Lighthouses of Australia Project - FEBRUARY 00 BULLETIN
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Notice Board and Mail
Ian Clifford's Northern Rivers Trip
Memories of Lighthouse Life - Beryl Royal
South Australian Expedition Itinerary

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Dear Friends

South Australian trip is going ahead

Well folks, that South Australian trip we threatened to take before Christmas, but didn't come together, is back on.

The Troubridge Island Lighthouse The Cape Jervis Lighthouse at Lands End Marino Rocks Cape Spencer Lighthouse
Marino Rocks
Cape Spencer

We head off on the 25th of Match and return on the 2nd April. As well as visiting 11 lighthouses we hope to catch up with some of our contacts over there.

Several people have offered us help, given us contacts or have requested to meet us while we are in South Australia. If anyone is thinking about this please contact me in the next few days so I can have all the arrangements made and finalise the itinery.

South Neptune Lighthouse Relocated to Port Adelaide Troubridge Hill Lighthouse Tipara Reef Lighthouse West Cape Lighthouse
Port Adelaide
Troubridge Hill
Tipara Reef
West Cape

The itinerary is posted below and a press release will be posted on the site in the next few days at <SA Press Release.htm>.

The Wonga Shoal Lighthouse The Corny Point Lighthouse The Point Malcolm Lighthouse
Wonga Shoal
Corny Point
Point Malcolm

South Australian Itinerary

We are very close to a final itinerary for South Australia. The dates are 25th March to 2nd April 2000.

Day 1 (Saturday, 25 March 2000)
Geelong to Penola

Penola

Day 2 (Sunday, 26 March 2000)
Penola to South of Adelaide

Point Malcolm
Cape Jervis
Marino Rocks
South of Adelaide

Day 3 (Monday, 27 March 2000)
South of Adelaide to Adelaide

Port Adelaide Lighthouse
Wonga Shoal
Contacts
Around Adelaide
AMSA Depot Largs Bay
West Beach

Day 4 (Tuesday, 28 March 2000)
Adelaide to Edithburgh

Edithburgh
Contacts
Troubridge Island Lighthouse

Day 5 (Wednesday, 29 March 2000)
Edithburgh to Point Turton

Troubridge Hill Lighthouse
Cape Spencer Lighthouse
West Cape
Corny Point Lightstation
Contacts
Point Turton

Day 6 (Thursday, 30 March 2000)
Pt Turton To Burra

Warooka
Moonta Mines
Contacts
Moonta
Clare Valley
Burra

Day 7 (Friday, 31 March 2000)
Barossa to Adelaide

Whispering Wall
Barossa Valley
AMSA Largs Bay
Contacts
Around Adelaide
West Beach/Hills

Day 8 (Saturday, 01 April 2000)
Adelaide to Naracoorte

Caves
Bool Lagoon
Naracoorte

Day 9 (Sunday, 02 April 2000)
Naracoorte to Geelong

Geelong

Everyone else is off to Kangaroo Island, South Australia

South Australia is definitely the 'in' destination this month as 2 other groups of supporters heading over there this month.

Grant and Tracey Maizels of Grant of Tracey's Lighthouse Pages who also contribute material to this project are heading for Kangaroo Island from the 5th to the 10th March and will be visiting the Cape Willoughby, Cape du Couedic and Cape Borda Lighthouses as well as some minor beacons.

Cyril and Roger Curtain of the Australian Lighthouse Association are also visiting Kangaroo Island and it's lighthouses. They will be there from the 12th to 28th March.

The Cape Willoughy Lighthouse The Cape du Couedic Lighthouse The Cape Borda Lighthouse
Cape du Couedic

We wish both groups the best in their travels and look forward to some photos and a report from each of them.

Meeting Cliff Gibson, master of the history of the Gellibrand Lights

During February Deborah, Ed and myself had the priviledge of meeting with Cliff Gibson.

Cliff is renown through out maritime circles and his beloved Williamstown (and the two groups are not very far apart) as the local authority on the maritime history of early Williamstown and Melbourne.

Cliff Gibson with his model of the Point Gellibrand Pile Light. [Photograph: Ed Kavaliunas]
Cliff Gibson with his model of the Point Gellibrand Pile Light.
[Photograph: Ed Kavaliunas]

He had been referred to us by Cyril Curtain of the Australian Lighthouse Association when we enquiring about the Williamstown Lighthouse on Point Gellibrand and the Point Gelibrand Pile Light.

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

He was of a great help with the history and photos of these lights that we had come to find out about and this will certainly lead to pages being established for the coming months.

The hilight of the visit though was his model of the Point Gelibrand Pile Light that had taken him 600 hours to assemble in intricate detail.

