Lighthouses of Australia Project - APRIL 00 BULLETIN

VOL 5 No 7
JULY 2002
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Dear Friends

Features

NSW South Coast Lighthouse Expedition - Barranjoey Head
Pauline O'Brien Visits from Western Australia
Deal Island 1933

Letters & Notices

Department of Scrounge

New Pages & Links

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

Australian News

Barranjoey Tower Now Open
Cape Leeuwin Maintenance
Pine Islet On The Move

Help Cape Schanck Multimedia Presentation
World Lighthouse Society Meeting
Hawaii Finds Another Solution

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Dear Friends

Local Group Expresses Concerns About Cape Otway

Several weeks ago I had the pleasure of giving a presentation to Friends of Cape Otway Station (FOCOS) at their Annual General Meeting in Apollo Bay.

I spoke on "Tourist Lighthouses in Victoria" and outlined briefly the main 6 and then examined Cape Nelson as a good example of a privately managed station and Gabo Island as a good example of a publicly managed station. The members of FOCOS found this interesting as they were able to compare their own Cape Otway Lightstation with other stations that were being used in a similar manner.

The reason for this is that both FOCOS and Lighthouses of Australia have received expressions of concern from the general public about the state of Cape Otway. It seems that of the 6 regularly open to the public in Victoria the Cape Otway Tower is at the bottom of the list.

FOCOS has also been concerned about the deterioration of the Cape Otway tower and reserve and is due to do it's annual inspection of the lightstation which it has invited LoA to join as they they were due to do one as well. This will result in a combined report which if necessary will enable FOCOS and LoA to bring to the attention of the responsible parties any action that needs to be taken regarding the lightstation

On the bright side FOCOS has worked hard to achieve funding to help enhance the lightstation by installing flood lighting for the Tower at night, restoring to the Telegraph Station Complex (the largest and most significant) and the recent reconstruction of the flagstaff.

Is important to understand that this is now a heritage property under the control of Parks Victoria and leased to a private tourist operator. Even though it still has the romance of being a lightstation the tower no longer operates as a lighthouse and it falls back on the lessees, the responsible authorities and community organisations to ensure that she is preserved for the enjoyment of future generations.

As well as recommending that all members who have nominated Cape Otway as their Home Group become a member of FOCOS I would hope that all other subscribers would join too and show that you care about this regions most valuable historic building.

Malcolm, Ed and Corinne get ready for the climb to the Barranjoey Lighthouse in the distance. [Image: Denise Shultz]Barranjoey Head Lighthouse

New South Wales' Barranjoey Head Lighthouse is our lighthouse of the month with it being both featured in the final installment of Malcolm and Eds' NSW South Coast Lighthouse Expedition and also in the lead News article on the restoration and opening of the the lightstation for tours.

This Month Also Features

Malcolm, Ed and Corinne get ready for the climb to the Barranjoey Lighthouse in the distance. [Image: Denise Shultz]It is a big country and a big world that the Internet makes smaller and brings us together but still nothing works quite like getting together and meeting face to face. Read all about it when Pauline O'Brien tells us of her visit from Western Australia.

Malcolm, Ed and Corinne get ready for the climb to the Barranjoey Lighthouse in the distance. [Image: Denise Shultz]Get a great insight into life on Deal Island in the middle of the 20th Century with a combination of a radio transcript by Roderick Johnston with photos and description by Max Huxley.

This Month's Other News

Malcolm, Ed and Corinne get ready for the climb to the Barranjoey Lighthouse in the distance. [Image: Denise Shultz]A quick update on AMSA's recent maintenance of Cape Leeuwin Lighthouse.

Malcolm, Ed and Corinne get ready for the climb to the Barranjoey Lighthouse in the distance. [Image: Denise Shultz]Sharon Fielden tells us the reasons behind the decision to move Pine Islet Lighthouse again and the concerns of the local lighthouse preservation group.

Tony from Cape Schanck needs your help to create a multimedia presentation for their museum.

Malcolm, Ed and Corinne get ready for the climb to the Barranjoey Lighthouse in the distance. [Image: Denise Shultz]World Lighthouse Society has set a date to hold it's inaugural meeting in London. This is an opportunity for all groups such as ourselves around the World to get together and create a strong alliance.

