Ball Tower/Lighthouse and the Gellibrand Pile Light, to The Shiplovers Society.

The Williamstown Timeball Tower and former lighthouse [Photograph: Brian Lord]
The Williamstown Timeball Tower and former lighthouse.
[Photograph: Brian Lord]

The Gellibrand Pile Light during the fire which destroyed it [Photograph: The Haven Gallery]
The Gellibrand Pile Light during the fire which destroyed it.
[Photograph: The Haven Gallery]

Cliff's presentation will include a precise scale model of the Gellibrand Pile Light and some video footage of the Tasman Trader after it had collided with the light showing the scratch marks.

He will also be presenting a silhouette model as well.

The venue is:

The Meeting Room
Polly Woodside Museum
Melbourne
Wednesday Feb 9th at 8pm

There is plenty of parking.

Entry is free and visitors are welcome

For further enquiries contact the secretary of The Shiplovers Society, Ken Shewan, on 61 (0)3 9645 1338

The Shiplovers Society has a Web site at <www.seastories.au.com>

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>


Point Stephens and Sugarloaf Point Trip Report:

by Ian Clifford <icliffo@tpgi.com.au>

October 1999

As I headed north crawling my way through the Sydney traffic I tried to imagine what I would find, actually how I would find Point Stephens is closer to the truth. As usual my excuse being not enough time to work out the fine details like what the tide would be around the time I planned to visit and exactly how to get to the station. Minor detail only. After a short drive around Nelson Bay, this being my first visit to the area, a quick peek from the beach adjoining Tomaree Head revealed the Port Stephens Lighthouse about 4 kilometres to the South.

The narrow spit joining Point Stephens can even be covered at low tide [Photograph: Ian Clifford]
The narrow spit joining Point Stephens can even be covered at low tide.
[Photograph: Ian Clifford]

The lighthouse is located on Point Stephens which if it was not for the adjoining sand spit which has not always been there and is covered by water even at low tide would be an island.

I decided to park at the Fingal Bay Surf Club and walk north along the beach. A quick phone call revealed the tide rising with high about 4 hours away around 6pm. Putting it mildly less than ideal. Arriving at the sand spit well awash by the rising tide I contemplated my opportunities. A reasonably good day for photos, no problems crossing over now, the water IS only chest high, probably won't get an opportunity again till who knows when to visit the station and anyway I am a very good swimmer so it's not life threatening. Worst case leave the camera gear in the lighthouse and pick it up tomorrow or at low tide tonight, electronic car key is a bit of a problem but I will worry about that later.

Cottage ruins amongst a paradise viewed from the lighthouse balcony [Photograph: Ian Clifford]
Cottage ruins amongst a paradise viewed from the lighthouse balcony.
[Photograph: Ian Clifford]

The lighthouse precinct is located near the south-eastern point of the island about 2 kilometers from the beach adjoining the sand spit. Yes definitely an island! The views from the island are spectacular, a truly beautiful place. Parts of the old telegraph line established in 1880 are still evident along the track. It seems forever before I exit the Bitou bush and the lighthouse and ruins of the cottages come into view. As I approach the station the almost complete devastation of the cottages becomes apparent in stark contrast to the lighthouse tower which had major maintenance work undertaken in 1998.

Vandals set fire to the cottages soon after residency ceased in 1991 [Photograph: Ian Clifford]
Vandals set fire to the cottages soon after residency ceased in 1991.
[Photograph: Ian Clifford]

Officially opened on the first of May 1862 the lighthouse is constructed of stone sixty feet high to the centre of the lantern. Designed by Alexander Dawson, its sweeping base and external stair are a sophisticated and unusual feature normally associated with English lighthouses.

The original apparatus was a 10ft diameter catoptric design manufactured by H Wilkins & Co consisting of twelve metallic parabolic reflectors, two groups white, and two groups' red. The character being alternate red or white flashes every minute.

