Lighthouses of Australia Project - JUNE 00 BULLETIN
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Dear Friends

Will You Keep the Project Going

OK folks, as I promised I am going overseas for several years in December and I will no longer be able to continue the Project.

Should it go off-line?

Should it just become a static representation?

Well many friends that have helped the Project have said NO!

So with my support they're are hoping to form an ongoing group to continue with the Project. To keep the pages coming and updated. To keep producing and developing the FREE Monthly Bulletin.

Not just an organisation to keep the Project going but to develop to serve the wider interests of lighthouse preservation in Australia and to represent the Australian in the wider global forum.

The Project has mainly been successful through the input of 100's of people in Australia and overseas.

You can continue to support the Project by indicating that you wish to join the new group. For more details see the 3 articles below.

Malcolm to Leave Project!
Help Complete the Project
Join Proposed Lighthouses of Australia Inc

Malcolm, to leave the Project!. [Photograph: Deborah Taylor]
Malcolm Macdonald
[Photograph: Deborah Taylor]

eMail Malcolm


Malcolm to Leave Project!

Well folks as mentioned when I started the Project that it was a 3 year exercise as I was going overseas for several years at the end of 2000.

This is still the case with the intention of spending most of 2001 in South America, part of 2002 in North America then through to end of 2003 in Europe. In detail there may be a few little hops and diversions to other places but that is the gist of it.

I did hope to have the Project complete and when I look back in retrospect I think with the help of all of you I have done incredibly well to get half way.

There is now however several problems.

  • The first question is the preservation of Project. That is simply keeping it on-line at it's current state without any new work being done. The estimate would be about $600 AUD per year.
  • Out of the 150 or so Australian Lighthouses that are worth representing I have only done about 75. The second question and has been the expression of many concerned about the future of the Project is the completion and maintenance of the Project. I have heaps of material, photos, stories, history etc that have been given to me over the years. It's just a matter of collating them, filling in the gaps, and presenting them on the Web. From the interest I receive I feel that people would be frustrated if the Project became a static representation rather than continuing as living, giving experience for those who contribute or just enjoy their regular visit to the site to see what is happening.
  • This is the one I get the most concern over from supporters of the Project. The Monthly Bulletin has grown from just announcing new pages on the Project to providing news, feature stories and a forum for individuals or organisations to find information or to announce an occasion. Continuance of a FREE Monthly Bulletin is an essential part of the Project as the Bulletin develops as an on-line voice for those interested in Lighthouse issues in Australia.

Along the way I have accumulated some real friends, as well as friends of the Project, Ed Kavaliunas, Deborah Taylor, Ian Clifford and Cyril Curtain to mention a few. They have expressed a concern and willingness to see the Project continue for all of the above reasons and more.

They also see a role for a group to continue with the work of the project, but to also develop and play a role in future Lighthouse policy and preservation in Australia.

Malcolm is looking for people to continue the Project!. [Photograph: Deborah Taylor]
Malcolm Macdonald
[Photograph: Deborah Taylor]

eMail Malcolm


Help Complete the Project

[by Deborah Taylor]

In December of this year our project founder and tireless organizer, Malcolm Macdonald, is leaving Australia for approximately three years.

Since Malcolm has been the main drive in collating 'all you ever wanted to know about our lighthouses but didn't know where to start', then perhaps you can understand that there is a sense of urgency to fill the workload.

Since early December 1997, Malcolm has sourced and collated material from all around Australia. With the massive amounts of information sent by eager enthusiasts as well, you can imagine how much time and effort is involved [not to mention a family and business to boot!]

As the project has exceeded all expectations, with over 40,000 visitors to the site we believe we have many reasons to continue the work. The site has a number of awards, is recognized by both the National and State Libraries through the Pandora Project and is used as a major referral point by AMSA - The Australian Maritime Safety Authority.

However, with only 75 of the 150 major lighthouses documented and with updating information as it comes to hand, on those we do have, we still have a long way to go!

So can you help us please?

No computer skills necessary! [That's a relief if you're like me!]

We need involvement on any level. So here is the list-

  • We need at least 12 key organizers.
  • As well we need people to source material.
  • Edit stories/text and photos.
  • Helpers to publish the free monthly bulletin.
  • We need people to organize fundraising and membership

If you are interested and would to like to participate in keeping this project rolling, we welcome you're input.

And if you would like to know a little bit about some of the people already involved, you can read about us on the People Page and view for yourself the number of people who have and do contribute on a regular basis.