We have our concerns about the demanning, automation and eventual disposal of lighthouse heritage properties. Sometimes it is good to see how someone else approaches it when Hawaii finds another solution different to ours.

Malcolm Macdonald is the founder and convener of Lighthouses of Australia

Malcolm Macdonald
Bulletin Editor
<keeper@lighthouses.org.au>
[Photograph: Marguerite Stephen]


Features

NSW South Coast Lighthouse Expedition - Barranjoey Head

[Malcolm Macdonald <keeper@lighthouses.org.au> with additions by Ed Kavaliunas <edkav@pipeline.com.au>]

Narooma to Sydney

Malcolm, Ed and Corinne get ready for the climb to the Barranjoey Lighthouse in the distance. [Image: Denise Shultz] Malcolm, Ed and Corinne get ready for the climb to the Barranjoey Lighthouse in the distance.
[Image: Denise Shultz]

Leaving Narooma after a quick bite to eat, the drive takes us up through Bodalla and Moruya, with a short rest break at Batemans Bay. Next comes Ulladulla, where we see our first evidence of the devastating bushfires that razed the bush around Sydney in December and January. Blackened trunks for mile after mile, twisted armcos' and seared signs, but already regrowth is apparent after only a few months. The trees have a soft green covering of new leaf growth, evidence of the recuperative ability of the bush.

We continue up through Nowra, eventually arriving in Kiama, where Ian and Anne Clifford will kindly accommodate us until after our annual dinner at Wollongong on Tuesday night.

The view from the balcony is tremendous. [Image: Ed Kavaliunas] The view from the balcony is tremendous.
[Image:
Ed Kavaliunas]

Monday is a bit of a rest day. Malcolm has dialysis in Wollongong, and I have an opportunity to visit a favourite aunt in Sydney.

Tuesday sees us heading through Sydney where the traffic is horrendous. Why did I expect anything else, I have been here many times before.

We finally get to Pymble Railway Station where we have arranged to meet Denise and her daughter Corinne.

From here the run to Palm Beach is much better and about 50 minutes later we are at the car park at the foot of the Barranjoey Headland around midday.

The narrow neck that attaches the headland to the northern suburbs of Sydney. [Image: Ed Kavaliunas]
The narrow neck that attaches the headland to the northern suburbs of Sydney.
[Image: Ed Kavaliunas]

Corinne is excited as the beach here is where they film the TV soapy "Home and Away". We have passed Alf's Diner and discover that they are filming today. Corinne is tempted to see if she can be an extra and we jokingly say that this maybe a better option for her than the climb to the lighthouse. If you watch the show, and who doesn't, you will often catch the headland with the tower in the background of scenes.

The Baranjoey tower and oil room. [Image: Ed Kavaliunas] The Barranjoey tower and oil room.
[Image:
Ed Kavaliunas]

The fee at the car park is hefty: $5 weekdays, $9 weekends. I wonder whether the Pittwater Council is exploiting the area's notoriety.

I had been to view Barranjoey years ago but am still horrified to realise how abrupt the headland is and am a little anxious about the climb up to the lighthouse.

Trip to Barranjoey

Head from car park along beach towards the National Parks and Wildlife Service cottage at the base of the path to the light. Rough and at times steep the path is made up of large irregularly laid stones.

The path is also the 4WD access up to the lightstation. Driving up to the tower can take longer than walking up!

A hard climb is rewarded by scenery and meeting interesting people. [Image: Malcolm Macdonald]

A hard climb is rewarded by scenery and meeting interesting people.
[Image: Malcolm Macdonald]

Enjoying a rest and the view on the hard climb up Barranjoey. [Image: Denise Shultz]
Enjoying a rest and the view on the hard climb up Barranjoey.
[Image: Denise Shultz]

The Headkeeper's cottage, a substantual building made of Nepean sandstone. [Image: Ed Kavaliunas]
The Headkeeper's cottage, a substantial building made of Nepean sandstone.
[Image: Ed Kavaliunas]

The view from the verandah of the headkeeper's cottage Sydney Siders would kill for. [Image: Ed Kavaliunas]
The view from the verandah of the headkeeper's cottage Sydney Siders would kill for.
[Image: Ed Kavaliunas]

I take several rests on way up and while pausing the views are worth it.

