Lighthouses of Australia Project - JANUARY 00 BULLETIN
AUGUST 2001

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Features

Marguerite & Nick Stephen's NSW Trip: Part 2
Dick O'Neil's Tasman Island Tour of Inspection

Letters & Notices

Department of Scrounge

New Pages & Links

New Pages for Australia
New Links for Australia
New Links for World

Australian News

Montague Island Renovations
Cape Liptrap Landscaped
Double Island Point Re-Union
Double Island Point Leased Out
Unique Goods Island Lighthouse Close to Heritage Listing

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Dear Friends

The Vision

Sometimes I have to remind myself of the vision and why I started all of this.

Rather than focusing on the joy of having your fellowship in our common interest, sharing the stories, adventures and events that are all part of a process of building a community that is committed towards working for the preservation, protection and promotion of our lighthouse heritage I feel lately that I have got too caught up in the mechanics of continuing the Project and setting up Lighthouses of Australia Inc (LoA Inc).

Seeing it as a beast of burden, or a millstone around my neck. Saying to myself "Have I created a monster?"

I feel also that my illness may have taken the edge off me a bit and may have also lead to a feeling of frustration.

In someways there is a desire to return to the simpler days where we would go off on a trip, meet lots of interesting characters and photograph lights in fantastic places you would otherwise not get to. We would then whip up a report for the Bulletin and create a few more lighthouse pages and look forward to the next adventure.

Over the last weeks I have found myself asking what role do I really want in all this?

First of all I think we should look at the vision:

Personally I envisage us trying to build a community, both on the Net and in the REAL world.

    • A community of common interests.
    • A community that is concerned about the preservation, protection and promotion of our lighthouse heritage.
    • A community that is committed to work for the objectives that it believes in.
    • Most of all a community that comes together because they enjoy the fellowship of others with the same interests as outlined above.

How do I feel about continuing to contribute:

I see myself primarily as a launching pad. Having a vision, spawning ideas for others to pick up and run with, but not neccesarily taking them to fruition myself.

I have a clear vision of what LoA Inc can do. I feel a frame work is being set up where LoA Inc can attain a life and dynamic of its own but doesn't neccessarily need to refer back to me for direction and guidance.

For myself, even though I see a broad picture, but as far as active involvement I wish to mainly continue as Bulletin Editor and work on the Bulletin.

I am happy to continue on as founder/convener, but only as part of a team who all communicate, participate, work actively and patiently towards our goals.

So where can subscribers and members fit into the vision?

Often when I deal with subscribers and members they treat the Net as a restriction rather than a powerful tool and a HUGE gateway to the rest of the world.

I can understand the feeling of intimidation with the Net. It is new to all of us a at times can seem like an overwhelming learning curve.

But a lot of the contributions that can be made are really everyday things that can be done without the Net. The Net is often only the method of delivery.

I suppose it was a bit like moving from mail to using the the telephone 100 years ago. Even the concept of instant (almost) face to face, or should that be ear to ear communications must have been overwhelming.

But we can all contribute in the REAL world in simple ways. Thing like:

  • Finding records and other forms of research
  • Taking photos
  • Getting stories and anecdotes
  • Lobbying politicians, councillors etc.
  • Organising trips and tours and other activities
  • Creating resources for schools and researchers
  • Fundraising
  • Encouraging others to get involved and join
  • Talking to others about the issues
  • Adopting a lighthouse
  • Press releases
  • Media management, interviews etc.
  • Any activity that works towards the preservation, protection and promotion of our lighthouse heritage, and most of all
  • And most of all, enjoying the fellowship of one another.

Returning to the vision and remembering why we enjoyed working on the Project [Photograph: Composite]

The Sugarloaf Point LighthouseThis Months Bulletin

This month we see the second part of Nick and Marguerite's journey up the New South Wales Coast visiting the lights along the way.

 

The Cliffy Island LighthouseWe also have a fabulous report from Dick O'Neil sharing an experience he had travelling aboard the lighthouse supply ship, SS Cape York, along the East coast of Victoria and Tasmania in 1963.

 

The Cliffy Island LighthouseSome great letters this month including one from reknown folk singer Judy Jacques exploring her lighthouse ancestories in Bass Strait.

Four letters are centred around Cliffy Island with photos of the lifestyle on the island in the 1950s.

 

The Montague Island LighthouseThe main news this month is the renovation of the Montague Island Cottages with a report by mark Westwood of the Narooma Wildlife and National Parks office.

 

The Cliffy Island LighthouseThe Montague Island LighthouseThere is also a report from Denise Shultz on the landscaping of the area around the Cape Liptrap Lighthouse, the planned re-union for Double Island Point

 

The Montague Island LighthouseFinally the move towards heritage listing for the Goods Island Lighthouse.