The tower is in excelent condition having been renovated in 1998 [Photograph: Ian Clifford]
The tower is in excellent condition having been renovated in 1998.
[Photograph: Ian Clifford]

The apparatus has been replaced a number of times most recently in 1990 when conversion to solar became necessary after the failure of the under sea mains cable in 1989.

Keepers were withdrawn in 1973 following automation. The original lantern room was replaced with the fibreglass room now in place. The cottages were taken over by the National Trust at this time with a caretaker living on the station. Following the failure of mains to the station in 1989 and difficulties with lease arrangements residency ceased in March 1991. It only took till September for vandals to destroy the cottages by fire. I cannot understand how so called management professionals let things like this happen. This is part of our National Heritage and deserves much better!

Operation of the light is now managed by New South Wales Waterways with responsibility for the tower and cottages the responsibility of the New South Wales National Parks and Wildlife Service.

The Point Stephens cottages are a rare example of a combined terrace of three keepers quarters. Built in Victorian Gothic style, with Head keeper and two Assistant's residences under one roof. NPWS has examined a number of options for repair and restoration of the cottages. Walking around the site I can't help but think they better make their mind up quickly while there is something left to start from as every day sees further deterioration in the remaining structures.

There must be better ways of preserving our Ntaional Heritage? [Photograph: Ian Clifford]
There must be better ways of preserving our National Heritage?
[Photograph: Ian Clifford]

To feel rather than visit a station takes time, time to remember the people before as they traipsed the stairs to keep their watch, to remember the ships that passed, the storms that blew, the looms in the night as nothing but time passed.

But now I must face the spit. I guess I have been on the island around two hours and as I return to the beach I realise that a swim or a long wait are my two options. My camera bag says "water resistant" my GSM phone MK2, the previous unit only been retrieved from Kiama Harbour using scuba gear, definitely not. With my phone and electronic car key in my camera bag I step out or rather in. All goes well except the middle bit where breathing takes priority over saving my gear and I am forced to float my camera bag. As I exit the water back on the Fingal Bay side and calmly remark to some people taking in my spectacle" nice day for a dip." As I examine my gear a little way down the beach so as not to let on my anxiety I can't believe my luck, damp in the bottom but no damage.

Damaged equipment would have made put my plans of photographing Sugarloaf Point and meeting Mark Sheriff tomorrow in jeopardy. I return to the surf club for a shower and head off to Forster for the night.

Once leaving the Pacific Highway north of Bulahdelah the drive to Forster takes in some beautiful coastal and lake scenery and as I drive past the turn to Seal Rocks, and the lighthouse, the temptation to take a quick look is almost overwhelming. I continue to Forster arriving just as dusk settles.

The new day arrives punctuated with heavy showers, rain seems to plague my lighthouse visits. Breakfast downed a quick visit to Hat Head and it's off to Sugarloaf Point.

As I drive along I ponder Mark Sheriff's comment to me when I rang and arranged to meet him. "You will really like Sugarloaf, its one of most beautiful stations on the coast." Mark is in a position to know he has visited and worked at many light stations and is the current caretaker at Sugarloaf Point for the Dept of Land and Water Conservation who are now the custodians of the station. Before coming to Sugarloaf he was at Green Cape where much of Marks work can still be seen, and Point Perpendicular during the controversial change of operation to the 'Tupperware' tower.

As I drive through the village of Seal Rocks the weather has improved, I am amazed at all the old tractors standing around. Seal Rocks has no boat ramp so boats are launched off the beach, a job which old tractors are inherently suited to with their traction and pulling capabilities. I suggest Seal Rocks is worth a visit if you are interested in tractors or lighthouses. The drive from Seal Rocks along the private road to the lighthouse is spectacular, arriving at the station you get the feeling of a well maintained manned station as these main stations were for so many years.