The detail was painstaking right down to the length of the piles and a base showing the anchoring into the sea bed. Even the beveling on the verandah posts was correct in detail.

And, of course the model's light emits its beacon in the correct sequence representing the actual character of the light.


Notice Board and Mail:

Living with the ghost of Pine Islet

Hi Malcolm,

Was just checking out the new additions to your page and was reading
about the ghost on Pine Islet. Pine Islet was the first lighthouse we lived on and we had many encounters with this ghost over the 2 years we lived there.

Back of the house which was built over the origianl grave site. [Photograph: Peter Braid]

The photo enclosed showing the back of the second house (which is where we lived) is where the original grave site was moved from. There was one room in particular in the house that she seemed to prefer and we were led to beleive that it was over the top of her original grave site.

Peter Braid and his sister inspecting the relocated grave site  in 1974 [Photograph: Peter Braid]

Not long after they moved her grave shown in the second picture (with myself and my eldest sister in 1974) the marble slab covering the grave cracked from one end to the other and not long after that she made her first appearence. I am not quiet sure of her name but I think it was Mary. I will check with my mother the next time I am talking to her
and let you know. There are supposedly ghosts on quiet a few of the Queensland lights but we only had encounters with them on Pine and Booby Island. I will fill you in on the one at Booby at a later stage.

The tram track that was used to haul stores up to the houses and light [Photograph: Peter Braid]

The crane used to haul the stores on to the island. {Photograph: Peter Braid]

The other two photos enclosed show the trolley track used to take the stores from the boat harbour to the houses and the light and the crane used to haul the stores and the boats out of the water (this is where I slipped and broke my arm and had to be taken into Mackay)

Will sign off for now.

Regds
Peter Braid.

Hi Malcolm,

We lived in the " haunted house" on Pine Islet and every night my mother would close the doors of the cupboards throughout the house and in the morning, they would all be open again. I'm not sure who started it, but they were known as coffin cupboards! Thank you for a great site and for the massive effort you put into preserving and promoting Australian Lighthouses.

Regards
Sharon Fielden (nee Braid)

Bass Strait Forum 2000

The Marine & Coastal Community Network's
Bass Strait Forum 2000
Your Chance to Network

The superintendents cottage on Deal Island [Sketch Courtesy: Christian Bell]

Launceston, Tasmania

30-11-2000 - 2-12-2000

Call for Papers
For the first time people of many different backgrounds have the opportunity to come together and discuss the future of Bass Strait and its islands.

The Forum is intended to be a celebration of the rich cultural history and natural values of the Bass Strait region.

It is a chance for communities to discuss the planning and management possibilities of the region, and share in an understanding of the Strait's cultural and biological significance. There will be much to explore.

Forum Objectives:

The Forum will be a multi-disciplinary event. By providing networking opportunities, it will:

· Facilitate improved planning of the marine environment.

· Assist with land use planning in the region.

· Provide a forum for the exchange of ideas and information.

· Celebrate the region's rich cultural history.

The Forum is organised around three themes:

Cultural Values:
History, myths and legends/usage/links with the Strait, our place in the landscape, current relationships and interests.

Scientific Values:
Issues concerning both the marine and terrestrial environments of Bass Strait, which include both the southern Victorian coastline and the northern Tasmanian coastline, and their islands

Issues addressing any of the plethora of species that live in the region, notions of sustainability, endangered species and general ecological well being of both the Strait and the Islands.

Issues that serve to address any commercial, recreational, residential or industrial damage to the ecology of the region.

Planning/Management:
Issues regarding the wellbeing of current island communities, conservation and sustainable management of the environment, monitoring, 'ownership' and land/ sea use. Victorian, Tasmanian and Commonwealth regulations regarding pollution, tourism, commercial/ recreational fishing, oil and gas, reserve planning, wildlife management etc.

Papers and Visual Displays (which include Poster Papers)
are invited on the three themes (Cultural/ Scientific /Planning & Management
)

Papers:
A 20 minutes presentation including 5 minutes for discussion/questions.

Visual Display/Seminar Sessions:
Material to be presented as a visual display (which includes poster papers) with the author available to respond to questions.

Intending contributors must submit a proposal including the following.

Cover page:
A cover page should include the following information:
· Name of principal contributor and/or presenting contributor(s)
· Postal address, phone, fax and e-mail of principal author
· Position and place of employment or study (if applicable)

Category of presentation (paper, visual display)
Cultural, scientific or management.