Once reaching the top it is a sheer drop 250 ft (75m) over the other side to beautiful blue deep water.

The journey was not over with the reward of reaching the light. We had to continue around to the cottages. [Image: Ed Kavaliunas] The journey was not over with the reward of reaching the light. We had to continue around to the cottages. [Image: Ed Kavaliunas]

The approach to the lightstation is from the back and passes the back of cottages. They are cut into the ridge and as a result have sunken back gardens. Each has a series of steps leading down to the gardens and each cottage. From the top of the ridge we are looking over the roofs of cottages.

At spring time the flame trees around the station are in full bloom with their striking large red flowers.

The path leads us around in anticipation to the Head Keepers cottage. [Image: Ed Kavaliunas]
The path leads us around in anticipation to the Head Keepers cottage.
[Image: Ed Kavaliunas]

The path takes us around the tower and back down the slope and leads to the front of the Headkeeper's cottage where we enter a walled hidden garden. This is on the basement level of the cottage with worn sandstone steps leading up to the living area of the cottages. On the verandah is a stunning view over the garden wall towards the Pittwater.

There are volunteers working to clean up the garden and help remove weeds and establish compatible vegetation

On the verandah we meet Mark Watt who is supervising the works.

While enjoying a cup of tea on the verandah, Mark explains their approach to the restoration.

The ruins of a shed in one of the sunken gardens. [Image: Ed Kavaliunas] The ruins of a shed in one of the sunken gardens.
[Image: Ed Kavaliunas]

He points out the verandah railing that is being restored. The pattern is matched perfectly with the exception of being higher to meet modern building safety requirements.

The state the cottages and garden were in is very much how they were left by the keepers when they left in the 1930s.

It was reported that they were still in good condition with furniture when they were leased in the 1950s. However when lessee moved they found that the cottage and furniture had been trashed. The cottages have been left very much in that state till now.

Ed has gone off to take photos.

Working in the cottage is Mark Sheriff who as well as working on lighthouse restorations is a caretaker at Sugarloaf Point.

Mark Sheriff shares his love of doing up lighthouses with Malcolm. [Image: Denise Shultz] Mark Sheriff shares his love of doing up lighthouses with Malcolm.
[Image: Denise Shultz]

Mark is renown for his attention to details and the little artistic additions that he makes to his lighthouses. He was featured on ABC TV's "Australian Story" in February 1997 and is also featured in the 'Beacons of Hope' video about Australian lighthouses.

Mark Watt shows us around the cottage where the rooms are in various stages of renovation. Most have the plaster back on but the timber architraves are yet to come.

The project manager, Mark Watt, explains to Malcolm the philosophy behind their work. [Image: Denise Shultz] The project manager, Mark Watt, explains to Malcolm the philosophy behind their work.
[Image: Denise Shultz]

This has left the Nepean sandstone exposed and it looks so attractive that is tempting not to re-plaster these areas. The stone bears the original chisel marks and the ceiling beams still exposed.

There is a large back room with bay large bay window facing into the rear sunken garden.

There are boxes of large historic photographs taken of Barranjoey over the years that are being hung in each room to give visitors the impression of what the lightstation was like over the years.

There are steps from the headkeeper's sunken garden up to oil room that joins the tower. At the top is a doorway that had been bricked up and had a toilet installed for the mechanics working on the light. The door has been reopened and the toilet has been removed.

The diesel generator is a features of the restored oil room. [Image: Ed Kavaliunas]
The diesel generator is a features of the restored oil room.
[Image:
Ed Kavaliunas]

 

The oil room still has the diesel tank in place. [Image: Ed Kavaliunas]
The oil room still has the diesel tank in place.
[Image: Ed Kavaliunas]

The oil room is now the generator room. The old Lister generator has been decommissioned due to safety problems with the internal diesel oil tanks.

Backup power has been replaced by a modern battery backup system that has skillfully been screened from public view and thus preserves the integrity of the room.

The oil room has a display of artifacts including a board with old tools on one wall.