Sugarloaf Point is certainly one of the most beautiful lightstation on the coast [Photograph: Ian Clifford]
Sugarloaf Point is certainly one of the most beautiful lightstations on the coast.
[Photograph: Ian Clifford]

Mark was apt in his description, as I get out of the car I take a deep breath and spend a few moments to look around before knocking on the headkeeper's cottage door. Looking around, Mark's work is very evident, the station has a well maintained comfortable atmosphere and is immaculately maintained. Not an easy task is the harsh coastal environment.

Mark Sheriff standing on the verandah of his keeper's cottage [Photograph: Ian Clifford]
Mark Sheriff standing on the verandah of his keeper's cottage.
[Photograph: Ian Clifford]

Meeting someone who shares interest and enthusiasm in lighthouses is always a privilege, walking through the cottages reveals Mark's fine work and many excellent photos from his travels.

Sugarloaf Point was the first major light designed by James Barnet [Photograph: Ian Clifford]
Sugarloaf Point was the first major light designed by James Barnet.
[Photograph: Ian Clifford]

Sugarloaf Point Lighthouse was designed by James Barnett and carries many of his hallmarks, including the magnificent gunmetal railing. Its external staircase makes Sugarloaf unique. Due to its height above sea level a short tower of only 15 metres was required. A massive Chance Bros. 16 panel first order lens on a bearing pedestal provides a flash of 780,000 candelas every 7.5 sec. A small auxiliary light provides a fixed red over Seal Rocks. The light was first lit on the 1st of December 1875.

The huge first order lens provides 780,000 candelas and is still in use [Photograph: Ian Clifford]
The huge first order lens provides 780,000 candelas and is still in use.
[Photograph: Ian Clifford]

Marks description of the station over the phone still sticks in my mind and I can say that it's truly a magnificent light station.

As I sat on the cottage verandah and had tea and Mark's home made cake discussing life and lighthouses I could think of no other place as relaxing and reflective. A true privilege. Sadly with my photography complete it was time to wrench myself into the world of hustle, bustle, traffic and mobile phones.

The view from Sugarloaf Point justifies the trip [Photograph: Ian Clifford]
The view from Sugarloaf Point justifies the trip.
[Photograph: Ian Clifford]

Thanks to Mark Sheriff for allowing me the privilege of visiting Sugarloaf Point and for the warm hospitality you extended to me.

Ian Clifford <icliffo@tpgi.com.au> has provided many of the photographs that have been used in the Project [Photograph: Richard Jermyn]
Ian Clifford <icliffo@tpgi.com.au>.
[Photograph: Richard Jermyn]

Ian presents another report in the February Bulletin on his recent trip to the South Solitary and North Solitary Islands.


Australian News:

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.


New Links for World:

The Rose Blanche Lighthouse
The Rose Blanche Lighthouse
The Pacific Northwest Lighthouse Gallery by Debra Teachout-Teashon
The Pacific Northwest Lighthouse Gallery by Debra Teachout-Teashon
Bob & Sandra Shanklin's The Lighthouse People
Bob & Sandra Shanklin's The Lighthouse People
Dan's Lighthouse Page
Dan's Lighthouse Page
Alexandroupolis The Lighthouse
Alexandropolis The Lighthouse
Dennis O'Hara's Focus on Duluth-Superior Lighthouses
Dennis O'Hara's Focus on Duluth-Superior Lighthouses
The Lighthouses Of Nova Scotia, NSLPS, Canada
The Lighthouses Of Nova Scotia, NSLPS, Canada
The Southeast Shore Tour 95 Lighthouses
The Southeast Shore Tour 95 Lighthouses
 

Thanks:

Thanks to the following people for their help in December:

Photographs & Contributions:

Thanks to all the people who have put links to the site. Thanks to those who let me use their photos for thumbnails.

Regards Malcolm Macdonald


Past Bulletins:

Past Monthly News, Preservation or Access Bulletins can be accessed from the "Bulletins Index" at <http://www.lighthouses.org.au/lights/Issues/Index%20Issues.htm>

To Get Your Monthly Bulletin Free: <http://www.lighthouses.org.au/lights/default3.htm#Subscribe>


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