Title of presentation

Abstract:
Please use a separate page for the abstract of no more than 350 words in length. It should include the following:

Content:
Provide a summary of the material to be presented.
Objective:
The purpose of the presentation.
Presentation:
Describe the mode of presentation (group discussion, lecture) and any requirements for the presentation (e.g. video, OHP, Power Point).
Importance:
Explain why the presentation is important.
Theme:
Indicate into which theme your paper fits.

Selection Process:
The Forum committee will review papers. Acceptance will be based on proposal content, the time available and the need for balanced program content.

Deadlines:
Abstracts will be accepted until Friday, May 5, 2000
Notification of acceptance by Friday, May 19, 2000

Apart from supplying a hard copy of the abstract please also supply disk copy on IBM format if possible.

To register your paper or for further information contact:

In Tasmania:
Christian Bell or Samira Heale
Marine & Coastal Community Network
GPO Box 567 Hobart 7001
Tasmania, Australia
Ph. (03) 62 343 665, Fax. 62 312 491
E-mail mccntas@ozemail.com.au

For additional information contact:

In Victoria:
Tim Allen
Marine & Coastal Community Network
10 Parliament Place,
East Melbourne, Vic 3002, Australia
Ph (03) 96504846, Fax 92475945
E-mail mccnvic@ozemail.com.au
Web Site: www.ozemail.com.au/~mccnet

Workshops:
The Open Space technique will be used for the workshops scheduled for the concluding day. The theme for the workshops will be 'Integrated Management for Bass Strait - Issues and Opportunities'.

With Open Space topics for discussion at workshops can only be made in person on the day. This allows for a very flexible and interactive process and is designed to allow for maximum participation

Participation:
The Forum seeks the input of professionals, enthusiasts, managers, the community and industry, academics and artists. We will not produce expensive conference packs or advertising material and all the money goes into the Forum itself.

The Marine & Coastal Community Network (MCCN)
The Marine and Coastal Community Network (MCCN) works to increase understanding, appreciation, protection and management of marine and coastal environments. It provides information and opinion from a variety of sources and initiates and supports community involvement to conserve life in the sea.

The Venue:
The Tramsheds Theatre & Function Centre is part of the former Inveresk Rail Yards - a cultural redevelopment of a former industrial site.

The Centre largely consists of renovated and recycled rail buildings used by Tas Rail for the Launceston Tramway system from 1911 to approximately 1932. The Rail Yards also house annexes of the Queen Victoria Museum & Art Gallery including section dealing with the conservation of cultural artifacts.

The Tramsheds are located only a short distance from the CBD of Launceston and is within easy access of city facilities.

The International Lighthouse Conference

The South Shore Tourism Association invites you to attend:

The International Lighthouse Conference

from May 29 to June 2, 2000

at White Point Beach Resort.

The SSTA is proud to host this first international lighthouse conference held in Canada. The conference will take place on Nova Scotia's beautiful South Shore, also known as The Lighthouse Route and one of Canada's premiere tourist destinations.

More details: http://www.ssta.com/lighthouse/index.html

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>


Northern Rivers of New South Wales Trip:

Last Month: South & North Solitary Islands Trip Report

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

With our holidays taking us to yet another junior surf carnival, this time at Coffs Harbour, I could not let the opportunity pass to visit some of the smaller lights on the NSW North Coast. On my list to photograph and document were the current operation and conditions at: Crowdy Head, Tacking Point, Clarence River, Richmond River and Fingal Head. A visit to the North Coast automatically includes a visit to Byron Bay lighthouse and of course a visit to my relatives who are always a rich source of local history having lived all their lives in the Byron Bay area.

The Clarence River Lighthouse at Yamba. [Photograph: Ian Clifford]
The Clarence River Lighthouse at Yamba.
[Photograph: Ian Clifford]

The first visit was to Clarence River at Yamba where we found Allan Whyte and Warren Borer from AMSA on a maintenance visit. The present tower - built in 1955 replaces the original tower which was similar in design to Richmond River. The view from the balcony across the river break walls and beaches all the more stunning on such a superb day.

The Richmond River Lighthouse at Ballina. [Photograph: Ian Clifford]
The Richmond River Lighthouse at Ballina.
[Photograph: Ian Clifford]

We head North to Ballina and Richmond River lighthouse, which is now operated by New South Wales Waterways. Although the tower is in need of some maintenance I am pleased to see it is still operating with it’s original Chance Bros. lens. The other lights visited, (except for Cape Byron of course), now have modern plastic FA251 12Volt beacons fitted, replacing their Chance Bros. lenses all remain mains powered with battery backup.

The Richmond River Lighthouse still has its original Chance Bros. lens. [Photograph: Ian Clifford]
The Richmond River Lighthouse still has its original Chance Bros. lens.
[Photograph: Ian Clifford]

Interestingly, Cape Byron has also had it’s diesel backup removed and a battery inverter system installed.

