Lighthouses of Australia Project - OCTOBER 00 BULLETIN
DECEMBER 2001

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Features

Lighthouses From the Air: Part 4
Winsome & Lloyd To Go To Tasmania
ALA and LoA Join Forces
Alice & Job Symonds: Pioneer Lightkeepers of Breaksea Island

Letters & Notices

Department of Scrounge

New Pages & Links

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

Australian News

Fond Memories at Double Island Point Re-union
Deal Island Voyage Cancelled
Award for Wollongong Breakwater Restoration
US Lighthouse Society Tour of Australia
Lighthouse Book is Now Available

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Dear Friends

Confetti.gif (2855 bytes)Confetti Right.gif (2601 bytes)Project's 4th Anniversary

Whoa! Unbelievable, 4 years later, 48 Bulletins and over 75 lighthouse pages. The establishment of Lighthouses of Australia Inc (LoA Inc).

We have come along way with many supporters joining in to help with our objectives of Preserving, Protecting and Promoting our beautiful Australian lighthouses.

Along the way we have made many friends and as we move forward I am sure we will make many more.

The last year has been a particularly hard year for myself with my adjusting to the situation with my health. But, dear friends, the Project as much as it has become a labour of love, emhasis of labour, it also give me a reason to get up in the morning. I don't know what's worse, having a mountain of email to answer everyday or none!

I would like to thank you for all of your support, including the LoA Committee, the Members and the Subscribers.

ALA and LoA Joining Forces

We are entering into an exciting era that will aid us in moving forward into the New Year and beyond.

After much negotiation the ALA will combine forces with LoA Inc to make LoA Inc the sole voice for lighthouse issues in Australia.

This will bring together a wealth of experience, contacts and create a stronger financial base to become an more effective force.

LoA Inc welcomes all the ALA members to our Association.

This Month's Bulletin

The 4th installment of Lloyd and Winsomes' epic journey around Australia by air.Another bumper issue. A little bit heavy in the text and light-on for photos but there were a few business issues that had to be dealt with.

The Lighthouse from the Air saga continues to give us a comprehensive view of most of our lights as they continue their circumnavigation of Australia with the report of the Lloyd and Winsomes' adventures as their way up the West Coast.

Winsome & Lloyd are noe planning to go To TasmaniaNot satified with this great epic Lloyd and Winsome are off again, this time to complete the journey by circumnavigating Tasmania.

Alice & Job Symonds: Pioneer Lightkeepers of Breaksea IslandGet an insight into what lighthouse life was like for our earley pioneers with the story about Job and Alice Symonds who began their married life on Breaksea Island off Albany.

Fond Memories at Double Island Point Re-unionIn News this month we have the report on the Double Island Point reunion with some interesting insights into lighthouse life over the 20th century.

Unfortunately the Deal Island trip has been cancelled.

Award for Wollongong Breakwater RestorationThe restorers of the historic Wollongong Breakwater light have received the Engineering Heritage Award for their work.

The US Lighthouse Society are doing a tour of Australia in March 2002 and John Ibbotson's new lighthouse book is now available.

Malcolm Macdonald is the founder and convener of Lighthouses of Australia
Malcolm Macdonald
Bulletin Editor
<keeper@lighthouses.org.au>

[Photograph: Marguerite Stephen]


Features

Lighthouses From the Air: Part 4

"Westward Ho!"

[David Hurburgh <hurburgh@access1.com.au>]

Lighthouses From the Air: Part 1
Lighthouses From the Air: Part 2
Lighthouses From the Air: Part 3

Very heavy rain had held up our adventurers on The Nullarbor for 4 days. With the weather fining up, it was time to get airborne once more.

Tuesday May 15 ~ Nullarbor to Caiguna

After all the rain, it was important to make sure that the dirt strip at Caiguna, the next destination, had dried out so that the Cessna could land safely.

A strong, drying wind was blowing right across the Flying Doctor (RFDS) strip at Nullarbor, but the side-on wind direction wouldn't make for a safe take-off. Lloyd looked for an alternative. There was a straight gravel road nearby, which had the right length and was parallel to the wind. Seen from the motel, it must have looked strange to see a Cessna 172 taking off from a stubble-filled paddock.

Strong headwinds meant the ground covered in this day's flight would be limited to getting to Caiguna. Lloyd and Winsome had hoped to reach Esperance today, but Caiguna had to be the overnight stop. It's normally a very quiet little place, but there was a 75-man road gang in residence. This large crew has the job of repairing the Eyre Highway.

Wednesday May 16 - Caiguna to Esperance

The windsock at Caguina. [Photograph: Winsome Bonham]
The windsock at Caguina.
[Photograph: Winsome Bonham]

There was a foggy start to the day, but it soon burnt off and VH-RNL could now head west towards Esperance. After the limestone cliffs, which define the edge of the Great Australian Bight, the coast was now beginning to open up. There are white beaches, blue water, and sheltered coves and spectacular large, grey rounded granite outcrops from here to Albany.

At last they were back in lighthouse country, even if the first on this sector were just the GRPs on Figure Eight and Cull Islands near Esperance Harbour.

Accommodation for the night was at the historic hotel at Gibson Soak, a little town 25km north of the coast. Lloyd needed to get a WA gun permit here, but there was a delay before a suitably senior police officer could be located. He was elsewhere, busy arresting a murderer. Welcome to the Wild West!

At Caguina the best sunrise that Lloyd and Winsome have ever seen. [Photograph: Winsome Bonham]
At Caguina the best sunrise that Lloyd and Winsome have ever seen.
[Photograph: Winsome Bonham]

On a tall hill behind Esperance, the local Rotary club has built a lookout offering a spectacular panorama. Winsome thought the view here was almost as good as that from the plane.

Thursday May 17 ~ Esperance to Albany

The first light to be orbited for the day was the Mary Ann Haven beacon at Hopetoun. It was right next to the local golf course. It is very dry country here and the golf tees and greens are black for they put oil on sand to make the tees and putting surfaces. It's certainly not quite St Andrews' standard, but water is in short supply.