Features

Marguerite & Nick Stephen's NSW Trip: Part 2

Marguerite & Nick Stephen's NSW Trip: Part 1: Jul 2001 Bulletin

[Marguerite & Nick Stephen]

The Cape Bailey Lighthouse at Kurnell [Photograph: Marguerite & Nick Stephen]
The Cape Bailey Lighthouse at Kurnell

[Photograph: Marguerite & Nick Stephen]

On Sunday morning we headed off to the National Park at Cape Bailey. From the sealed car park we trekked along the tessellated rocks of the cliff tops of Kurnell - great walk and well recommended. After photographing the Cape Bailey Lighthouse we were persistently monitored and escorted off their lighthouse patch by the resident crows. A group of 5 crows consistently flew from shrub to shrub, immediately along side the track, ensuring we departed or hoping for a large meal should we stumble and fall!

Mid Sunday afternoon was spent in park grounds below the cliff top that is the home for Barranjoey Lighthouse. Late afternoon we drove to the Pittwater Council car park immediately at the base of Barranjoey. The car park fee of $9.00 was a little surprising.

The (antipodean by order of Marguerite) Barranjoey Light Tower [Photograph: Marguerite & Nick Stephen]
The (antipodean by order of Marguerite) Barranjoey Light Tower

[Photograph: Marguerite & Nick Stephen]

To see Barranjoey Lighthouse, unless one has 4-wheel drive access permission or a helicopter, one has to undertake a steep uphill hike.
It is important to:

  • Be selective in regards to choice of footwear
  • To be of 'good' fitness
  • Exercise care when hiking over the rocky path climb or decent.

Allow a good 40 minutes to complete the upward journey - with regular rest/breath catching breaks along the way.

On the downwards return trip, that is 'slip-trip and fall', Marguerite fell face down and nearly broke her nose. After returning to Annandale and receiving creature comforts, sympathy, hot bath and a cup of tea, Marguerite was back to her cheerful self. As a punishment to Barranjoey, all photographs of this Lighthouse are to be hung upside down for a period of 7 days.

On Tuesday the 22nd we arrived at the delightful area of Port Stephens. Point Stephens Lighthouse is not easy to locate unless you study 'well detailed' map. We strongly suggest obtaining guidance from the Royal Coast Watch Patrol volunteers and or local fisherman prior to attempting a journey from the Fingal (mainland) to the Spit (land mass surrounding Fingal Bay).

Crossing the Spit to Point Stephens Can Be Quite Dangerous [Photograph: Ian Clifford]
Crossing the Spit to Point Stephens Can Be Quite Dangerous

[Photograph: Ian Clifford]

Often there are strong tides and multiple currents associated with waters in this vicinity. It is recommended that correct tidal information be obtained personal safety considerations undertaken and current information obtained from local sources prior to any serious attempt being undertaken to reach the Spit and Fingal Bay. Some people have drowned trying to make this crossing.

The Point Stephens Lighthouse [Photograph: Ian Clifford]
The Point Stephens Lighthouse
[Photograph: Ian Clifford]

Unfortunately we did not reach Fingal Bay. Local commercial hire boat company at Nelson Bay would not hire a vessel to us when the staff were told we wished to reach Fingal Bay. Seems to us that local hire boat company was only interested in hiring boats for small fishing journeys or taking money for dolphin tours. We contacted/telephoned several fishermen at Fingal in order to obtain a boat ride across to the Spit in order to then trek to Port Stephens lighthouse at Fingal Bay. Again no luck as one fisherman was booked and another could not take us out until the following morning.

The Sugarloaf Point (Seal Rocks) Lightstation [Photograph: Marguerite & Nick Stephen]
The Sugarloaf Point (Seal Rocks) Lightstation
[Photograph: Marguerite & Nick Stephen]

Wednesday afternoon we departed the beautiful Port Stephen's area and continued our Lighthouse tour to both Smoky Cape and Seals Rocks. At Seals Rocks we met the dedicated Mark Sheriff. Mark loves to paint lighthouses, surrounding cottages, sheds and the like and we believe he should be given an Australian Honour for his substantial efforts - he was even working on the Saturday morning that we chanced to meet him.

This man, Mark Sheriff, is Never Happy unless he is Fixing, Painting or Tinkering! [Photograph: Marguerite & Nick Stephen]
This Man, Mark Sheriff, is Never Happy Unless he is Fixing, Painting or Tinkering!

[Photograph: Marguerite & Nick Stephen]

Marguerite and Nick Stephen at the Bradleys Head Light [Photograph: Marguerite & Nick Stephen]
Marguerite and Nick Stephen at the Bradleys Head Light

[Photograph: Marguerite & Nick Stephen]

On returning to Sydney we located Bradleys Head Lighthouse, situated against the splendid backdrop of the harbour.