The Cape Byron Lighthouse at Byron Bay. [Photograph: Ian Clifford]
The Cape Byron Lighthouse at Byron Bay.
[Photograph: Ian Clifford]

The Fingal Head Lighthouse near the Queensland Border. [Photograph: Ian Clifford]
The Fingal Head Lighthouse near the Queensland Border.
[Photograph: Ian Clifford]

The next visit was to Fingal Head. The tower here is identical to that of Richmond River. Our visit coincided with the hottest summer day for years. The walk from the car park to the lighthouse was undertaken in the hottest part of the day and despite a sign which read "Warning Brown Snakes".

The Tacking Point Lighthouse south of Port Macquarie. [Photograph: Ian Clifford]
The Tacking Point Lighthouse south of Port Macquarie.
[Photograph: Ian Clifford]

The Crowdy Head Lighthouse east of Taree. [Photograph: Ian Clifford]
The Crowdy Head Lighthouse east of Taree.
[Photograph: Ian Clifford]

The following week we visited Tacking Point and then Crowdy Head. Both towers are ascended through spiral staircases rather than the vertical steel ladders used at Fingal Head and Richmond River. The remains of the footings from the lighthouse keepers cottages are a reminder of the manned presence up until conversion to Acetylene in the early 1920’s, these are still evident beside the towers at Tacking Point and Crowdy Head. The remains of the adjoining oil store cement slabs are still in place at Richmond River and Fingal Head. If the cottage and oil stores were still in place the four stations would look almost identical. They were all designed by James Barnett and remain adorned by identical 6ft Chance Bros lanternhouses.

The five stations are all located in magnificent coastal settings and are easy to access from the Pacific Highway.

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]


Memories of Lighthouse Life:

[Beryl Royal <dunroy@ozemail.com.au>]

My father, Jim Duncan, began his lightkeeping career in 1925, at Norah Head, as a relieving keeper, expecting to be in the job for only a month or two. Thirty years later, in 1955, he retired at the age of 65, having in those years served as an assistant keeper at 3 lightstations and as headkeeper at 6 stations.

In those years, there were 10 manned lighthouses on the NSW coast.

Mr Jim (Mick) Duncan inside lens. (South Solitary 1946). [Photograph Courtesy: Beryl Royal]
Mr Jim (Mick) Duncan inside lens. (South Solitary 1946).
[Photograph Courtesy: Beryl Royal]

To me as a child and to my sister and three brothers, life at lighthouse stations was wonderful, and we really didn't worry any more about isolation than children would have on an outback property; perhaps being part of a big family helped. At some stations, we were taken to school daily by a contractor to the nearest school, but at Green Cape, where we spent 5 years, our mother supervised correspondence school. The nearest town, Eden, was about 40 miles away.

When the launch came so did the papers and the mail (South Solitary 1946). [Photograph: The Australian Women's Weekly]
When the launch came so did the papers and the mail (South Solitary 1946).
L-R: Mr Val Gordon, Mr Jim Duncan (author's father), Mrs Duncan (author's mother), Mr Tom McKinnon, Tom Duncan (author's brother)
[Photograph: The Australian Women's Weekly]

Mum was very strict about proper school hours and only after school hours could we go off and play or go fishing. Our standard of learning was obviously of a high standard because when we moved the next time and went to an ordinary school, we were all put up into the next class.

Green Cape. [Photograph: 4c's Enterprises]
Green Cape.
[Photograph: 4c's Enterprises]

At Green Cape our food supplies mail etc came only once a fortnight, so mail days were very exciting. The lighthouse department paid freight for bulk supplies to be freighted from McIlraths in Sydney every three months. Opening all those boxes and stacking the goods on the shelves of our huge 14'x14' pantry was a family affair; it was a wonder my poor mother every found anything again!

As there was no means of keeping food fresh, other than the Coolgardie safe, we ate a lot of corned meat and canned meats, this was usually in bad weather when no fishing was possible. At other times we ate plenty of fish, abalone, rabbits, parrots and the occasional wallaby. Black swans and duck taste good, too, although, of course, swans are now protected. We always kept chooks, so had fresh eggs and at Christmas and Easter, a chook or two was killed for the pot.

Using the cart to haul supplies from the jetty up to the houses. (South Solitary, 1946) [Photograph Courtesy: Beryl Royal]
Using the cart to haul supplies from the jetty up to the houses. (South Solitary, 1946)
L-R: Mr Jim Duncan, Mr Val Gordon & Mr Tom McKinnon
Photograph Courtesy: Beryl Royal]

Mail order catalogues were sources of wonder and any clothing that Mum couldn't make was ordered from them. Radio was very important to us and the children in our family all listened to the ABC Children's Hour and we belonged to the Argonauts Club. I still have my badge and membership card. This club was a wonderful encouragement to us to write and draw and my sister's development as a well known artist in her adopted home of Canada, could well be due to that early inspiration.