Albany was another hour along the coast. King George Sound is the big harbour here, with an important light on Breaksea Island. From the air, you can see the ruins of the old keeper's cottages.

At the Eclipse Island light it looks like the old lantern room has been removed, with a new automatic light placed up on the original tower. On the landward side of Eclipse a flying fox runs from the jetty to the light.

Winsome noted a lighthouse on Cave Point. This wasn't on their list. Before landing at Albany, Lloyd circled the Emu Point light tower.

Albany is a great place for visitors. Local attractions include unusual landforms such as the Natural Bridge. Up until the early 1970's Albany was a major whaling port. The old factory, where the catch was "processed" is now a key tourist destination. It's called "Whale World".

On top of Mt Clarence, just behind the town, there is a memorial to the "Desert Mounted Corps". At night, the view over Albany is spectacular. You can spot the lighthouses way out on the islands in the expansive Sound.

Friday May 18 ~ Albany to Bunbury

Kings Point light was the first objective for the day. It's close by the large wheat silos at the port. Anchored offshore was a large naval vessel. On the other side of the peninsula is the Cave Point lighthouse. It is characterised by large water tanks attached to the building. The next light was along the coast at D'Entrecasteux Point.

It was now time to start heading north. The Cape Leeuwin lighthouse, near Augusta, marks the south-west corner of the Australian continent. The Leeuwin area was first visited by the ships of the 17th Century Dutch explorers and was a very important landfall for shipping in the early days after they had crossed the Indian Ocean, running before the "Roaring Forties".

The wind was blowing hard here at Cape Leeuwin. There was lots of turbulence, so Lloyd didn't take the Cessna below 1,000 feet. Winsome thought the conditions were a little scary.

The next light was at Foul Bay. It was hard to spot from the air, since it is quite a small structure with a location half way up the side of a hill. The winds were still turbulent and making low-level flight risky.

Between Capes Leeuwin and Naturaliste is the rapidly growing and highly regarded Margaret River wine region.

The Cape Naturaliste light is high on a headland. It is a beautiful, traditional structure with a circular sandstone tower. An attractive and informative museum is now contained within the light buildings.

Bunbury was to be the overnight stop. It's a busy and prosperous regional city. Our aviators stayed (very appropriately) at "The Lighthouse Beach Resort", immediately adjacent to the Casuarina Point Light, with its boldly marked, black and white checked tower.

Saturday May 19 ~ Bunbury to Perth (Jandakot)

Our fliers were now heading up the coast towards Perth, the capital city of Western Australia. The first lighthouse for the day was Woodman Point on the outskirts of Fremantle, the historic port city that serves Perth.

Two breakwaters define the entrance of Fremantle Harbour. On the heads of the breakwaters are South Mole and North Mole lights, which are painted green and red respectively. When heading into harbour these colours show shipping the starboard (right) and port (left) sides of the entrance channel.

About 15km offshore Fremantle is Rottnest Island. It's a busy holiday destination for locals and there was a lot of air traffic buzzing around. There are 2 lights on Rottnest. One is in the centre of the island called Main Light, and the other is at Bathurst Point.

Lloyd at the controls of RNL. [Photograph: Winsome Bonham]
Lloyd at the controls of RNL.
[Photograph: Winsome Bonham]

Lloyd was flying in controlled airspace now as they approached Perth. The airport for general aviation is at Jandakot. Coming into an unfamiliar area, airports in built-up areas can be hard to spot. On pointer Lloyd uses is to see which way all the other light aircraft in the vicinity are heading! Land transport at Jandakot is a problem, with the nearest hire cars available at Perth International Airport. This is an expensive taxi ride away.

May 20 & 21 - Perth

An important 100 hourly service for the Cessna was now due. The aero-engineering company Celsius Hawker Pacific did the work on VH-RNL. The service took all of Monday, which gave our friends time to see the sights of Perth and Fremantle including the old convict-built Prison and the harbour. It was an opportunity to catch up with chores such as their laundry and e-mails.

Tuesday May 22 ~ Perth to Geraldton

The plane was in good shape, and was now ready for the next sector up the west coast of WA. The first light on the plan was Wreck Point. Guilderton was next. It reminded Winsome of the Troubridge Hill light she'd seen earlier in the trip on the Yorke Peninsula (SA). It's terracotta-coloured, brickwork tower is very distinctive.

After heading out to sea, the Escape Island light was orbited and then it was back to the mainland and in order to follow the coast up to Point Moore. This light is located on the outskirts of Geraldton. It is a tall, red and white, banded tower.

Driving in from the airport Winsome was surprised to see all the vegetable farms along the road. The climate at Geraldton is considered WA's best and is the food bowl for Perth.

On the ground for their stopover, Winsome and Lloyd visited the historic St Francis Xavier Cathedral. There is a little museum in the cathedral's crypt where the first bishop's regalia are displayed.

That afternoon they drove out to Point Moore to see the lighthouse from ground level, but a high chain wire fence prevented a close look.

Winsome and Lloyd enjoyed a pleasant drive around the harbour after dinner that night. All the small craft activity in the harbour and the navigation beacons with their flashing lights made quite a picture.

Next Month. Part 4 "West by North West"

Our aviators continue up the West Coast of WA. This section of the trip will take them from Geraldton through to Derby with the focus on the 20 significant lighthouses that guard this stretch of coast.