The Relocated Cape Bowling Green Tower at Darling Harbour [Photograph: Marguerite & Nick Stephen]
The Relocated Cape Bowling Green Tower at Darling Harbour

[Photograph: Marguerite & Nick Stephen]

For those lighthouse enthusiasts that also enjoy maritime history, then a visit to the National Maritime Museum at Darling Harbour and the relocated Cape Bowling Green Lighthouse is recommended.

Overall, with the exception of the Fingal Bay exercise, the lighthouse trip was both successful and enjoyable.

Marguerite and Nicholas Stephen.

Marguerite and Nick Stephen <marguerite.stephen@nre.vic.gov.au> [Photograph: Marguerite & Nick Stephen]
Marguerite and Nick Stephen
<marguerite.stephen@nre.vic.gov.au>
[Photograph: Marguerite & Nick Stephen]

Dick O'Neil's Tasman Island Tour of Inspection

[Dick O'Neil <rcon@pcug.org.au>]

Dick O'Neil shares with us a report and photographs of when he travelled on the Lighthouse Service ship he sailed on during an tour of inspection of the East Coast of Tasmania for the Public Works Dept in 1963.

Anchored off the Wilsons Promontory Lightstation [Photograph: Dick O'Neil]
Anchored off the Wilsons Promontory Lightstation
[Photograph: Dick O'Neil]

Two sizeable exercises, which I conducted personally, were in the then Department of Shipping and Transport. The first was a review of Lighthouse Workshops and the second, more or less springing from the first, a review of the Supply function in the Department.

Again these were very interesting, particularly the former. The Central Office of Shipping and Transport including the Director of Lighthouses was located in the old Rialto Building in Collins Street, Melbourne. At that time the lifts in the building were still operated by pulling a steel rope/cable (I had seen them before because Dad had worked in the building during the war). I mention these antiquated lifts because they were fairly symptomatic of the management style of the Lighthouse Service.

The Cliffy Island Lightstation is Perched on top of a Rugged Island [Photograph: Dick O'Neil]
The Cliffy Island Lightstation is Perched on top of a Rugged Island
[Photograph: Dick O'Neil]

Lifting Supplies Was a Precarious Operation at Cliffy Island [Photograph: Dick O'Neil]
Lifting Supplies Was a Precarious Operation at Cliffy Island
[Photograph: Dick O'Neil]

I won't go into much detail except to make a few observations. Gordon Laycock, the Director of Lighthouses was a delightful man but very old fashioned and conservative. I can best illustrate this by quoting him after some weeks of exhortation from me:

"You know, Mr O'Neil I have come to the conclusion that we (the Lighthouse Service) should formally participate in the Department of Works' Civil Works Programme (Construction) Programme."

It was really mandatory to do so.

Deal Island Taken From the Supply Ship in East Cove. The Jetty is Still There a Bit Ricketty But Still Usable. [Photograph: Dick O'Neil]
Deal Island Taken From the Supply Ship in East Cove. The Jetty is Still There a Bit Ricketty But Still Usable.
[Photograph: Dick O'Neil]

I might add that this was at the beginning of a process already commenced by the Department to convert manned Lighthouses to Automatic (acetylene, and subsequently, electronic) and of course the Works Department was responsible for all major construction for the Commonwealth Government. I had come to the conclusion fairly early in my review that most of the problem being experienced in the Workshops sprang from a lack of planning. It is interesting to recall that my recommendations in this regard were outside my terms of reference. This often happened in this sort of work and it was always a delicate exercise to decide how to handle it.

The Lighthouse Supply Ship, SS Cape York, Taken From the Top of the Hill Outside the New Quarters Above East Cove. [Photograph: Dick O'Neil]
The Lighthouse Supply Ship, SS Cape York, Taken From the Top of the Hill Outside the New Quarters Above East Cove.
[Photograph: Dick O'Neil]

Senior people on the administrative side of the Department of Shipping and Transport at that time included Tom Norris and Graham Andrews (who after went to the Albury/Wodonga Development Authority). The Deputy Director of Lighthouses was Les Ault.

Perhaps the highlight of this exercise was a trip on one of the two Departmental Lighthouse Vessels, the SS Cape York.

Looking at Cape Everard Lightstation (now Point Hicks) From a Porthole in the Supply Ship [Photograph: Dick O'Neil]
Looking at Cape Everard Lightstation (now Point Hicks) From a Porthole in the Supply Ship
[Photograph: Dick O'Neil]

I boarded the ship at Port Melbourne whence we sailed across to Gabo Island and then down the east coast of Tasmania, calling in to all the manned and unmanned lightstations on the way. I left the vessel in Hobart, so missed out on sailing up the rugged western coast.