Most families had a pet or two, we usually had a cat or a dog, sometimes both and at Green Cape for a time we had two young pet wallabies.

Most stations had three families, housing was supplied. The headkeeper and his two assistants shared the night watches in the lighthouse with the headkeeper always taking the first shift from sundown, when the light had to be operational, until 10pm. The other two shifts, from 10pm to 2am, and 2am till sunrise, when the light was extinguished, were manned on an alternating basis by the assistant keepers. Each week-day, from 9am till noon, general maintenance work on the station was done by all three men. Probably the most important maintenance work was cleaning the glass in the light tower, including the giant prisms which concentrate the light beams and cause them to be visible many miles out to sea. The headkeeper had also the duty of keeping all the paperwork up-to-date and supervising all aspects of work on the station, including logging of all passing shipping and weather reports.

Beryl and brother Tom on the lighthouse balcony. Note the wall to protect keepers waliking up to the lighthouse from the high winds. [Photograph Courtesy: Beryl Royal]
Beryl and brother Tom on the lighthouse balcony. Note the wall to protect keepers waliking up to the lighthouse from the high winds.
[Photograph Courtesy: Beryl Royal]

Relics of shipwrecks are fairly common along the coast and at Green Cape there was evidence of three well documented wrecks, the 'City of Sydney', the 'New Guinea', a passenger ship and a freighter respectively and the 'Ly-ee-moon', another passenger ship. In the first two wrecks there was no 1oss of life, in fact, the rumours said that the 'New Guinea' was an insurance job, as she was wedged firmly stern first in a narrow cliff gutter.

The 'Ly-ee-moon' was a different story. It was the 30th May 1886 and the ship was bound from Melbourne to Sydney on a calm moonlit night. The Ship was off-course and at full steam struck the rocks below the lighthouse. With the help of a lighthouse keeper, 15 people in the bow section, which had broken away, were rescued, but 71 persons in the aft section were lost. Later, 24 bodies were recovered and buried at Green Cape. The master of the ship and an officer were charged and tried for manslaughter but were acquitted. At a marine court of inquiry, however, the master was found guilty of gross negligence and lost his certificate.

A postscript to that story is the tale of the pine trees that were sent by relatives of those lost in the wreck to be planted at the little cemetery at Green Cape. The fisherman taking them in his boat from Eden to the Cape, ran into foul weather and had to take shelter in Wonboyn Lake. After a few days, with the gale still raging and running short of food, he decided to leave his boat at the Lake and walk overland to Eden. Before leaving, he planted the trees on a hillside so they wouldn't die in the meantime. They were never removed and when I saw them last, were magnificent.

Lighthouse families were moved every three to five years, so as to share the isolated and not so isolated stations. I well remember one bride who came to Green Cape, a fairly isolated place, after never being out of the inner-city suburb where she had been born. She and her new husband, who had used his month's leave to both get married and have his appendix removed, arrived at the lighthouse with him having told her some very tall stories about life there. One tale was that the light was powered by a wood fire and that all the wood had to be carried up the very tall light tower; as he was still recovering from his operation, she arrived at her new home prepared to be a helpful little wife and carry all the wood for him. This lady was an endless source of fascination to us as we had never known anyone who used copious layers of make-up and allowed us to watch the hair bleaching process which she used.

Smoky Cape. [Photograph: Ian Clifford]
Smoky Cape.
[Photograph: Ian Clifford]

We moved from Green Cape to Smoky Cape about 1942, in the middle of the war years. It was our second posting there, my youngest brother and I were born during our earlier posting. During the war there was considerable enemy submarine action along that part of the coast, torpedoing shipping. We actually saw a ship being blown up off Smoky Cape but of course at that time it was all very hush-hush. Flotsam on the beaches was very common, and I remember one of the assistant keepers calling to my father one day in a great flap. He thought he could see a body spreadeagled on the beach, which was far below as Smoky Cape it a very high cape. When the men made the long trek to the beach, the 'body' was indeed a body but that of an albatross.

Lighthouses are international. shipping aids and I don't know of any that were destroyed in the war. At Smoky Cape a radar screen was built on the seaward side of the tower during the latter stages of the war but it was never used.

During his service at Smoky Cape, my father was required to relieve headkeepers for their holidays at two stations where the assistant keepers were not senior enough to take over for that period. These stations were Montague Island and Point Perpendicular. Our family did not go with Dad as we were all at school.