The Breaksea Island Lighthouse near Albany. [Photograph: Winsome Bonham] << Click for larger image.
Click to view lighthouse locationThe Breaksea Island Lighthouse near Albany.
[Photograph: Winsome Bonham]

The Eclipse Island Lighthouse near Albany. [Photograph: Winsome Bonham] << Click for larger image.
Click to view lighthouse locationThe Eclipse Island Lighthouse near Albany.
[Photograph: Winsome Bonham]

The Cave Point Lighthouse near Albany. [Photograph: Winsome Bonham] << Click for larger image.
Click to view lighthouse locationThe Cave Point Lighthouse near Albany.
[Photograph: Winsome Bonham]

The Cape Leeuwin Lighthouse where the Southern and Indian Oceans meet. [Photograph: Winsome Bonham] << Click for larger image.
Click to view lighthouse locationThe Cape Leeuwin Lighthouse where the Southern and Indian Oceans meet.
[Photograph: Winsome Bonham]

The Foul Bay Lighthouse near Augusta. [Photograph: Winsome Bonham] << Click for larger image.
Click to view lighthouse locationThe Foul Bay Lighthouse near Augusta.
[Photograph: Winsome Bonham]

 

Matthew Flinders 200th Anniversary

As a side-note for those who like history, December 7th 2001 marks exactly 200 years since Matthew Flinders named Cape Leeuwin. The early Dutch and French thought the headland was an island lying offshore that region of the mainland, which they called Leeuwin and Nuyt's Land. It was at this point that Flinders commenced the famous first circumnavigation of Australia.

This voyage in 1801-1803 led to Flinders naming our continent (and country) Australia, thus replacing the earlier terms New Holland and Terra Australis. Lloyd's and Winsome's trip perfectly mirrors that of Flinder's voyage 200 years earlier. How appropriate that Flinders named so many of the headlands and coastal features which later had lighthouses built on them --- and these lights are now the subject of this series of articles!

 

The Cape Naturaliste Lighthouse near Dunsborough. [Photograph: Winsome Bonham] << Click for larger image.
Click to view lighthouse locationThe Cape Naturaliste Lighthouse near Dunsborough.
[Photograph: Winsome Bonham]

The Casuarina Point Lighthouse at Bunbury. [Photograph: Winsome Bonham] << Click for larger image.
Click to view lighthouse locationThe Casuarina Point Lighthouse at Bunbury.
[Photograph: Winsome Bonham]

The Woodman Point Lighthouse south of Fremantle. [Photograph: Winsome Bonham] << Click for larger image.
Click to view lighthouse locationThe Woodman Point Lighthouse south of Fremantle.
[Photograph: Winsome Bonham]

The South Mole Lighthouse at Fremantle. [Photograph: Winsome Bonham] << Click for larger image.
Click to view lighthouse locationThe South Mole Lighthouse at Fremantle.
[Photograph: Winsome Bonham]

The North Mole Lighthouse at Fremantle. [Photograph: Winsome Bonham] << Click for larger image.
Click to view lighthouse locationThe North Mole Lighthouse at Fremantle.
[Photograph: Winsome Bonham]

The Main Rottnest Island Lighthouse near Perth. [Photograph: Winsome Bonham] << Click for larger image.
Click to view lighthouse locationThe Main Rottnest Island Lighthouse near Perth.
[Photograph: Winsome Bonham]

The Bathurst Lighthouse on Rottnest near Perth. [Photograph: Winsome Bonham] << Click for larger image.
Click to view lighthouse locationThe Bathurst Lighthouse on Rottnest near Perth.
[Photograph: Winsome Bonham]

The Guilderton Lighthouse at Moore River. [Photograph: Winsome Bonham] << Click for larger image.
Click to view lighthouse locationThe Guilderton Lighthouse at Moore River.
[Photograph: Winsome Bonham]

The Escape Island Lighthouse near Jurien Bay. [Photograph: Winsome Bonham] << Click for larger image.
Click to view lighthouse locationThe Escape Island Lighthouse near Jurien Bay.
[Photograph: Winsome Bonham]

The Pelseart Island Lighthouse off Geraldton. [Photograph: Winsome Bonham] << Click for larger image.
Click to view lighthouse locationThe Pelseart Island Lighthouse off Geraldton.
[Photograph: Winsome Bonham]

The Moore Point Lighthouse at Geraldton. [Photograph: Winsome Bonham] << Click for larger image.
Click to view lighthouse locationThe Moore Point Lighthouse at Geraldton.
[Photograph: Winsome Bonham]

Winsome & Lloyd To Go To Tasmania

[David Hurburgh <Hurburgh@access1.com.au>]

Following the great success of Lloyd and Winsome's round-Australia (Lighthouses from the Air) flight earlier this year, they are now planning to head off to the deep south, and are going to "do" Tasmania.

They will depart their base at Maitland (NSW) on December 29 and will arrive on Flinders Island on New Years Day. It will be a real treat seeing the range of important lights on the Furneaux Group of islands, from an airborne perspective. They plan to be at Wynyard, on the NW coast on the 3rd and then into Hobart on the 4th.

The magnificent Tasman Island and Cape Pillar. [Photograph: Ed Kavaliunas]
The magnificent Tasman Island and Cape Pillar.
[Photograph: Ed Kavaliunas]

On the January 5 they will do a circuit around the Tasman Peninsula where the highlight will be the Tasman Light and its spectacular location sitting atop the 1,000 foot vertical cliffs of Tasman Island.

After a few days in Hobart they will head down south to see the famous (and photogenic) Cape Bruni and Maatsuyker Island lights. After a stopover at Strahan and seeing the lights of the rugged West Coast (including Cape Sorrell and Hells Gates), it will be back north to King Island (Cape Wickham) by the 10th and into Melbourne on the 12th.

The Iron Pot Lighthouse, Australia oldest continuous tower. [Photograph: Ed Kavaliunas]
The Iron Pot Lighthouse, Australia oldest continuous tower.
[Photograph: Ed Kavaliunas]

Readers may wonder why Lloyd and Winsome's trips involve flying clockwise around the coastlines. With Lloyd as pilot in the traditional aviator's left-side seat, the photographer (Winsome) in the right-hand seat has to be closest to the landside when over the water. This allows Winsome to get an unobstructed viewpoint for her cameras, when looking towards the coast.

The total planned distance for the Tassie trip is 3,500 nautical miles with 38 hours in the air.