The Goose Island Lighthouse From the Supply Ship [Photograph: Dick O'Neil]
The Goose Island Lighthouse From the Supply Ship
[Photograph: Dick O'Neil]

Included in the crew were a few Lighthouse Mechanics whose job it was to service all unmanned lights and to visit all manned Lightstations to carry out maintenance on the lights, lightkeepers' houses etc. All of this was under the control of the Regional Lighthouse Engineer from the Victorian Office.

At the outset I had determined that I would try to do everything the mechanics did. This, among other things, entailed travelling ashore on the Ship's motor boat and clambering up cliffs to reach the automatic lights. Some of these climbs were quite scary.

The Lemon Rock Lighthouse, Now Dismantled and in Boxes in the Hobart Depot [Photograph: Dick O'Neil]
The Lemon Rock Lighthouse, Now Dismantled and in Boxes in the Hobart Depot
[Photograph: Dick O'Neil]

The Hazards Create a Barrier Accessing Lemon Rock by Land [Photograph: Dick O'Neil]
The Hazards Create a Barrier Accessing Lemon Rock by Land
[Photograph: Dick O'Neil]

I took a lot of black and white pictures of the various locations but didn't write any details on the prints. Some years ago I came across the snaps which I had not identified and had been annotated by Bernadette:"101 photos of nothing by RCO'N."

It was also an education to meet Lighthouse Keepers and their families. I recall being quite surprised to find that they were just normal people! Most of them were ex sailors. The Director of Lighthouses, Gordon Laycock, knew all these people personally and took an avid interest in their welfare. One of the features of the Lighthouse Service was a very strong sense of belonging at all levels.

The Approach to Tasman Island [Photograph: Dick O'Neil]
The Approach to Tasman Island
[Photograph: Dick O'Neil]

The visit to Tasman Island off the South East Coast of Tasmania is worth recalling. Although it was a manned station the method of taking stores ashore was by a basket on a line between the coast of the island and a large rock in the sea.

The arrangement was for this bosun's chair to be winched to a small platform half way up a steep cliff face. From the platform a small tramway line ran to the top of a cliff where a 1923 Ronaldson and Tippet Engine made in Ballarat pulled a cable attached to a small flat trolley to the top. Communication was by an old fashioned telephone.

The Landing Platform and Tramway on Tasman Island [Photograph: Dick O'Neil]
The Landing Platform and Tramway on Tasman Island
[Photograph: Dick O'Neil]

The morning we arrived we went ashore at daybreak, probably by the bosun's chair. By breakfast time the Regional Lighthouse Engineer and his staff had dismantled the bosun's chair for maintenance so that we went back to the ship by motor boat to dine.

The workers ashore (mainly the ships crew) were highly amused when they saw the guy from the Public Service Board stuck with one foot on the motor boat and the other foot on shore. There was quite a heavy swell and it was only the skill of the Mate who was manoeuvring the motor boat that saved me from being crushed.

The Launch Used to Access the Islands [Photograph: Dick O'Neil]
The Launch Used to Access the Islands
[Photograph: Dick O'Neil]

Later that morning I was back on the platform half way up the cliff when I was asked whether I would like to go up to the top. I agreed and the lighthouse mechanic who was to accompany me and I duly mounted the little trolley to be pulled to the top.

View From the Tower of the Barren Landscape Which is the Tasman Island Lightstation. [Photograph: Dick O'Neil]
View From the Tower of the Barren Landscape Which is the Tasman Island Lightstation.
[Photograph: Dick O'Neil]

When I say mounted the method of transporting was for the two passengers to lie on their backs with their feet braced against a board. Half way up it became obvious to my companion that I was very nervous. He compounded my nervousness by recounting a couple of instances when the cable had broken, the little trolley on which we were prostrate raced out of control down the cliff, hit the terminus on the platform at full pelt, and then literally flew through the air the remaining twenty metres or so into the ocean.

I was awfully glad and breathed a great sigh of relief when we reached the top safely. It was then I saw that an old engine built in Ballarat by Ronaldson and Tippet in 1923, the year I was born, had provided the power for us to be towed to the top! My companion was highly amused at the whole incident.

I Left the Supply Ship at Hobart. [Photograph: Dick O'Neil]
I Left the Supply Ship at Hobart.
[Photograph: Dick O'Neil]


Letters & Notices

Graves on Goose Island

Hello

My Great Grandfather John Jacques and his brother Willam were keepers on Goose Island in the 1800's.

The Goose Island LighthouseI would like to know if anyone has an idea of who the six year old boy who drowned and is buried on the island I'd love to know!