The Solitary Island Lightstation from the air as it was in Beryl's era. [Photograph: McLeod & Sanders]
The Solitary Island Lightstation from the air as it was in Beryl's era.
[Photograph: McLeod & Sanders]

From Smoky Cape we moved to Solitary Island, off Coff's Harbour, one of the only two island lighthouses in NSW, the other being Montague Island. My mother was in hospital while the packing up was going on and she was horrified to later learn that when Dad had packed her well used treadle sewing machine into it's crate, he had stuffed our eiderdowns all around it. She imagined the eiderdowns would be covered in oil, I think, but in fact, they saved the machine as the crate got dropped into the water on the trip. Because of the eiderdowns, the crate floated and was hauled back into the launch. The sewing machine was never quite the same again but I still have some of the eiderdowns.

The view that Beryl would have had we she first approached the Solitary Island by launch. (1946) [Photograph: The Australian Women's Weekly]
The view that Beryl would have had we she first approached the Solitary Island by launch. (1946)
[Photograph: The Australian Women's Weekly]

The launch trip out to Solitary Island wasn't much fun, as we always got seasick. The trip took about an hour and a half, depending on conditions. I once did a trip that took four and a half hours, punching against what we called a 'black' northeaster wind. We'd watch each other on the trip to see who displayed the first seasick symptoms by going green. Only my youngest brother and I were at home by that time.

People and supplies were hauled from a launch on to South Solitary by a crane on a basket. (1946) [Photograph: The Australian Women's Weekly]
People and supplies were hauled from a launch on to South Solitary by a crane on a basket. (1946)
[Photograph: The Australian Women's Weekly]

On arrival at the island, which is a rocky, windswept lump of rock of about 11 hectares, a crane on the island jetty would lower a basket to the launch and gods and passengers would be loaded and winched far up to the jetty above. If you were lucky, you didn't get wet! Our cat and chooks went with us to the Island -- those poor chooks were seasick too and were very staggery after they were released.

Mr Jim (Mick) Duncan operating the pedal radio to communicate with the Norah Head Lightstation. (South Solitary, 1946). [Photograph Courtesy: Beryl Royal]
Mr Jim (Mick) Duncan operating the pedal radio to communicate with the Norah Head Lightstation. (South Solitary, 1946).
[Photograph Courtesy: Beryl Royal]

Life at Solitary Island was much the same as at other stations - a pedal radio was our link with the mainland, later a radio telephone was installed, that innovation saved a lot of leg power. A wonderful whale watching place, I delighted in seeing those massive creatures come in very close to the rocks on calm evenings.

The author, Beryl Royal, trying out the New Bendix radio. No more pedals!. [Photograph Courtesy: Beryl Royal]
The author, Beryl Royal, trying out the New Bendix radio. No more pedals!.
[Photograph Courtesy: Beryl Royal]

Calm weather wasn't always our lot, of course, cyclones and adverse winds often delayed the weekly delivery by launch of mail and supplies. One memorable cyclone caused such massive seas that water washed over the middle of the island and the light tower was chipped by rocks thrown up by the waves. On that occasion the supply launch was unable to deliver goods for three weeks. Toward the end of that time, food for the chooks was running rather short and for a few days we fed them with bread. When the sea had calmed a bit, Dad was able to fish on the sheltered side of the island and he caught a lot of big schnapper - up to five pounds in weight - and we boiled these up and fed them to the chooks. A tall solid wall ran between the houses the light tower at Solitary and men going to the tower walked on the leeward side so they wouldn't get blown away.

One of the most exciting times at Solitary was the day the launch made a special trip to deliver three kerosene fridges, one for each household on the island. To us, this was really modern living and we were at the ready with beaters and ingredients waiting for the fridge to be cold to freeze our first batch of ice-cream.

Our household lighting on all these stations was by kerosene lamps and it was not until after my father had retired that electricity from generators was in use. The light source in the lighthouses also came from kerosene, vapourised through a system like a big Tilly lamp. Rotation caused by system of weights, lens housing floating in mercury baths.

Sugarloaf Point. [Photograph: Ian Clifford]
Sugarloaf Point.
[Photograph: Ian Clifford]

Four years later, when Dad was transferred to Sugarloaf Point, I had left home to work and only my youngest brother made the transfer with our parents. I often visited, of course, and Mum told me what had happened to our cat, Tootens. Tootens had been with us at Smoky Cape and had spent four years on Solitary Island, where she was the only cat. On arrival at Sugarloaf Point, Tootens disappeared. People at the tiny fishing hamlet nearby told Mum that they had seen a black and white cat being hotly pursued by all the other cats in the area. A week later, she managed to get home, rather tattered and torn but with a very self-satisfied smirk on her face - the only tomcat in the district trotting along behind her. Kittens were born in due course!