Lloyd's flight plans have identified and targeted 68 Tasmanian lights to be photographed. In addition they will re-do 29 Victorian and southern NSW lights, where conditions earlier this year weren't optimal.

There will be strong local interest in Lloyd and Winsome's trip, for Tasmania prides itself on its maritime heritage.

This trip will appear in the Bulletin as the last segment of the Lighthouses from the Air series.

ALA and LoA Joining Forces

[Malcolm Macdonald (LoA) <keeper@lighthouses.org.au> & Cyril Curtain (ALA) <Cyril.Curtain@spme.monash.edu.au>]

Long-time Australian Lighthouse Association (ALA) members may recall that a column was started in their newsletter, Prism, called "Lighthouses and the Internet" in 1995. At that time, the "Net" appeared to be a new, fast and cheap way of contacting people overseas about lighthouse news and issues, which we would disseminate via medium of the printed word in Prism.

The World Wide Web was just making its appearance and it was hosting a few sites on individual lighthouses. These were typical of Web sites of the time, being on-line brochures with little updating and disappearing often as quickly as they appeared. Nevertheless, expansion over the next few years cemented the "Net" in place as a means of rapid communication between people interested in our lighthouse heritage.

Indeed, conservation groups of all kinds realised that here was a fast, cheap and attractive way of putting their point of view across. They saw it as an effective way of levelling the playing field where they were contesting the power of big government and corporations. At this point, the ALA began to consider the advantages of having its own Web site, possibly having it hosted by Vic-Net, like so many other community organisations.

As they were contemplating the advantages and disadvantages of this approach, Malcolm Macdonald appeared on the scene with the Lighthouses of Australia Project (LoA).

Aside from being an Australian effort, Malcolm's project offered a completely different model to any that we had seen or contemplated.

Firstly, the project was to be a genuine work in progress, carried forward by the co-operation of a wide network of contributors. Its dynamism had a further dimension in that it used the properties of the World Wide Web to provide links to all other sites of interest, be they government, corporate or community.

Secondly, and very importantly, the project issued a monthly e-mail bulletin of news and comments, which was also archived on the site.

This approach provided an unrivalled means of communication, not only between lighthouse enthusiasts but also with a wider audience, including museum curators, historians and individuals seeking information about their ancestors, to name a few whose queries have appeared in the Bulletin.

From the outset, the ALA recognised the importance of the project and sought to actively support it. Those members of the ALA with Internet access voted with their modems and signed up for the Bulletin anyway, resulting in a considerable overlap between the supporters of both groups.

Earlier this year (2001) the incorporation of the LoA and its inaugural meetings were largely carried out over the "Net". This demonstrated that it was possible to manage a very complex exercise involving geographically spread members without having expensive face-to-face meetings.

The ALA's administration has become progressively more diffuse and informal over the twenty years of its existence because of this problem of geographical spread. Clearly, the LoA's model could be an excellent example of how to re-focus the ALA.

The officers of the ALA asked themselves, however, was refocussing the ALA enough. Whichever way we looked at the problems of communication and advocacy, it appeared that the ALA and the LoA were developing as parallel organisations with the same aims, but with the former using the printed word as its primary means of communication and the latter using the "Net".

Many ALA members, who also receive the Bulletin by e-mail, are also aware that it shares content with the ALA newsletter, Prism. They are also aware that Prism only carries a fraction of the Bulletin's content, because of space limitations and because it is only published quarterly compared with the monthly Bulletin.

It was very clear that both organisations not only had common objectives but could achieve a great deal of political clout by working closely together. The evolution of LoA also demonstrated that having a branch into the Internet was just a more powerful way of mobilising more people and facilitating those objectives.

Also, with the mooting of the World Lighthouse Society, a world body representing lighthouse societies, the question will inevitably arise of which of the two parallel organisations would represent Australia. The older ALA or the LoA with its strong Web and Internet culture? Since the international body to be effective must also be Web and Internet based the ALA felt it would make sense for our country to be represented by the LoA.

All of these points make a strong case for the two organisations to join forces in a formal way. From both points of view, the exercise would be a genuine coming together of the ALA and the LoA.

On its side, the LoA is very conscious of looking after the objectives of the ALA and its membership. The ALA would bring to the joint effort its 20 years of experience in campaigning for lighthouse heritage and its international contacts. In turn LoA would bring a whole new dynamic to achieve the objectives of the ALA.

Malcolm Macdonald is the founder and convener of Lighthouses of Australia

Malcolm Macdonald
Lighthouses of Australia Inc.

 

 


Cyril Curtain
Australian Lighthouse Association

Cyril Curtain is the secretary of the Australian Lighthouse Association

Negotiation have taken place over the last 6 months between Cyril Curtain of the ALA and Malcolm Macdonald of LoA. Some of the ground rules would be.

  1. There is a difference in individual membership subscriptions. The ALA being $15 and LoA being $25. Existing ALA members who have paid annual dues of $15 would be granted a membership of LoA for the first year 2001-2002. Where members are members of both in that year the $15 for the ALA 2001-2002 membership will be credited against the normal LoA dues for the 2002-2003 membership year. LoA will introduce a new concession rate of $15 so as not to disadvantage ALA members of limited means.

  2. Prism would become the members' newsletter of the combined group and would be published every two months instead of quarterly, and would endeavour to carry the best and most relevant of the Bulletin's text and pictures. We emphasise that those members who are not connected to the Internet would receive a better Prism than previously. Prism would also remain the organisation's publication of record, i.e. continue to be deposited with the National Library of Australia.

  3. Members with computers who are not connected to the Internet would have the option of receiving by mail the Bulletin bi-monthly on floppy disc (CD?) instead of a Prism.

  4. Members who had subscriptions to both organisations would effectively receive a discount, but still have the benefit of receiving Prism.

  5. Legally, the proposition would be a transfer of ALA assets and membership to LoA and would require no change in the latter's constitution. The final entity would be still formally known as LoA Inc.

A vote was put to the ALA membership in the Spring Prism where a clear majority supported the proposition.