I have a name in a Bible from Goose Island.which I can't place in the family.

The Bible belonged to William Jacques, my grandfather John's brother. He has written his name in the front. William Jacques Goose Island March 1st.1882.

I have since realisd now that the name in the back has nothing to do with the grave, as written in what appears to be Williams' hand, is "Wilton Jacques-Born May 14th.1854 Hobart". There is no record of this Jacques.

The Graveyard on Goose Island

Also in the Bible an entry "Nov.19th. Strange noises 10.55pm" So, A ghost!!!

William was married to a Sarah Randall and Lightkeepers' records show he began his Lightkeepers duties as a married man with two children, then for many years, until his retirement, records show him to be a single man, so, I'm interested in what happened to the children.

A thousand to one chance that the grave could belong to one of his children!

I have been working for two years, on a series of songs inspired by the Furneaux Islands ... family connections and history etc ... travelling to Flinders and last winter, lived in a cottage on Bass Strait for three months, me a me dog. I received an Australia Council grant to finish the project, which I am now recording.

I've made a couple of attempts to get out to Goose, the weather made that impossible..I hope to go to Flinders this month, so will have another try..the journey means a great deal to me.

If anyone has more info, I can be contacted at the above email, and would be grateful. thank you

This email is turning into an epic ... who knows a mystery may be solved ... a feeling also, although, can't trust a romantic!

We will keep in touch.

Judy Jacques <wilddoghill@bigpond.com>

King Island Lighthouse Keepers

The Currie LighthouseDear Sir / Madam,

In researching my family history, I have found that my grandfather was the lighthouse keeper on a King Island Lighthouse early in the 20th.Century, possibly around 1915.

The Cape Wickham LighthouseI was wondering if there are records of Lighthouse Keepers from this time, that could tell us which of the Lights he manned.

His name was Edward Garner.

I would be most appreciative to gain this information.

Yours faithfully,

David McKerrell <mcfresh@net-tech.com.au>

Cliffy Island Keepers, Photos and Cousins

Dear Sir / Madam

The Cliffy Island LighthouseWe are currently researching our family history and one of our ancestors was the Lighthouse Keeper at Cliffy Island during the early part of the 20th century.

His name was Richard Baker and was originally from America.

Is there any way of confirming this, particularly the dates he may have been there?

Your assistance in this matter would be greatly appreciated.

Regards,

Lynne Hall <davlyn@waterfront.net.au>
Phillip Island. Vic

Hi there

My name is Lyn Honeyman (nee Barratt). I spent some time on Cliffy Island as a child around 59/60 as my father George Barratt worked there.

We have some photos of the Island from around that time and I was wondering if anyone would be interested in obtaining some copies of them. We could scan them and send them via e-mail.

Please let me know.

Lyn Honeyman <lynh@honeyman.com.au>

Hello Malcolm,

I have just come across the new lighthouse site. It is so wonderful. For years I have tried to resolve a puzzle my mother left us with. She sometimes spoke of her cousin who lived in a lighthouse.

Some years ago I looked through published lists for the appropriate name, but without success. My mother's maiden name was Neenan and she always gave the impression that her family Lighthouse persons were her cousin Brian Neenan and his daughter June.

I have just found out today through an odd meeting of internet mails, that in fact the lighthouse people were June Neenan and her husband George Barratt. Hence I had never looked for the proper name.

He was lighthouse keeper on Cliffy Island in the about the 1950's I believe. I have spoken to June's daughter, Lyn, and hope to speak to June herself tonight or in the next few days.

If you would be interested in hearing something from her then I will see what we can get back to you.

Meanwhile is there any way to access details of these people from any published or archived source?

Congratulations on such a terrific site. I will be back on soon.

Gavin Moore <jgavinmo@ihug.com.au>
Melbourne

Hello Malcolm,

Thanks for your messages. I am just settling back into routine after a few weeks in China.

I had a big backlog of mail-email to catch up on so apologies for my delayed reply.

I contacted Lyn Honeyman and told her of the site and obviously she has now been in touch with you also. I expect to be back in contact with her and her mother shortly.

The Cliffy Island LighthouseCongratulations on such a well-presented site. After I have spoken with Lyn and her mother June we will get back to you with some further comments. June has some interesting things to say about her "time" at Cliffy.

Best wishes

Gavin Moore <jgavinmo@ihug.com.au>

 

Looking for Peter Frank Eckman, Keeper at Barrenjoey

The Barranjoey LighthouseHiya

I am currently doing my family tree. From family conversation it has been said that Peter Frank Eckman was a lighthouse keeper at Barrenjoey Lighthouse.

Is there anyway of checking this out?? He was Born abt 1848 at ??? Died 1925 in Stockton NSW.