From the oil room we proceed to the base of the tower. It is an easy climb compared to the ones previously encountered on this trip. Like the cottages the tower is constructed from the local Nepean sandstone, the colour of which gives a very attractive finish.

The large second order lens and lamp changer. [Image: Ed Kavaliunas] The large second order lens and lamp changer.
[Image: Ed Kavaliunas]

The tower is typical Barnett and carries the feature common to other towers he has designed along the New South Wales Coast.

The lantern room though freshly painted is plain without any timber lining.

The lens is a large 2nd order lantern.

Out on the balcony the view is fabulous. The Pittwater to the South West; the Hawkesbury River to the West; Brisbane Waters to the North; Ocean to East and suburban beaches to the South.

Mark points out that Norah Head is not far around the coast to the north. I reply that it seems strange when it is so far by road.

Again the gunmetal railing is typical Barnett.

We descend down the Smugglers Path. [Image: Ed Kavaliunas] We descend down the Smugglers Path.
[Image:
Ed Kavaliunas]

Denise has to get back to Darling Harbour to meet our overseas visitors so it is time to say our good-byes and descend via smugglers track. It is a rough stone staircase through a tunnel in the undergrowth that leads to the base of headland. It doesn't have the views but is has great atmosphere.

We come out next to the timber National Parks and Wildlife Service cottage at the base of the main track.

Pauline O'Brien Visits from Western Australia

[Pauline O'Brien <obees@upnaway.com>]

Pauline O'Brien has been with the Project from the beginning 5 years ago. She is our Western Australian Committee Member and has a web site called "Lighthouses of Western Australia".

Denise and Pauline at Cape Schanck. [Image: Malcolm Macdonald] Denise and Pauline at Cape Schanck.
[Image: Malcolm Macdonald]

"I'm coming to Melbourne to talk at a dinner!" was my first email and before I knew it two days allocated to talk about my educational tour of India had extended to 6 days with the bonus of a long weekend for sight seeing with ambitious plans for a lighthouse marathon.

Malcolm and Denise had been giving me weather forecasts in the week leading up to my trip to Melbourne, and as Malcolm predicted the weekend was perfect lighthouse weather - which roughly translates to blowing a gale so that the seas were whipped up into a frenzy crashing on rocks and sending up a spray worthy of anything I had ever seen at my own dear Leeuwin Lighthouse.

In what proved to be a very ambitious schedule, we managed to see lighthouses, starting with Cape Schanck and a great ferry ride to Queenscliff (I had no idea Port Phillip Bay was so big!!)

Pauline, Ed, Denise and Deborah at the Black Lighthouse. [Image: Malcolm Macdonald] Pauline, Ed, Denise and Deborah at the Black Lighthouse.
[Image: Malcolm Macdonald]

The Black Lighthouse looked so formidable as we approached it by sea.

More faces to match names as I met up with Deb and Ed Kavaliunas at the markets.

Next stop Aireys Inlet Lighthouse, then off down the Great Ocean Road - absolutely beautiful and like the wonderful hospitality I received the whole time I was in Victoria, something that I had heard about but never seen.

Pauline with Malcolm Brack supporting one another in a gale at Cape Otway. Malcolm grew up on Cape Otway and still does the weather. [Image: Malcolm Macdonald] Pauline with Malcolm Brack supporting one another in a gale at Cape Otway. Malcolm grew up on Cape Otway and still does the weather.
[Image: Malcolm Macdonald]

A night stop in Apollo Bay and dinner at Buffs, yet another of Malcolm's "There's a wonderful little place in ... called ... where you can get a great meal." The risotto and lemon tart were to die for.

Next morning it's time to see Cape Otway followed by a visit to Cyril Marriner, the president of Friends of Cape Otway Station. To see the lobbying process in action as I watched Denise and Malcolm go into Committee mode; impressive! (Pauline wasn't too bad either! [Malcolm])

On the road westward again where the wind and the cliffs at the 12 Apostles would be enough to scare any sailor - we had to fight to stand upright. No wonder its called the shipwreck coast!