There was no need for a vote on the LoA side as there was no constitutional issues involved.

The LoA committee is meeting next week to consider the ALA proposal which for all intensive purposes is likely to be accepted.

This will allow us to move into a new year with combined resources and objectives. Not only will the outcome revitalise the former ALA, but will assist LoA Inc to continue with it's objective of building a strong, dynamic national force intent on promoting, preserving and protecting our Australian lighthouse heritage.

Alice & Job Symonds: Pioneer Lightkeepers of Breaksea Island

Ever wonder what happens with the many requests for information on ancestors who were keepers?

Most people report that the responses are more than satisfactory and sometimes quite surprising. In Feb 2001 we had a request from Scott Player in the US looking for information on Job Symonds of keeper Albany. Ric McDonald, a descendant of Job, contacted us recently saying that he had information on Job's wife Alice, but that Scott was no longer at the e-mail address he gave us in February.

Ric had attached the information written by his father Ean McDonald and some local clippings. We found it to be such an insight into the lifestyle and difficulties experience by our early pioneer lightkeepers that we decided to reproduce it here.

Hi Malcolm

Job was also my Great Grandfather and I have been trying to respond to the posting by Scott Player but his e-mail address seems to be incorrect, it comes back undeliverable.

This information was written by my father Ean Mc Donald whose mother Eve was born to Job and Alice Symonds in Albany, whilst Job was a lighthouse keeper.

These stories shed some light on life in a coastal lighthouse in the late 1800s.

Please acknowledge Ean McDonald, Perth, Western Australia, as the author of this document and note that the Battye Library, Perth, WA, also holds this and other information on Job Augustus Symonds keeper at Breaksea approximately 1887 to 1901.

Ric Mc Donald <ricmcd@iinet.net.au>

ALICE SYMONDS (nee Cook) 1860 - 1952.

Alice Cook arrived at Albany as a passenger aboard RMS "OROYA" on 5th May 1889, from Bradwell near Maldon in Essex, to marry her sweetheart Job Symonds who had forsaken the sea to settle in Australia and was then one of the three Lighthouse Keepers on Breaksea Island in King Georges Sound off Albany. Job had preceded her by two years and had sent for her as he settled into his job there.

The first Breaksea Lighthouse (1857) where Job and Alice lived with the second (1901) tower in the background. [Photograph Courtesy: Ric McDonald]
The first Breaksea Lighthouse (1857) where Job and Alice lived with the second (1901) tower in the background.
[Photograph Courtesy: Ric McDonald]

They were married immediately on the day of her arrival, in a wedding that was unique. It was celebrated in the Lighthouse itself with only the families of the Lightkeepers in attendance. In the absence of usual trimmings the people used the bunting of the signal flags. The colours may have confused Alice then, but over the years she grew to know them all and the signals they represented, as she helped her husband in his studies for his Harbour Master Ticket.

Her marriage licence had been specially granted by Governor Broome, recognising the urgency of the situation of the lonely little lady fresh from the homeland.

The wedding was performed by the Rev. James of Albany who accompanied the little blue eyed bride out from Albany in the sailing dinghy to the rocky island that was to be her home for so many years.

This is the landing and only access on and off the island. Donkeys used to cart the goods up the 100 meter distance to the cottages and store rooms. [Photograph Courtesy: Ric McDonald]
This is the landing and only access on and off the island. Donkeys used to cart the goods up the 100 meter distance to the cottages and store rooms.
[Photograph Courtesy: Ric McDonald]

Her arrival must have been quite an experience, and for many years afterwards she used to tell the story of the harrowing trip in the tiny boat with just her, the preacher and the boatman. She was concerned for her appearance, as she had to wear her grey silk wedding dress and large feathered hat on the journey, and had to climb up the high swaying rope ladder from the rocking dinghy to the frail jetty above and to the final security of the rocky cliff top away from the surging seas.

This trip she made again and again as she became pregnant and in her final weeks was lowered down in a boatswains chair or clambered down the shaky ladder to be shipped in to the mainland to have yet another of her early babies. Then it was back up again to the top until the next one.

Job & Alice at Breaksea in 1890. This photo is very interesting. You may notice Job is holding what appears to be a mutton bird (cock bird) which he used to train to fight ... but then again ... he is rumered to have owned a little monkey ... so could have been ... the monkey ... but ... it looks more like a cock bird. On the water tank is a rifle and there is also a bird in a cage. Alice appears to be 'with child'. [Photograph Courtesy: Ric McDonald]
Job & Alice at Breaksea in 1890. This photo is very interesting. You may notice Job is holding what appears to be a mutton bird (cock bird) which he used to train to fight ... but then again ... he is rumered to have owned a little monkey ... so could have been ... the monkey ... but ... it looks more like a cock bird. On the water tank is a rifle and there is also a bird in a cage. Alice appears to be "with child".
[Photograph Courtesy: Ric McDonald]

These years were borne with true pioneer spirit in spite of the hardships of life on the remote island. The worst she remembered were the shortages. Supplies came only once monthly weather permitting. Often there was no meat because it had become flyblown, and no vegetables because they quickly went sodden. Rabbits infested the island so it was virtually impossible to grow vegetables. They lived for long periods on rabbits or mutton bird and boiled stinging nettles.

The original house section which was the base of the light house. Further deteriation has taken place since this photo was taken in 1987. [Photograph Courtesy: Ric McDonald]
The original house section which was the base of the light house. Further deteriation has taken
place since this photo was taken in 1987.
[Photograph Courtesy: Ric McDonald]

Whilst there is no mention officially of Alice's advent or the wedding or her occupation of her little cottage at the bottom of the lighthouse, there are delightful snippets in the logs of the Harbour Master of the time.

On 16th May 1889,just nine days after the wedding, there is the note "Harbour Master visited the island with men to refix chimney and put in new fireplace...".

Now when you knew my Grannie, you knew that she had quickly objected to the awful fireplace she was asked to use for cooking, so the simple note tells us a lot of "history between the lines".