Peter Frank Eckman, my Great Great Grandfather, was Married to Frances Philepina Melvey. The Melvey name is linked to the Hawksbury region.

Any Help would be appreciated

Regards

Paul Parsons <parsonsp@nobbys.net.au>

Lighthouse Keepers Gardens

Dear Sir

I am doing some research for a heritage landscape project.

Do you have any references, information or contacts about lighthouse keeper's gardens.

In what condition did they maintain the buildings surrounding landscape in the period between 1880 & 1935?

I am assuming many would have had goats and cows, and therfore it would have been grassy?. Did the keepers keep gardens other than for vegetables ? Any help would be most appreciated.

Thanks Mark Watt <sweeney@froggy.com.au>

Feel free to post any request, letters, notices here regarding research, events etc for any Australian Lighthouse on this notice board.

<keeper@lighthouses.org.au>


Department of Scrounge:

If anybody has any of this material on any Australian lighthouses including the ones listed at the Department of Scrounge it would appreciated, especially the high priority ones:

  • Original Colour Photographs
  • Historical Photographs or Postcards
  • History, experiences and anecdotes
  • Technical History

Please eMail <Keeper>


New Pages & Links

New Pages for Australia:

No new pages for Australia this month

New Links for Australia:

No new links for Australia this month

Also, New Links for World:

No new links for World this month

If your e-mail does not display in HTML these pages can be accessed from the "New Listing for Month Index" at <http://www.lighthouses.org.au/lights/New/Index%20New.htm>


Australian News:

Taking Care of Montague Island Keepers' Cottages

[Mark Westwood <risingtide@narooma.com> National Parks & Wildlife Service].

Last month we had Marguerite and Nick Stephen's report on their trip to Montague Island where they mentioned that the keepers cottages were being renovated. This month we have a report from Mark Westwood of the Narooma National Parks & Wildlife Service who escorted Marguerite & Nick to the Island.

The Newly Restored Montague Cottages From the East. Head Keepers House on the Left (1999). [Photograph: National Parks & Wildlife Service Narooma]
The Newly Restored Montague Cottages From the East. Head Keepers House on the Left (1999).

[Photograph: National Parks & Wildlife Service Narooma]

There's been a lighthouse on Montague Island, 9km off the NSW south coast, for nearly 120 years. The keepers were housed in what were described as "lofty and commodious" quarters, high on the granite summit, steadfastly facing east above the relentless pounding of the Tasman Sea.

This tight little community existed until the 1960's, when electrification reduced the keepers to two, then one keeper after automation of the light in 1989, and finally de-manning in 1993, with the replacement of keepers by National Parks and Wildlife staff which continues today.

The Montague Cottages from the Balcony of the Lighthouse Tower (2000). [Photograph: National Parks & Wildlife Service Narooma]
The Montague Cottages from the Balcony of the Lighthouse Tower (2000).

[Photograph: National Parks & Wildlife Service Narooma]

The original three dwellings still stand, comprised of a separate Head Keepers residence of 6 rooms, close to a duplex of two Assistant Keepers residences of four rooms each and sharing a central wall. Each house has separate kitchens, storerooms, and laundry/toilets. There are also several "sheds" nearby.

All the buildings are currently functional in one way or another:

  • The roomy Head Keepers residence is "home" for resident National Parks & Wildlife Service staff, stationed on the Island for twelve-month periods.
  • National Parks & Wildlife Service relieving staff and various researchers, mainly associated with Charles Sturt University, use the northern-most Assistant Keepers residence.

Eastern View of Cottages Showing Replaced Gutters, Repainting Completed (2000). [Photograph: National Parks & Wildlife Service Narooma]
Eastern View of Cottages Showing Replaced Gutters, Repainting Completed (2000).

[Photograph: National Parks & Wildlife Service Narooma]

A feature of the National Parks & Wildlife Service Plan of Management for the Island was the decision to fully restore the central Assistant Keepers residence to a close approximation of its 1890 condition, and to develop it into a "Museum in the Making" for tour groups to walk through and experience life as a keeper as though the family had just stepped out. To this end, the National Trust (NSW) have been contracted to purchase authentic furnishings, and to provide reproduction fittings such as blinds and floor coverings, as well as signage to help visitors to understand life as a 19th century keeper and family.

Restoration of One of the Veranda Corner 'Nooks' (1992). [Photograph: National Parks & Wildlife Service Narooma]
Restoration of One of the Veranda Corner "Nooks" (1992).

[Photograph: National Parks & Wildlife Service Narooma]

People can be assured that repairs and renovations are only carried out following detailed research and within the conventions of the "Burra Charter", a national agreement for managing historic sites. The external features of the buildings are thus faithful to the late 19th century, while in the two "occupied" buildings the interiors are modernised to allow for all the creature comforts.

