LOAP Needs More of YOUR Input
This month Ed Kavaliunas has done a lot of the work on the Bulletin. We also had assistance from some of our other supporters with some the more time consuming tasks.
Hopefully the situation will develop where there is a greater involvement from supporters and members in areas such as reporting and research as well as the more mundane tasks.
So keep the letters and stories coming to make the Bulletin better than ever.
John Ibbotson Completes His Journey Around Australia
This month sees the last instalment of John Ibbotson's journey across the top of Australia to complete the photographing of lighthouses for his forthcoming book.
Ed Kavaliunas Reports on His Honeymoon Trip to King Island
Ed and Deb Kavaliunas (nee Taylor) chase lighthouses on King Island encountering many interesting 'locals'.
From Darwin we drove back to Katherine and then on to Kununurra. Founded in 1961 Kununurra is the main town for the Ord River Scheme. A trip on Lake Argyle is a great way to spend a day. It is the largest body of fresh water in Australia (1,000 square kms and a 1,000 km shoreline) and could quite easily do with a light or two so that boaters know where they are. The only other stop on the way to Derby was at the Bungle Bungles that personally I found disappointing.
Broome is a pleasant little town and its sunsets are spectacular - big red balls sinking into a murky horizon. The murk was from the smoke generated by scrub fires that are lit on purpose and burn right across the Top End during 'The Dry'. On a sunny day aerial trip around Cape Leveque I gave up and went home at 3:00pm because the sun had effectively disappeared in the haze. We might have had 58 clear days in a row in September-October but I think April would have been a better photographic time to do the trip.
The Gantheaume Point Light on the outskirts of Broome at the end of Cable Beach is a typical frame tower although the surrounding red rocks do improve its photogenic qualities.
Cape Leveque north of Broome can be reached by road but it is a rough 240 kms in a 4WD. It is better to fly. Phillip and Maureen Telfer at King Leopold Air (08) 9193-6092 runs regular tourist trips or charters to the cape. There is also accommodation available there. Contact Kooljaman at Cape Leveque PMB 8 Cape Leveque via Broome WA 6725 or phone (08) 9192-4970.
The tower is probably the best tower in the top half of WA but is unfortunately behind a high wire fence. On the way we also flew past Red Bluff and Lacepede, Adele and Caffarelli Islands. These are all minor lights but their settings are quite different and quite spectacular.
The next port of call was Port Hedland a town where absolutely everything has a coating of iron ore dust on it. There are a long line of buoys marking the channel out into deep water but I did not go out and photograph them. Instead we drove on to Cossack.
Cossack is a small historical port that is now only used for the occasional pleasure craft. The old buildings there have been magnificently restored and well worth a visit. We were able to rent a small boat there from Dave and Darlene Fairgrieve (0408-937-677) and motored the three km out to Jarman Island. Fortunately it was a flat calm day.
The tower, constructed with cast iron panels bolted together is in reasonable condition but only the walls of the keepers' cottages remain. The WA government and the major local mining companies (Robe Iron, Hamersley Iron, Woodside etc) have pledged money for its repair (including the houses.) If the restoration is as well done as the buildings in Cossack it will be superb.
Soon after arriving in Exmouth we drove the 15km out to the old Vlaming Head tower. Although it is in reasonable condition it too is going to be restored. The next morning I succeeded in contacting Jeff Callon at the Navcommsta Radio Base. I then went out to the base and Jeff spent about two hours showing me around the facility. The 13 towers (6 are 304m tall, 6 are 364m tall and the Zero tower is 387m tall) with their associated ariels are used to transmit low frequency messages to Australian Navy vessels.
The only structure in the Southern Hemisphere that is taller is the Omega tower at Harriman in Victoria. When the Vlaming Head light was decommissioned in 1967 the replacement light was placed 120m up tower 11 (just above the ospreys nest). This would make tower 11, at 304m the tallest lighthouse structure in Australia and possibly the world. The courtesy and assistance provided by the base personnel was the best I've ever encountered and made this one of the highlights of the trip.
After leaving Exmouth we called in to say hello to Billie Le Froy at Ningaloo Station before going out to see the old Point Cloates light. The tower was built of local sandstone in 1910. After being damaged during an earthquake in 1932 it was decommissioned. A new light was built offshore on Fraser Island but the base rock it was built on eroded and the light toppled over. In 1966 a new GRP light was built about one km from the original light.
In Carnarvon we visited the light on Babbage Island. The steel frame tower replaced earlier wooden ones that had all burnt down. It had been freshly painted because the Olympic Relay had passed by and everything needed to look spick and span!
From Denham we flew out to Dirk Hartog Island. It is the largest island in WA and is run as a sheep station and wilderness lodge by Kieran Wardle and his partner Tory Pyman. Tory met us at the runway and then drove us in a 4WD to Cape Inscription at the top of the island. Not only was she delightful company on the six hour round trip but she had packed a wonderful lunch!