Carrying kerosene to the tower at Sugarloaf Point. Note the wooden yokes on 2 men. [Photograph Courtesy: Beryl Royal]
Carrying kerosene to the tower at Sugarloaf Point. Note the wooden yokes on 2 men.
Mr Jim (Mick) Duncan on left
[Photograph Courtesy: Beryl Royal]

You might wonder how we managed health problems when we were often far from medical help. We were all pretty healthy and Mum nursed us through the usual mumps, measles etc without much of a problem. I was the only one who had the odd problem or two - when I was two years old I managed to get poliomyelitis and six months later nearly died with diphtheria. I know of only one death from illness, many years ago a young woman on Solitary Island died of typhoid fever; her body was sealed in a bathtub to await the arrival of the lighthouse supply ship, which at that time called every three months. Several years ago the headkeeper at Sugarloaf Point fell over a cliff to his death caught by a gust of wind.

With my father's retirement in 1955, an era ended for our family. I have maintained an interest in lighthouse affairs and have been a member of the Australian Lighthouse Association, which lobbied very hard to try to prevent the de-manning of lights. Some years ago, lights in the UK and USA were progressively de-manned but now a re-manning operation is underway in some areas.

Approx. years we spent at various light stations:

1925 - 28 Norah Head
1928 - 33 Smoky Cape
1933 - 37 Cape Byron
1937 - 42 Green Cape
1942 - 47 Smoky Cape
1947 - 51 Solitary Island
1951 - 55 Sugarloaf Point

Beryl Royal


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 for Australia:

The South Solitary Lighthouse The South Solitary LighthouseNew.gif (158 bytes)
The Fingal Head LighthouseNew.gif (158 bytes) The Fingal Head Lighthouse
The Tacking Point Lighthouse The Tacking Point LighthouseNew.gif (158 bytes)
The Crowdy Head LighthouseNew.gif (158 bytes) The Crowdy Head Lighthouse

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>


New Links for Australia:

No new links for Australia 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>


Also, New Links for World:

The Japan Lighthouse Association Page (in Japanese) The Japan Lighthouse Association Page (in Japanese)New.gif (158 bytes)
Matthes Leuchtturm Homepage (in German)New.gif (158 bytes) Matthes Leuchtturm Homepage (in German)
Grant and Tracey's St Bees Head Grant and Tracey's St Bees HeadNew.gif (158 bytes)
Grant and Tracey's ChicagoNew.gif (158 bytes) Grant and Tracey's Chicago

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:

Vlaming Head Lighthouse to get shiny new outlook

[Nick Taylor, Perth Sunday Times]

The most north westerly lighthouse in Australia will be returned to it's former glory.

The Vlaming Head Lighthouse has stood on the tip of North West Cape for 88 years surviving dozens of cyclones - including Vance last year - and numerous bush fires.

The Vlaming Head Lighthouse near Exmouth. [Photograph: Annette Flotwell]
The Vlaming Head Lighthouse near Exmouth.
[Photograph: Annette Flotwell]

But since the light was doused in 1967 machinery has rusted and paint has peeled and vandals left their mark - ripping off an historical brass plate and scrawling graffiti on the thick walls.

But while Vance blew out a couple of glass panels around the prism, the cyclone had a silver lining for the lighthouse.

The Cyclone Vance Trust Fund has given $70,000 towards restoration, with $45,000 coming from Commonwealth Heritage funding and Exmouth Shire Council chipping in $30,000.

The machinery has been moved to the WA museum for restoration and by August the lighthouse should be shining once again - this time as a tourist attraction where visitors will get spectacular views of the Cape.

An international consultant was in Exmouth this weekend to assess the damage and advise the council on the restoration process that starts in April.

Exmouth chief executive, Kerry Graham, said the lighthouse took a remarkable feat of engineering to build.

The area was virgin when work started in 1911, he said.

"All the building materials were shipped up in tenders and dragged up the hill in rail carts pulled by donkeys".

Cape Borda Lightstation Booming!

[Dan Grieve & Wendy Furner, NPWS]

The Cape Borda signal cannon is now firing daily during the 12.30 tour of Lightstation.

Having fallen silent over 100 years ago, the Cape Borda cannon was fired once again at Midnight, December 31st. The spectacular event proved the cannon Y2K compliant and ready for active duty.

Cape Borda is a classic lighthouse location - set deep in the wilderness and perched high above a vast ocean, it is remote, desolate and stunningly beautiful. The lighthouse itself is the highest above sea-level in South Australia and the only square lighthouse in the State.