Antique Oil Lamp in Hallway of Museum Cottage. Regularly Lit for Evening Tours (2000). [Photograph: National Parks & Wildlife Service Narooma]
Antique Oil Lamp in Hallway of Museum Cottage. Regularly Lit for Evening Tours (2000).

[Photograph: National Parks & Wildlife Service Narooma]

Key architectural features of the buildings, originally designed by Colonial Architect James Barnet, include:

  • High "matchboard" ceilings.
  • Thick, rendered brick walls.
  • Slip-jointed, ironbark floors.
  • Australian Cedar cupboards, doors, windows, and internal trims.
  • Slate mantelpieces above coal fire grates in every room.
  • Posted verandas with cosy "nooks" acting as shelters from the wind

View of Bedroom in Museum During Restoration, Showing Reproduction Cedar Cupboard, With Original on Left (1992). [Photograph: National Parks & Wildlife Service Narooma]
View of Bedroom in Museum During Restoration, Showing Reproduction Cedar Cupboard, With Original on Left (1992).

[Photograph: National Parks & Wildlife Service Narooma]

The buildings have all been substantially altered over the many years, and there are stories concerning certain keepers being "in trouble" for the work they did without permission, including the knocking through walls for doorways.

Courtyard of 'Museum in the Making' (2000). [Photograph: National Parks & Wildlife Service Narooma]
Courtyard of "Museum in the Making" (2000).

[Photograph: National Parks & Wildlife Service Narooma]

By 1987, when the National Parks & Wildlife Service assumed management of the Island, some of the buildings were in a poor state and extensive preservation works had to be undertaken to deal with leaking roofs, as well as internal drainage and dampness issues. Much of the internal rendering had "failed", exposing the old bricks underneath.

The'Failed' Render, Interior of Museum Cottage, Prior to Restoration (1992). [Photograph: National Parks & Wildlife Service Narooma]
The"Failed" Render, Interior of Museum Cottage, Prior to Restoration (1992).

[Photograph: National Parks & Wildlife Service Narooma]

To date, renovations to all buildings have included:

  • Roof and guttering replacement and painting.
  • Stripping of paint from the cedar, re-finishing
  • Floor sanding and polishing
  • Removal of failed rendering, replace and re-paint (in 19th century colours)
  • New kitchens in the "occupied" buildings
  • Replacement of cedar cupboards with locally made reproductions
  • Window repairs, replacement and restoration
  • Replacement of the lower parts of the rotted veranda posts with seasoned ironbark, sitting on stainless stirrups.

Interior Of Museum Cottage Bedroom, Showing Restored Cedar Cupboard, Reproduction Blinds and Curtains, Antique Oil Lamps Which are Lit for Evening Tours (2001). [Photograph: National Parks & Wildlife Service Narooma]
Interior Of Museum Cottage Bedroom, Showing Restored Cedar Cupboard, Reproduction Blinds and Curtains, Antique Oil Lamps Which are Lit for Evening Tours (2001).

[Photograph: National Parks & Wildlife Service Narooma]

With up to 6,500 visitors per year, profits from Montague Island tours make a notable contribution towards these projects, in particular the "museum in the making" which means every paying visitor helps out in some way to keeping the spirit of the keepers alive for future generations to share.

Come see for yourself. Fully guided, three to four hour tours run daily depending on minimum numbers and the weather. Book through Narooma Visitors Centre (02) 4476 2881 or Narooma National Parks & Wildlife Service (02) 4476 2888.

Cape Liptrap Landscaped

The Freshly Painted and Landscaped Cape Liptrap Lighthouse. [Photograph: Bonnie Shultz]
The Freshly Painted and Landscaped Cape Liptrap Lighthouse
.
[Photograph: Bonnie Shultz]

Things are changing around Cape Liptrap Lighthouse as I could witness during my recent visit to the area.

The lighthouse is situated about 180km south east of Melbourne on a narrow promontory jutting south into the Bass Strait. The lighthouse has been built on cliffs that are so geologically interesting that many geologists, gem fossickers as well as casual visitors brave the steep, ill-defined path down to the sea level. After defying the slippery soil and unstable, wobbly stones, the lucky observer is rewarded with a close up view of many layers of sedimental mudstone (turbidite) twisted and folded into tortured shapes by geological forces. Walk along the wave cut rock platforms will reveal the lighthouse from a very unusual perspective.

The Lighthouse and Cape Liptrap Jutting Into Bass Straight. [Photograph: Ed Kavaliunas]
The Lighthouse and Cape Liptrap Jutting Into Bass Straight.

[Photograph: Ed Kavaliunas]

The area around Cape Liptrap and close by Walkerville has been declared Cape Liptrap Coastal Park in 1997.