The Cape Inscription tower unfortunately had 'SOS' painted all over it (done by a sailor who had supposedly been shipwrecked earlier in the year). Otherwise the tower, built in 1909 was in excellent condition. Only the walls of the keepers' houses remain. On our return flight we also flew over the Steep Point Light. It's only a GRP cabinet but it is the western most light on the Australian mainland. Kieran and Tory can be reached on (08) 9948-1211 or c/- PO Denham WA 6537.
On our way to Geraldton I tried to find Shoal Point but without success. I think I saw it but thought it was a water tower.... In Geraldton we hired a plane and flew out to the Abrolhos Islands for photos of the 'Rocket' light on Pelsaert Island. Also took ariels of the Point Moore light as we went past.
Drove into Jurien on the off chance on finding a boat to take us out to Escape Island. We lucked out. The only active boat in the harbour, a cray boat called Sentosa IV had just returned with some research students. Reg Isles and Kelly Borger who were crewing the boat said they'd go out again if 'The Boss' said ok. 'The Boss', Kevin Brewer agreed as long as I gave him a bottle of rum! I'm sure that the boat burnt the equivalent of quite a few bottles of rum during the trip.
The light is just a frame tower with a Tupperware light at the top (like Gantheaume Point but without a lantern room) so it didn't matter that it was too rough to go ashore.
Before leaving Perth I managed to take photos of the North and South Mole and the Woodman tower and in Bunbury took some sunset/sunrise photos of the Casuarina Point light. It is only a harbour light, as are the three preceding ones but it is one of the most attractive lights in Australia.
As I had previously photographed the main lights to the south and west of Perth we visited them, but only briefly. By this stage we were ready to head for home. The same applied for the South Australian lights. So at the end of the nine weeks we had seen about 80 lighthouses, used 3 helicopters, 5 4WDs, 11 planes, 9 boats, 180 rolls of film and had done 20,500km in the '76 Valiant. I felt like I needed a vacation.
Jack packed up and returned to the US. I had the photos developed and have catalogued them. Now I rise at 4:00 am most mornings to write the text for the coffee table book before heading off to work. I will be glad when this project slows down a little.
John travelled across the top of Australia to complete photographing lighthouses for his new book that he is working on.
[Ed Kavaliunas aka "Smithy"]
After a short recovery from a wonderful post wedding party, Deb and I pack up and head off to King Island for a welcome break from humanity as we know it. King Island is like a stepping stone across Bass Straight to Tasmania, a mere 50 miles from Cape Otway, an island of some 1800 inhabitants (human that is…..many more wallabies, bush turkeys, pheasants, penguins, possums etc. etc.).
The greeting at the airport from the car hire desk goes something along the lines of; "…welcome, $750 excess, so many hundred kilometres of road, 15% of them sealed, watch out for wallabies and bush turkeys…, after ten minutes of driving this proves to be no exaggeration.
We head off to Grassy, the second largest town on the island to find our accommodation where we find the number of buildings to be disproportionate to the number of humans apparent. We unload our luggage and set of on some preliminary exploration of the island. First destination, Currie, the "capital", home of the only re-commissioned lighthouse perched over the pretty Currie harbour with its flotilla of crayboats nestled safely protected from the Southern Ocean.
Some quick shots from various vantages and then back to Grassy with thoughts of a good country counter meal at the Grassy Club. NO LUCK, no meals on Tuesday nights, the only possibility is back at Currie! Thanks to the generosity of one of the locals at the bar it's back to our unit with a couple of packs of King Island cheese for some toast and bickies to go with it. The next day we head up to Cape Wickham with a wary eye on the notoriously changeable weather hoping for clear skies to shoot the Cape Wickham Lighthouse.
Not disappointed the early cloud breaks and we are treated to good weather bordering on quite warm.
Unfortunately only one of the original buildings remain with a recent addition of red brick incongruous next to the impressive white tower reputedly the tallest in the Southern Hemisphere.
After a bit of beachcombing and avoiding stepping on more skinks on the rocks than I have ever seen anywhere we set off to Martha Lavinia Beach on the northern tip of the island with it's magnificent white sand scattered over with nautilus shells, bordered by wonderful sub-tropical bush land. We head back to Currie with the constant habitual friendly finger wave to any car that passes reminiscent of the tour of the northwest of Tasmania.
A quick tour of the Currie Museum housed in the original lighthouse keepers cottage, one of the few brick buildings on the island.
Some shots of an original prism from the Cape Wickham light and looking at original photos of the lights and relative buildings.