So again on 17th May "Boat to Breaksea to fetch over tradesmen to do work left to finish the chimneys and ovens. Sent over to Symonds, One new oil coat" ( ?for Alice ?)

Again on 1st July "Steam launch to Breaksea with building material" and on 16th July "New stovepipe".

Yet again on 31st July "Douglas ordered to Breaksea by Government Resident with Mr Cutting the Contractor and his men ... also quantity of stores...".

11th August ... "to Breaksea - four Suits of overalls - one new copper lamp - ...".
11th Sept ..."One new suit for Asst Keeper (Symonds)".
28th Sept. ... "sent over Cutting - the Contractor - with 50 bricks - 300 feet timber - and 2 irons for patent chimney...".
16th October ... "Harbour Master to Breaksea with Mr Parry (Could have been Architect Parry ) to inspect the buildings lately erected by the Contractor.

So we see plenty of evidence that Alice Symonds had the spirit that makes a true Australian. She was not going to be pushed around. She stood up for her rights way back then.

The log for 1889 to 1893 is filled with scriblings in pencil and crayon. That had to be the Symonds children asserting their personalities.

Besides making her little cottage into a home and keeping it spick and span and raising her babies, Alice assisted her husband in his studies for advancement. If he was on duty high up in the lighthouse, she would tuck her babies into bed and then sit at the window signalling back and forth to him in mirror flashed Morse Code the questions and answers about his course subjects together with corrected answers, and no doubt with a felicitation or two so he could appreciate her.

The keepers were sometimes keeping "watch on watch", that is four hours on and then four hours off, throughout every day for weeks.

On day shifts Alice would send her messages by semaphore or if there were no ships around, by International Code signal flags hoisted up the nearby mast. Sometimes the wind sweeping across Breaksea would almost haul her tiny body up the mast with the flags.

Later she could laugh about all this but appreciate her husband's comments that he could never have passed the exams without the aid of "the little woman".

The second lighthouse with the original in the background. Note there is now a keepers cottage. [Photograph Courtesy: Ric McDonald]
The second lighthouse with the original in the background. Note there is now a keepers cottage.
[Photograph Courtesy: Ric McDonald]

Job became Chief Keeper during 1891 and stayed on Breaksea until 1894, when they moved into Albany as he was promoted to the staff of the Harbour Master.

They moved to Rottnest Island in 1901, when Job was appointed a Pilot for the approaches to Fremantle. That brought Alice some compensations even if it was only the weekly kill of fresh meat by the Aborigines imprisoned on that island and quartered in "The Quad".

However, she had frequent concerns and anxiety as her husband put to sea constantly in the whaler or the deal lugger in extremely rough seas out beyond the Island to meet ships for passage into Fremantle. Many were the ships of sail and steam that he shepherded safely about the reef strewn waters.

He would often be away for days until it was calm enough for his crew to get back again.

Her concerns could well have been amplified by the reputation Job had as a very daring sailor, and the constant record of wrecks around the island.

In his story you can read of one of his exploits that became famous in its day.

The second (1901) tower with the ruins of the first tower and keepers cottages. [Photograph Courtesy: Winham Bonham]
The second (1901) tower with the ruins of the first tower and keepers cottages.
[Photograph Courtesy: Winham Bonham]

The Aborigines were no problem. In fact they were often assisting in household tasks such as wood chopping and cleaning. The children grew happily in a paradise for them.

The Governor used to bring his family over frequently for holiday jaunts and there were many evenings of music and fun. Job played a concertina well and sang many comic songs and Alice had her own small repertoire so they were in constant demand at the parties.

A later move to Bunbury, with Job as Harbour Master, brought better times again, but when he was offered the job of Master at Geraldton, Alice felt it was just too remote and refused to go.

They decided to become farmers, and pioneered out to Darkan, a thirteen mile wheelbarrow jaunt from the railhead at Bowelling with all their gear. With her husband often at sea Alice stayed with her young family in a one room stone house in the bush, playing a major part in establishing the farm.

A more recent shot of the tower with ruins of the original lighthouse and cottage in the background. [Photograph Courtesy: Ric McDonald]
A more recent shot of the tower with ruins of the original lighthouse and cottage in the background.
[Photograph Courtesy: Ric McDonald]

The older boys began to be valuable, but they were trying to grow apples on 160 acres about a hundred miles north of the final apple growing country. The rabbits ate the bark of the trees and the kangaroos ate the apples, so it was not until some years later, and on larger properties that they all became more successful.

Alice lived in her little house in Darkan as the boys prospered, to own the Hotel, the sleeper cutting contracts and their farms.

She lived with her daughters until Chrismas Day 1952 dying quietly in Perth at the age of 92 (which was all she would admit to ).

Breaksea Island Lighthouse

 

 

 

Date built:

 

1857

Date first operated:

 

Jan 1st 1858

Cost to build:

 

637 pounds

Built by:

 

Convict labour under supervision of Royal
Engineer Capt. R.E. Wray.

First keepers

 

Mr James Hannay & 2 assistants, Mr. N. Gamble & Mr. W. Hill

Salary:

 

68 pounds per year

Original light powered by

 

Kerosene

Communication prior 1887:

 

Morse Code & Semaphores

Communication after 1887:

 

Telephone

Tower Material & Height:

 

Tower 6 meters height "Stone"

Material of base (house):

 

Granite & iron roofing

Size of island:

 

4 1/2 miles long x 3/4 mile wide

 

 

Date 2nd Lighthouse built:

 

1901

 

 

[Source: Albany Advertiser, Feb 19th 1981]

Letters & Notices

Thanks From Pate Amass, Bob Knight and John Armacost

The Cape Cleveland Lighthouse from the Air. [Photograph: John Armacost]
The Cape Cleveland Lighthouse from the Air.
[Photograph: John Armacost]

Hi Malcolm

Looks like I finally solved the mysteries of using an American modem on an Australian telephone system and found a couple of motels with a good enough telephone system to use it.