The lighthouse is relatively new, dating from 1951 when it replaced the steel structure erected in 1913. It stands on a concrete platform surrounded by flat rocks giving way to bushes towards the inland. The car park at the end of a gravel road is only about 30m from the lighthouse.

Until Last Year the Site Was Unattended and Heavily Eroded. [Photograph: Ed Kavaliunas]
Until Last Year the Site Was Unattended and Heavily Eroded.

[Photograph: Ed Kavaliunas]

Up until the end of last year the place was just left in its natural state with soil erosion and plant destruction around the lighthouse going on unchecked. The signs marking the access to the lighthouse were so small that it was very hard to find.

Well, no more!

With the number of visitors increasing, Parks Victoria decided to do something about it. The signs marking the access to the lighthouse are now prominently displayed, the road is well maintained and the car park has been resurfaced with gravel. Area adjacent to the lighthouse has been completely landscaped. The tower as well as the car park is now fenced off to protect the coastal bushes around it. There are bays equipped with picnic tables. The area behind the fence is being rehabilitated for vegetation.

The Lighthouse Reserve has Now Been Fenced, Revegetated and Paths Have Been Constructed. [Photograph: Bonnie Shultz]
The Lighthouse Reserve has Now Been Fenced, Revegetated and Paths Have Been Constructed.

[Photograph: Bonnie Shultz]

To conclude, the place now looks much more civilised and "touristy" than it was a year ago but the changes fit the landscape very well and should actually prevent further destruction of this spot so cherished by geologists as well as lighthouse lovers.

Double Island Point Re-Union

The Double Island Point Lighthouse [Photograph: Denise Shultz]
The Double Island Point Lighthouse

[Photograph: Denise Shultz]

You may remember we have mentioned in previous Bulletins that Marion Borchart, the lady from Queensland, is organising the reunion at Double Island Point for past lightkeepers, their families and descendants.

Cyril Curtain of the ALA (Australian Lighthouse Association) has received a letter from Marion telling us it's on Sept 5th.

She is working on a history of Double Island Point and Inskip Point and would welcome any contact with families associated with these lights. She would both like to receive and share info.

She has school records dating from the 1880s and would be pleased to help with anyone seeking their family history in the Great Sandy Region.

Marion can be contacted at:

PO Box 278
Rainbow Beach 4581
Queensland
AUSTRALIA.

Double Island Point Leased Out

The Double Island Point Lighthouse [Photograph: Denise Shultz]
The Double Island Point Lighthouse

[Photograph: Denise Shultz]

Only a titbit, but Marion also informs us that the Double Island Point Lighthouse has been leased out to the Noosa Parks Association. One can only assume that they are a conservation based organisation. Week will try to get further information for a future issue.

Unique Goods Island Lighthouse Close to Heritage Listing

[ABC News On-Line - © 2001 Australian Broadcasting Corporation]

The Australian Heritage Commission has recognised a Torres Strait lighthouse that has been guiding ships to safety for more than 100 years.

The beacon on Goods Island, west of Thursday Island, has been entered onto the Interim List of the Register of the National Estate.

It was built in 1877, after the State Government recognised the area's importance to pearl farmers.

The Goods Island Lighthouse is Close to Attaining Heritage Listing [Photograph: John Ibbotson]
The Goods Island Lighthouse is Close to Attaining Heritage Listing

[Photograph: John Ibbotson]

Commission chairman Peter King says the lighthouse is the only one of its kind in the state.

"Back in 1887, Ernest Powell, a single man and his family went there with a flash lamp and flags and signalled across to the police magistrate on Thursday Island but in 1886, a proper lighthouse was constructed by government labour and it's believed to be the only one entirely built that way in the whole of the Queensland coast."

Mr King says the lighthouse formed part of the country's defences against invasion in World War II.

He says it was strategically placed in 1886 to spot any potential enemy attack through the Torres Strait, while fulfiling its basic role of guiding ships through stormy waters.

He says the lighthouse has served Australia's north well.

"Torres Strait was a vital location in Australia's defence against invasion by the Japanese and it was an important beacon for warning the coastal defences of any possible approach by the Japanese forces."

If you know of any news or event effecting an Australian Lighthouse please forward it to us so we can publish in the Monthly Bulletin.


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Thankyou


Thanks to the Following People for Their Help in June:

Lew Dickson (Research Material)
Jane Britten, Woollahra Library (Research Material)
Merryn Bolger (Photographs)
Alison Collins (Photographs)
Annette Flotwell (Photographs)
Charley Moon (Research)
Russ McGuiness (Book List)
Steve Bettwy (Photographs)

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 September 2001 Bulletin
Malcolm Macdonald

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


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