We then head south towards Stokes Point Lighthouse, which according to the island map supplied by the car hire company, is off limits. After passing through a gate into the property where the lighthouse is located, again this is no exaggeration! Blue metal gravel, the size of an adult fist, provides a surface that would loosen every possible bolt that holds this car together in a very short time. We abandon this sojourn after about 3 or 4 kilometres, heading back in the direction of Seal Rocks on the southernmost tip of the island. Looking back we realize that we were only a couple of kilometres form the lighthouse (Oh well, it was only a "toilet block" light anyway).
Seal Rocks is a wonderfully rugged piece of coast with the water turning a spectacular sapphire blue/green as it meets the rocks (not so attractive if you were the captain of an 1800's cutter I suspect). Again, an abundance of wallabies watch our progress. We head back to Grassy to have tea (yes meals are on tonight, and typically generous country fare), before heading off to the penguin rookery rugged up against a typically blowy Bass Straight night.
Rewarded eventually by the cacophonous arrival of said creatures we make our way back through another armada of possums and wallabies for a well earned rest. Our final day is a leisurely drive up the east coast taking in some more endless kilometres of deserted beaches and the impressive Sea Elephant Bay, which unfortunately due to over-sealing hosts very few of these enormous creatures any more.
A casual drive back to Currie and another visit to the museum before dinner at the local pub (with Mercury Cider on tap) before retiring back to our digs for our final night on the island.
Friday greets us with spectacular weather, fine and warm and we head off to the King Island dairy to stock up on cheese for the rellies before heading back to Currie for some last minute shots and the obligatory postcards.
We arrive at the airport and as we unpack our luggage we notice in the car next to us something that typifies our impressions of this place. A woman in the car next to us has a canvas rucksack suspended from the passenger seat, and peeping innocently out is an orphaned wallaby watching casually at the goings on around him. Shortly after take-off we fly over Cape Wickham Lighthouse in brilliantly clear weather (totally cloud covered on arrival) almost as if were bidding us bon voyage.
Couple Needed For Management at Cape Otway Lightstation
Information on Identifying Graves on Goose Island
Looking for Information on John Sheedy
Feel free to post any request, letters, notices here regarding research, events etc for any Australian Lighthouse on this notice board.
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:
Please eMail <Keeper>
[PRISM Extract - Summer 2000]
Re-use of the cottages at Barranjoey Lighthouse is not expected to become a possibility for some time. However, in the medium to long term they should be made available for site management, interpretation, retail and visitor services and short term holiday accommodation.
These are recommendations in a major study of NSW lighthouses, their conservation and management by the NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service, currently being circulated for public comment. The report describes the lighthouse as "substantial and relatively intact 19th century lighthouse of outstanding architectural quality, containing a rare Chance Bros 700mm fixed optic and pedestal."
It notes that this complex of buildings contains the oldest remaining structures in Pittwater and they remain as evidence of the earlier coastal shipping use of Broken Bay and the Hawkesbury River. "It is also an important and representative example of the so-called 'coastal highway lighthouses' that were erected on the NSW coastline between 1862 and 1903."
While it says the cottages at the base are of lesser significance, the report says they should be restored and maintained. The site itself is also of significance for the local aboriginal community, the Guringai. A Native Title claimant group, the Bongarri Clan of the Darkungung Country People has laid claim over land from Newcastle to Manly and 96kms inland. It includes the Lighthouse and Peninsula.
The report urges restoration and preservation of the cottages in recognition of their contribution to the overall headland story and their potential to interpret the history of the earlier customs station. "If the buildings were simply researched, recorded and demolished, it would wipe away another cultural layer of the headland. Irrespective of their potential cultural value, the cottages represent a good opportunity in cultural tourism terms to raise revenue for the Service."
The report notes that the Commonwealth body AMSA which is handing the site over to NPWS did not manage the landscape very well and there is a great deal of restoration work to be done. The report also recommends upgrading the access track for walkers and limited 4WD access for residents of the cottages. The report can be viewed in Avalon Community Library.
There is supposed to be a series of reports on the status of the lightstations now under NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service management. None have appeared on the Service's Web site and our queries as to their availability have remained unanswered.
Anyone with any articles or stories effecting Australian Lighthouse are welcome to contribute them.
In August I announced my intention of leaving the Project and the intention of forming a incorporated body to take over. The response so far has been quite positive with interest from people with all sorts of backgrounds and skills.
There is a little bit of "red tape" to go though with a period of 3-4 weeks to actually form the body. Once this is done we can officially receive the new members and start to function as a group.
There is still time to throw your hat into the ring, whether it just be a financial member or direct involvement on the committee, web pages, the bulletin or some other aspect that could enrich the site.
The suggested memberships and costs are as follows:
To join, visit the Membership page.
Thanks to all the people who have put links to the site
Thanks to those who let me use their photos for thumbnails.
the Feb 2001 Bulletin
|The JANUARY 01 BULLETIN was published on: 10/01/01
Lighthouses of Australia Web Site First Published: 3/12/97
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