Pete AmassPete Amass, Bob Knight, and I would like to thank you for all your help in setting up our Australian adventure. The trip hasn't gone quite as planned but the information provided by you and our other Australian contacts allowed us to make the changes necessary to make it a successful trip.

We arrived in Cairns a bit late after missing our connection in Sydney.

Bob KnightWe started down the coast Sunday. North Queensland was a lot of driving and very few lighthouses. South Queensland and Northern New South Wales was a bit better and we got some good pictures.

Then the rains came. After a day of sitting around a motel watching it rain and hearing predictions more to come, we decided to make a run for the south and, we hoped, sunshine. John ArmacostTwo days of hard driving brought us to blue skies and sunshine on the Victoria coast.

Now we're heading back towards Sydney, picking up lighthouses as we go. Today was a beautiful day for a trip to Montague Island.

We fly back to LAX on Friday.

John Armacost <jba44@earthlink.net>

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:

Fond Memories at Double Island Point Re-union

[Edited from the Gympie Times by Steve Merson <merson@bigpond.com>]

A view of the lightstation when still manned. The cottage has since been removed. [Photograph: Gympie Times]
A view of the lightstation when still manned. The cottage has since been removed.
[Photograph: Gympie Times]

The children of the lighthouse keepers spent a great deal of their childhood isolated, but they "loved it." They were envied by other children - but at the time, they took what they had for granted.

Madeline Leek, Phil Shanahan and Ivo Rooke retraced their childhood steps during a recent visit to the Double Island Point lighthouse. The reunion, instigated by Marion Borchert, was organised by the Rainbow Beach Business and Tourism Association who also invited a former lighthouse keeper and his wife, and a National Parks employee who had lived in the keeper's house for seven years. Each gave a different perspective of the life they had lived there.

Madeline Leck cuts her 90th birthday cake during the re-union. [Photograph: Gympie Times]
Madeline Leck cuts her 90th birthday cake during the re-union.
[Photograph: Gympie Times]

Madeline Leek was the guest-of honour, celebrating her ninetieth birthday at the reunion. She was born in Maryborough on September 3, 1911 and was brought to Double Island Point when she was five months old. Her sister Doris was born there three years later. Madeline had four sisters and one brother.

"We had to make our own fun," she said. "We made a cubbyhouse and painted it with white wash; we played games, explored the islands and came across a lot of snakes; I grew up frightened of snakes." Madeline also grew up not knowing how to swim. "We'd been fishing one day and I nearly drowned; I never learnt to swim after that because I was too frightened." Her parents, Walter and Annie Christoffersen were stationed there for eight or nine years.

"I have nothing but fine memories of my time at Double Island Point," she said. "I remember we had a smoke house and dad would smoke fish if he caught too many for us to eat. When meat was in short supply, we would eat the smoked fish. We had fowls, but no cattle - my mother made everything with powdered milk. My fondest memory is of walking along the beach with my mother. I wish I could have lived here forever; it will always be home to me." Madeline said she never lost touch with the sea, having married a Maryborough man who was a ship builder.

Ivo Rooke recalled his experiences at Double Island Point during the 1930s and 1940s. [Photograph: Gympie Times]
Ivo Rooke recalled his experiences at Double Island Point during the 1930s and 1940s.
[Photograph: Gympie Times]

Ivo Rooke was nine when he arrived at Double Island Point on September 22, 1938. His father, Viv, was an assistant lighthouse keeper who had been stationed at Cape Capricorn and Pine Islet, out from Mackay, before coming to Double Island Point on the government steamer, Cape Otway. Ivo recalls, "I was terribly sick; we anchored in the bay and came ashore in a lifeboat; I was sick for a day and a half. I remember looking at the coloured sand and thinking how lovely it would be if it would only stand still." Ivo remembers there being many death adders on the island and the family dog was kept busy chasing them. "Tourists would come up from Tewantin with old Bill Massaud who brought us supplies from local businesses. The supply ship from Brisbane also brought goods to us."

Phil Shanahan pointing out one of the stumps from the original cottages. [Photograph: Gympie Times]
Phil Shanahan pointing out one of the stumps from the original cottages.
[Photograph: Gympie Times]

Phil Shanahan's father was a lighthouse keeper at Double Island Point for six months in 1982. "Dad was working at Bustard Head lighthouse when two of the houses burnt down that year, which is probably why he was sent to Double Island. I was only two months old when mum and I arrived with Bill Massaud, so I don't remember anything at all." Nonetheless, Phil has fond memories of life at other lighthouse stations, especially as a "turtle jock"', riding the ocean creatures as if they were horses. Phil shared his islands with three brothers and one sister. "We'd explore the islands and walk along the goat track. I was on the same islands as Ivo, but we didn't meet any of the other lighthouse children."

Ross Pope spent 13 years in the lighthouse service and was stationed at Double Island Point in 1960 with his wife, Anita. "We came from Low Island to Double Island Point," Ross said. 'I knew Ivo's father, but not Phil Shanahan's father. "Some aspects of our life were difficult", Anita explains, "I taught all our six children by correspondence between 9am and 4pm and we'd have the normal breaks; it was a long way to the beach and you had to watch them all the time because of the cliffs".

Former residents of Double Island point are from the left: Phil Shanahan, Ivo Rooke, Ross Pope, Anita Pope and Madeline Leck. [Photograph: Gympie Times]
Former residents of Double Island point are from the left: Phil Shanahan, Ivo Rooke, Ross Pope, Anita Pope and Madeline Leck.
[Photograph: Gympie Times]

Ross said he loved his life as a lighthouse keeper. "It was a great sense of achievement. You had to be compatible with the other keepers", he ventures,
"When we went from a two cottage station to a three cottage station, the two assistants would usually gang up on the lighthouse keeper".

Stan Powell was working for National Parks when the lighthouse was automated and de-manned. He was given the caretaker's job for three months.
"But I was there for seven years," he laughed. "My main duties were in the park, but we lived up here and maintained the house and grounds."
Stan said his fondest memory of his time at the lighthouse was Christmas with his grandchildren. "When we left Double Island Point, our eldest grandson was about eight and he was worried that Santa would not know where to find him."