As for myself Deb Taylor, I am Computer illiterate for a start [you wouldn't believe how long this took!!] but apart from my indifference to computers, videos and microwaves, it is always my great pleasure to contribute to the bulletin about our travels to various lighthouses, to photograph them together with my partner Ed Kavaliunas and Malcolm and to talk to the people who feel connected to them in an assortment of ways.

As you have probably guessed, I am not a lighthouse aficionados, I am an artist and have no head for dates and stats! unlike a lot of other people on the project. But that's okay; my contribution is made welcome because I am happy to explore the meaning of the lighthouse. That is to say, when we visit lighthouses, the sites, the Keepers, the communities, people with information/photos and people directly involved in maintenance like the crew at AMSA and the Harbour Trust etc., I am always overwhelmed by their passionate dedication and that's what I love to share with you.

Everyone from school kids to site browsers who offer family photos, even international followers, right across to the dyed in the wool keepers, maintenance crews and serious lighthouse buffs - they all have incredible enthusiasm! Lighthouses are our past, present and future and they can only be assured of their rightful place if we all work together. So you see, even people like me can do something to help!

That's the great thing about this project; you are all welcome.

Deborah says everybody's contribution is welcome. [Photograph: Ed Kavaliunas]
Deborah Taylor.
[Photograph: Ed Kavaliunas]
eMail Deborah

Here are a few words from some of our "friends":

Amongst the many experiences during my involvement with the LOAP I constantly refer back to a particularly memorable lighthouse that we visited during our tour of Tasmania in April of 1999.

The magificent Cape Sorell , tallest mainland lighthouse in Tasmania.  [Photograph: Deborah Taylor]We had the wonderful experience of being taken to the Cape Sorell lighthouse north of Strahan on the wonderfully spectacular west coast. Apart from the fact that the project has taken me to some wonderful parts of Australia, this particular lighthouse epitomized to me the importance a project such as this has in creating an awareness of these structures that are integral to our relatively short colonial history.

What particularly makes me refer to Cape Sorell is the fact that if you visit Strahan, you cannot see the lighthouse unless you see it from the ocean or from the air. Access by land is by boat across Macquarie Harbour, and then 4WD to the site of the 37m sentinel.

The now demolished cottages and tramways in 1946. [Photograph Courtesy: AMSA]During the 1960's the keeper's buildings were bulldozed and all that remains now apart from the light-tower are some brick foundations and some white trumpet lilies. As I walked around that site I wondered about the bureaucratic rationale of such an exercise and why these buildings at the very least could not be left to decline naturally.

I may never get the opportunity to visit that place again and not a great number of tourists will ever see it, but what saddens me most is the "out of sight, out of mind" attitude.

I believe that through this particular site that we can, at least in some small way, contribute to public awareness and provide people with the relevant issues concerning this particular aspect of our heritage.

Smithy (aka Ed), I believe we can contribute to public awareness. [Photograph: Deborah Taylor]
Smithy (aka Ed Kavaliunas).

[Photograph: Deborah Taylor]
eMail Ed

 

I believe that forming the project into an Australia wide association will enhance the project and it's aims. The community can continue to benefit from the projects presence on the Net and its profile amongst enthusiasts both in Australia and overseas.

The Monthly Bulletin can become a dynamic medium for on going issues amongst its members. The project will benefit with input from a greater number of people and issues. Hopefully by forming this group we will increase the presence of the project and with the ALA we can only improve our power to lobby on the many issues concerning our lighthouses

We are all working, interested etc in the same aim, the preservation, continued operation, and access of our lightstations.

While there are some success stories there are some shameful failures. Working together as one organisation to these common goals rather than a number of groups can only improve our chances of success.

Ian Clifford, We are all working towards the same aim, the preservation, continued operation, and access of our lightstations. [Photograph: Ed Kavaliunas]
Ian Clifford.

[Photograph: Ed Kavaliunas]
eMail Ian

 

The Australian Lighthouse Association strongly supports this move to place the Lighthouses of Australia Web site on a more secure and broadly based footing. Lighthouse preservation world-wide is getting increasing attention and lighthouses are being seen as a significant part of the world's heritage. The Web site can play a vital role for Australia in all this by both publicising our lights and by being a key component of the growing network of organisations that have an interest in promoting and preserving our lighthouse heritage. Since there are also moves afoot to create and International Federation of Lighthouse Preservation Societies it would also become part of a world-wide network with the same ends.