The Cape Borda Lighthouse and fully restored canon. [Photograph: Chris Klep]
The Cape Borda Lighthouse and fully restored canon.
[Photograph: Chris Klep]

The cannon has always been an object of considerable interest to visitors to Cape Borda and has a special fascination for children.

The daily cannon firing commenced on January 1, 2000 and feedback has been extremely positive, including the following:

"Please keep firing the Cannon, this is a unique part of the tour and will make this tour a 'must see' experience on KI…World Class" (14.1.00 Head of Tourism Unit, Victoria).

NPWSA asks all individuals, organisations and operators involved in tourism on Kangaroo Island to ensure their customers and staff are aware of this new and compelling reason to include Cape Borda in their tour of the Island.

PLEASE NOTE - The cannon firing will be subject to comprehensive review by the end of March 2000 and the time of firing may be changed. NPWSA will endeavor to ensure all tourism operators are made aware of any change to the time of firing.

Enquiries: Dan Grieve, Site manager, Cape Borda Ph 61+(0)8 8559 3257, Email <dgrieve@dehaa.sa.gov.au>.
Wendy Furner, Tourism & Commercial Services Officer, Ph 61+(0)8 8559 2381.

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.


This Month's Featured Honorary Lighthouse Keeper:

Ian Clifford: This month's featured honorary lighhouse keeper. [Photograph Richard Jermyn]Ian Clifford

<icliffo@tpgi.com.au>

Born 1959, Lismore, NSW Australia.

My first twelve years were spent living on the North Coast of NSW around Byron Bay, hometown of my parents. I spent virtually every school holiday in Byron Bay roaming the beaches, jetty and the lighthouse reserve, as you could then. I visited the lighthouse on the keepers guided tour at least once each school holidays. My passion and interest in lighthouses began here.

I no longer get to "The Bay" as often as I would like but I now live in the next best place, Kiama, where I live with my wife Ann, also a lighthouse admirer, and two trainee lighthouse admirers, Jessica and Nicholas, overlooking Kiama Lighthouse.

When I am not maintaining a regional television transmission network I am with the rest of the family attending surf carnivals- junior carnivals in summer and IRB carnivals in winter.(IRB being an Inflatable Rescue Boat or "rubber duck"). A situation I exploit. Surf carnivals are held all over the country and lighthouses are near the surf, so I have taken advantage of my trips to visit and photograph lightstations along the way and hopefully pass on some of my passion for lighthouses to my children. I also travel extensively in the course of my work, which leads to further opportunities for lighthouse visiting. Having an engineering background has also allowed me to assist with "first in" maintenance and restoration issues at a number of stations.

When I first browsed across the Lighthouses of Australia site I was so impressed that I immediately took up Malcolm’s call for material and it has progressed from there.

My travels and visits to lighthstations have privileged me to meet some of the nicest and most interesting people at some of the most beautiful locations you can find.

I hope that I can contribute to the preservation of Australia’s lightstations through work such as The Lighthouses of Australia Project

A special page has been set up to include profiles on people who are consistent in their support for the Project.  This can be found at <http://www.lighthouses.org.au/lights/About/Profiles.htm>.


Thanks to the Following People for Their Help in February:

Ian Clifford (info, photos & report)
Beryl Royal (info, photos & story)
Peter Webb, Sydney AFLOAT (info)
Mary Shelley Clark and Jack Clark (info)
Ric Karniewicz, Milyering Visitor Centre (info)
Beverley Atkins, AMSA (info & photos)
Peter Braid (letter & photos)
Annette Flotwell (photos)
Sharon Fielden (feedback & letter)
Dan Grieve, NPWS SA (services)
David Gray, AMSA
Linc Castle (photos)

Thanks to all the people who have put links to the site

Thanks to those who let me use their photos for thumbnails.


Regards until the April 2000 Bulletin
Malcolm Macdonald

http://www.lighthouses.org.au/lights/


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The MARCH 00 BULLETIN was published on: 4/3/00

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

Photographs & Contributions:

Peter Braid
Sharon Fielden
Christian Bell
Doug Bingham
Ian Clifford
Beryl Royal
The Australian Women's Weekly
4c's Enterprises
McLeod & Sanders
Annette Flotwell
Chris Klep
Richard Jermyn

Site Constructed and Maintained by: Lighthouse Computer Training & Development

Contact: Lighthouse Keeper

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1997 - 2000 Lighthouse Computer Training & Development
Using Material from This Page

Who are the people that make the Lighthouses of Australia Project come together?
If you have any photos, information, anecdotes etc about Australian Lighthouses you can help