Deal Island Voyage Cancelled

The planned trip to do clean up work on Deal Island that was publicised last month has been cancelled due to availability problems with the ship.

We will let you know if an alternative trip is to be arranged.

Award for Wollongong Breakwater Restoration

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

The Institution of Engineers (Australia) Sydney Division has awarded the restoration of the Old Wollongong Lighthouse the prestigious Engineering Heritage Award. This award was presented at the Institutions' annual Engineering Excellence Awards in Sydney. This award is presented for excellence in the conservation and recording of items of heritage significance as well as education and raising awareness in engineering heritage achievements.

The Regional Manager of the Department of Land and Water Conservation, Mr Brian Dooley, said "since the lighthouse was built in 1872 it has become a major icon of the City of Wollongong and winning this award against other high quality projects such as restoration of the Woolloomooloo Wharf Redevelopment in Sydney is quite an achievement for the Illawarra."

From left Paul Lee - Water and Sewerage Manager, Garry Clarke - Lake Illawarra Coordinator, Lisa Wilkinson the MC on the night and Kim Stephenson, Project Manager for the restoration of the lighthouse. [Photograph Courtesy: Kim Stephenson]
From left Paul Lee - Water and Sewerage Manager, Garry Clarke - Lake Illawarra Coordinator, Lisa Wilkinson the MC on the night and Kim Stephenson, Project Manager for the restoration of the lighthouse.
[Photograph Courtesy: Kim Stephenson]

The restoration work was completed under the direct supervision of the Department of Land and Water Conservation to ensure the heritage value of the lighthouse was retained.

"The restoration process used mostly local tradesmen and incorporated original techniques and materials with modern systems to ensure that the structure will continue to stand for future generations. I would like to pay particular tribute to Mr Brian Rogers, a local historical archaeologist, for his very positive involvement in guiding the project to ensure the final product remained true to the original construction methods," Mr Dooley said.

Restoration of the lighthouse was undertaken by Tolco and Steamit, both local companies.

The lighthouse was was originally designed by E. O. Moriarty, a prominent colonial civil engineer who played a major part in the establishment of many maritime structures along the NSW coast, including works at Wollongong Harbour in the 1860's.

Funding of $300,000 for the works was allocated by the Minister of Land and Water Conservation, Mr Richard Amery following support from the Member for Wollongong, Colin Markham MP.

Reinstating the restored lantern room onto the restored Wollongong Breakwater tower. [Photograph: Ian Clifford]
Reinstating the restored lantern room onto the restored Wollongong Breakwater tower.
[Photograph: Ian Clifford]

The Department of Land and Water Conservation is the manager of Crown Lands which contain some of the most significant historical structures in the State. Places such as Wollongong Harbour are managed by the Department while keeping in mind the heritage aspects of an active working harbour.

"The Lighthouse has had a long and interesting history, looking over the many vessels that have entered and left port during the time when this harbour was the 3rd busiest in NSW" he said.

The lighthouse had an operational life of 102 years to the day, ceasing operation on the 1st of March 1974.

Recognising the significance of the lighthouse the Department undertook a Conservation Management Plan in 1996 which investigated the history of the structure, looked at the condition of the ironwork and assessed its significance.

The dedication of the restored Wollongong Breakwater Lighthouse. [Photograph: Ian Clifford]
The dedication of the restored Wollongong Breakwater Lighthouse.
[Photograph: Ian Clifford]

The condition of the base was found to be poor with corrosion having completely removed sections of the iron plates. The condition of the paintwork also needed to be urgently addressed. Higher up corrosion had caused a serious breakdown of cast iron work that needed to be replaced.

In assessing the lighthouse the Conservation Management Plan found that the lighthouse was of exceptional historical significance as it was the first of only two wrought iron lighthouses designed and built in Australia with fully enclosed towers, the other being Warden Head at Ulladulla which was also a breakwater light before being moved to its present location.

Future plans include the floodlighting of the tower and the exhibition of the light with its character at the time of its last operation.

Links:
Bulletin Feb 2000 Wollongong Breakwater Lighthouse
Bulletin Feb 2001 Stage One Renovations Finished at Wollongong Breakwater

US Lighthouse Society Tour of Australia

The US Lighthouse Society Logo.34 members of the US Lighthouse Society, San Francisco Branch are coming to Australia to tour the lights from Sydney to Cape Nelson.

The group will arrive Sydney February 28, 2002, and depart Melbourne March 15.

Society member Mike Fisher says that their aim is to see as many "lights"as possible.

Some members, including Wayne Wheeler the president of the Society, are staying on to see other areas of Australia.

I am sure that as in the past subscribers and members will offer their hospitality and support.

Lighthouse Book is Now Available

A mock up of the cover before going to press. [Image: John Ibbotson]
A mock up of the cover before going to press.
[Image: John Ibbotson]

John Ibbotson's fantastic new book "Lighthouses of Australia - Images from the End of an Era", previewed last month, is now available for sale and is a must for any lighthouse enthusiast.

John's New South Wales Launch was held in conjunction with the 100th anniversary celebrations of the Cape Byron Lighthouse. As part of the celebrations John had the privelige of presenting of presenting a copy to the NSW Governor.

He is considering holding the launch for Victoria will be held at Portland sometime in January or February 2002.

You can order your copy by filling out any of the order forms at the links below and forwarding your payment.

Word Format Order
PDF Format Order
HTML Format Order

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 November:

Mike Sloane (Photos and Info)
Dan Holloway (Photo)
Denise Shultz (Everything)
Anthony Frater (Photos and Info)
Ian Beasley (Anecdote)
John Kerr, Cape Don (Photos and Info)
Des Hanlon (Photos and Info)
Rick Smallman (Photo)

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 January 2002 Bulletin
Malcolm Macdonald

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


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