The Australian Lighthouse Association considers that the proposal being discussed on these pages presents the best model for securing the future development of the Web site, both from the financial point of view, and most importantly from the point of view of canvassing the widest number of potential contributors.

Dr Cyril Curtain, Australian Lighthouse Association, Lighthouse preservation world-wide is getting increasing attention and lighthouses are being seen as a significant part of the world's heritage. [Photograph Courtesy: Cyril Curtain]
Dr Cyril Curtain, Australian Lighthouse Association.

[Photograph Courtesy: Cyril Curtain ]
eMail Cyril

 


Join Proposed Lighthouses of Australia Inc.

In April of this year we held our first steering committee meeting and decided that we should work towards establishing an incorporated body to take over the project from being solely run by Malcolm.

A charter has been developed and can be found on-line at <../../About/Charter.htm>.

A constitution has been developed and can be found on-line at <../../About/Constitution.htm>.

The suggested memberships and costs are as follows:

  • Individual Membership (12 months) $25 AUD

    Other groups/bodies with in interest in Lighthouses:

    • Non-Profit Organisation or Group Membership (12 months) $50 AUD
    • Small Business Membership (12 months) $100 AUD
    • Large Corporate, Government Department & Statutory Authority Memberships and Sponsorship by negotiation.

To join, visit the Membership page.


Letters & Notices:

Wilsons Promontory Log Books

Dear Malcolm,

I am trying to chase down the log books for the Wilsons Promontory Lighthouse from 1883.

Do you have any idea where I might be able to find them as I need access to them for a book I am writing. I have tried the Australian Archives but their logs start in 1918.

Regards, Peter Cooke. <pjcooke@hotmail.com>.

The Wilsons Promontory Lighthouse [Photograph: Grant Maizels]
[Photograph: Grant Maizels]

Looking for Alfred James Synnot

Hi Malcolm

:) I am researching my family history and I came across your web site
seeking information on my Great Grandfather.

He worked in the Lighthouse service from about 1900.

I am trying to find information that will substantiate which Light Stations and the dates he manned them.

I have identified he was at the following stations and the approximate
dates from some post cards he sent to his father as well as some
photographs.

Point Lonsdale 1900

Wilsons Promontory 1907

Cape Everade 1915

Cliffy Isl.

He could have been along the Warrnambool to Portland coast as I have
documents from this area.

My Great Grandfathers Name was Alfred James Synnot.

I would be pleased if you could assist with my enquiries.

Edwin A J Synnot <synnotde@melbpc.org.au>

Phone/Fax 03 9842 8304

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

Looking for William Gardiner

Dear Malcolm

I am seeking information on my Great-Grandfather, William Gardiner, who was employed at the Lighthouse as Assistant Lighthouse Keeper and Principal Lighthouse Keeper from the late 1800's until 1907.

I would also like to find some information on his first wife Agnes, who died at the Lighthouse in 1892. My grandfather Alfred Gardiner was born at the Lighthouse in 1895 to William and his second wife Kate. My grandfather took me to visit Nobby's in 1971 and it will always hold a special place in my memories.

As I am trying to trace the family tree, it would be most appreciated if you could find any details regarding this matter or alternatively, could you recommend somewhere that I would be able to seek relevant information.

Yours faithfully, Judy Stephenson C/o <neilwill@bigpond.com>.

The Nobbys Head Lighthouse [Photograph: Grant Maizels]
[Photograph: Grant Maizels]

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>


Australian News:

Deal Island Gets a Boost

Deal Island from the Sea. [Photograph: David Roberts]
Deal Island from the Sea.
[Photograph: David Roberts]

The Tasmanian Conservation Trust has been awarded $57, 344 as a grant from the Commonwealth Government's Cultural Heritage Grants Program (CHHP). This is to undertake further work on the Superintendents Residence on Deal Island. The money is for repairs to the floors of the building and some of the internal finishes. This is the second grant that we have received for work on the building, last year the TCT carried out repairs to the windows. The CHHP grant means that the floors in the ground floor will be lifted, dried out, carefully preserved and returned to their original position, with only a minimum of new material being used to effect the repairs. While the floors are up and archaeological dig will take place (this will present an opportunity to find out the original function of each room (as items often fall through cracks in floorboards). Enough information is usually gained to work out the role of each room, e.g. bedroom, dining room, sitting room etc.

The Deal Island Superintendents Residence.
The old Head Superintendents Cottage.
[Photograph Courtesy: Christian Bell]

The competition for funds under the CHHP program was tight, with only 4 projects in Tasmania being funded. The TCT was successful in securing one of these, we would like to thank the Commonwealth and Senator Hill for the funding of this project. While the majority of the work the TCT is engaged with deals with the natural environment, the Trust has s good record in dealing with cultural heritage. The funding of this project will make an invaluable contribution to our work in this area and assist in the preservation of one of Tasmania's most significant heritage buildings.

Christian Bell
TCT Project Officer

Christian Bell
Marine and Coastal Community Network
Phone +61 03 62343665
Fax +61 03 62312491

GPO Box 567
Hobart TAS 7001
AUSTRALIA

Update On The Progress Of Bustard Head

[Stuart Buchanan via PRISM]

The Bustard Head Lighthouse [Photograph: Stuart Buchanan]
The Bustard Head Lighthouse
[Photograph: Stuart Buchanan]

Just a short update on the progress of Bustard Head.

Following the formation of the Bustard Head Lightstation Trust on 17 November 1999, an Expression of Interest for the lease of Bustard Head Conservation Park was prepared and submitted to Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service (QPWS) by the due date of 17 December 1999.

On 3 April 2000, QPWS notified the Trust that it had been short-listed for more detailed consideration and requested that the Executive Officers of the Trust appear before a six-person assessment board at QPWS headquarters in Brisbane on 13 April.

The Trust felt that the meeting went well. QPWS advised that they are now taking "a more business like approach to its management of commercial activities". A week after that meeting, the Trust received a request from QPWS to submit a more detailed statement relating to our proposed management and financial strategies. The Trust is now well advanced with this statement, which has to be submitted to QPWS by 2 June 2000.

The leasing of lighthouse properties is new ground for QPWS, and I don't think a decision will see much change overnight. However, QPWS have been readily approachable and helpful in regard to Bustard Head; an example of this happened last year.

While visiting the vandalised lighthouse cottages at Bustard Head last October, I surprised two yachties who were trying to wrench a piece of timber from a broken door for a souvenir. I use the word "surprise" euphemistically; actually I scared the shit out of them.

When their nervous systems had almost returned to normal, I explained that the lightstation was heritage listed and that in the not too distant future the cottages were going to be restored. They replied that if they had known that, they wouldn't have touched a thing. And I believed them.

So on my return to Brisbane, I contacted QPWS, told them of the incident and suggested that perhaps a sign explaining the above would help prevent further vandalism. To my astonishment, in less than a week, five signs to that effect were erected on the site. I certainly couldn't complain about the service.

Anyhow, Cyril, I'll keep you informed as things progress.

Old Fitzroy Island Lens to Return Home

[Stuart Buchanan via PRISM]

The old Fitzroy Island Apparatus [Photograph: Stuart Buchanan]
The old Fitzroy Island Apparatus
[Photograph: Stuart Buchanan]

There's something else you might be interested in. A few years ago, at AMSA's lighthouse auction held in Brisbane, Shirley and I bought the original Fitzroy Island light for the princely sum of $200.

Established in 1943 to light the reef-strewn Grafton Passage for entry into Cairns, the light was unique in Australia, if not the world. Two bullseye lens panels, taken from the original Cape Northumberland first order lens, were set up side by side on a metal table, each panel synchronised to pivot by means of a single driving motor. If a vessel, negotiating the Grafton Passage from seaward, kept in the dead centre of the channel on a true bearing of 217º it would read the light as group flashing (4) every 16 seconds.

Depending on how far the vessel strayed from its course towards the north or south, the light would be read as giving a different character, so the navigator would know just how far off course he was.

At 216º (north of the centre of the Passage) the character was group flashing (3) every 16 seconds with the first flash longer than the second and third flashes.

At 218º (south of the centre of the Passage) the character was the same group flashing (3) every 16 seconds, but on this bearing the third flash was longer than the first and second flashes.

Anyone familiar with Morse code would know that at 216º the light was flashing dash-dot-dot (meaning D for go Down to be in the centre of the Passage); and at 218º the light was flashing dot-dot-dash (meaning U for go Up to be in the centre of the passage).

It is said by a few old hands in the lighthouse service that the Lighthouse Engineer who designed the light was unaware of the Morse code significance of the light until after it was established. I don't suppose we'll ever know the truth about that.

The New Fitzroy Island Lantern [Photograph: Stuart Buchanan]
The New Fitzroy Island Lantern
[Photograph: Stuart Buchanan]

The New Fitzroy Island Lighthouse Under Construction in 1973 [Photograph: Stuart Buchanan]
The New Fitzroy Island Lighthouse Under Construction in 1973
[Photograph: Stuart Buchanan]

The light was removed in 1973 and replaced by a new tower and a light consisting of panels of sealed beams. That light has since been decommissioned, with a smaller light on Little Fitzroy Island taking its place.

After we bought the light at auction, I cleaned the lenses and set them up for display in the lounge room. The rest of the light, crates of it, I stored under the house. While doing so, I noticed a tag on one of the crates that read: "KEEP FOR LIGHTHOUSE MUSEUM".

For whom the tag was intended I had no idea, but I had to agree with the principle. Such a unique light should not be left under someone's house.

I contacted the Queensland Maritime Museum to see if they were interested in it. Their response was less than enthusiastic. And anyway, I didn't want to give it to some museum that would put it into storage and then forget about it.

A couple of years later, while Shirley was on the telephone to AMSA in Canberra, the bloke she was speaking to told her that a lot of historical items had disappeared somewhere in the system.

"For example," he said, "the whole light from Fitzroy Island in Queensland has
disappeared."

"Oh, we've got that," Shirley replied casually.

"What do you mean 'We've got that'?" he asked.

"It's under the house. We bought it at AMSA's auction in Brisbane."

The poor bloke nearly went berserk.

Then, about a month ago, we received a telephone call from a Queensland Parks and Wildlife Officer who lives in one of the restored lighthouse cottages on Fitzroy Island. She had read my book The Lighthouse Keepers and wanted to know if I had any historical photographs she could use in a display they were setting up in the attached lookout office of the decommissioned Fitzroy Island lighthouse. (See photographs above from The Lighthouse Keepers).

"No, I'm sorry," I replied, "I haven't got any historical photographs of Fitzroy, but how would you like the original light?"

To cut a long story short, Shirley and I are donating the light to QPWS on the provision that it will be on permanent display in the lighthouse office.

And luckily for everyone, the only person who can put the light back together again is retired lighthouse mechanic John Spearritt, who lives in Cairns and has volunteered to do this intricate task.

John used to maintain the light when it was operating. Also at AMSA's auction, for $10, I bought a box of about thirty spare bulbs especially made to fit the light.

It's always satisfying to have a story with a happy ending, don't you think? Especially when a small piece of Australia's maritime history is preserved.

Stuart Buchanan. [Photograph courtesy: Stuart Buchanan]
Stuart Buchanan.
[Photograph courtesy: Stuart Buchanan]
P.O. Box 90
Samford
QLD 4520
Ph/Fax (07) 3289 1827

By the way, my book The Lighthouse Keepers, which has been out of print for the past year, has been reprinted. It's similar to the last soft cover edition, but the paper quality of the text is better, and because we changed printers the colour work is greatly improved. It retails for $32.00 and for ALA members is postage free within Australia. Lighthouse of Tragedy has also been reprinted and is still $29.95, also postage free within Australia.


Thanks to the Following People for Their Help in June:

Maurice Glasson (Info)
Wolfgang Schippke (Info)
Beryl Innes (Info)
Hans-GŁnter Spitzer (Photo)
Brendan Kelly (info)

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 Sept 2000 Bulletin
Malcolm Macdonald

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


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Go to Main Australian Index Page
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The AUGUST 00 BULLETIN was published on: 11/7/00

The bulletin is prepared in Dreamweaver 2 and tested on Netscape Messenger 4, Outlook Express (IE 5) and Eudora 3.   Problems do occur with Eudora and don't seem to be resolved without downgrading the integrity of the Bulletin.  With Eudora 3 I recommend you open the Bulletin, Right Click over it, and select "Copy to Browser" to view as a HTML formatted document.

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

Photographs & Contributions:

AMSA for Photograph
Christian Bell for Article and Sketch
David Roberts for Photograph
Deborah Taylor for Article and Photographs
Dr Cyril Curtain, Australian Lighthouse Association for Comments and Photographs
Ed Kavaliunas for Comments and Photographs
Grant Maizels for Photographs
Ian Clifford for Comments and Photographs
Stuart Buchanan for Stories and Photographs

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