Denise and Pauline braving the elements at the 12 Apostles. The could not have been better. [Image: Malcolm Macdonald] Denise and Pauline braving the elements at the 12 Apostles. The could not have been better.
[Image: Malcolm Macdonald]

There's no doubt that making personal connections works - being able to put voices and personalities to names and photos was just great. Likewise seeing the way people reacted to personal contact when airing their interest in and concern about the future of lighthouses was great.

Deal Island 1933

Transcript of a Radio Talk by Roderick Johnston, the Lightkeeper of the Day

[Story and pictures printed with the permission of Max Huxley]

We are situated here in the middle of Bass Strait, somewhat removed from the beaten track, but still in touch with the outside world through the wonders of radio.

Wilsons Promontory, the nearest Victorian mainland station, is 50 miles away to the West-North-West and the Furneaux Group on the other side of us 35 miles to the East-South-East.

The Top of the World as old lightkeepers used to call this part of the island. The ruin in the bushes on the left was burned in the nineteen hundreds. The stone building below the tower is the paint store and also contained the life saving gear. The Huxleys were the last family to live in this house until they moved to a newer one lower down the hill. [Image: Max Huxley] The Top of the World as old lightkeepers used to call this part of the island. The ruin in the bushes on the left was burned in the nineteen hundreds. The stone building below the tower is the paint store and also contained the life saving gear. The Huxleys were the last family to live in this house until they moved to a newer one lower down the hill.
[Image: Max Huxley]

Deal is one of the Kent Group of Islands, the others being Erith and Dover, three quarters of a mile to the West. North East Island lays about a mile and a half to the North East.

The area of this (Deal) island is about 5 square miles, about half of it being cleared. The other half, deep gullies and high hills, is heavily scrubbed and forms quite a sanctuary for birds of all hues and also for the native marsupials.

There are only two families on the island, the other keeper (Cyril Huxley) having his quarters on top of the island over 2 miles away.

On the west side of the island is the landing jetty, situated in a lovely bay that is perfectly sheltered from all easterly weather, a regular haven of refuge for the cray fishing fleet that sometimes gets caught in the easterlies that sweep with such force through Bass Strait.

The brand new house the Huxley family moved into after living close to the lighthouse at The brand new house the Huxley family moved into after living close to the lighthouse at "The Top of the World". The house was built on a swamp and was demolished years ago.
[Image: Max Huxley]

A beautiful sandy beach shelves somewhat steeply into the water and immediately behind it, the land rises abruptly to a height of 300 feet before flattening out to a slight level. A haulage runs from the jetty up to this level, the grade for the first half being one in one decreasing to one in three about half way.

On this first level we find the head keepers quarters, the wireless mast engine and the wireless sheds. Also the stable for the two station horses, the chaff shed, cart shed etc. Two white picketed graves bear testimony to the Reapers activities, here as elsewhere.

A walk of about 2 miles brings us to the foot of South Bluff. A second haulage not quite so steep as the first one runs from the foot of the bluff to the top. Here are the lighthouse oil store and the other lightkeeper's quarters.

The view from the top of the tower will repay the trouble of climbing here. To the westward are clearly seen the South West Island, The Judgement Rocks, The Devil's Tower, Curtis Group, The Split Rock and further still, Rodondo and Wilsons Promontory.

To the North-West is the Hogan's Group and 18 miles away and close to the Victorian shore in the same direction is Cliffy Island. To the South East, Flinders Island looms up prominently and in very clear weather Prime Seal and Chappel Islands are plainly visible.

The lighthouse is 957 ft above sea level, reputed to be the highest in the Southern Hemisphere. It was established in 1846 and is visible in clear weather at a distance of 60 miles.

Of the events which have occurred on the island within recent years three are outstanding.

The SS Karitane in Squally Cove not long after running ashore in Dec 1921. The man is the head keeper Hughie Dixon with his dog Zac, the boy is Doug Huxley. [Image: Max Huxley] The SS Karitane in Squally Cove not long after running ashore in Dec 1921. The man is the head keeper Hughie Dixon with his dog Zac, the boy is Doug Huxley.
[Image: Max Huxley]

The first was the wreck of the USS cargo steamer "Karitane" on the South-East point of the island on the morning of December 24th 1921.

In a thick fog, she was proceeding from Strahan on the west coast of Tasmania to Sydney loaded with a general mixed cargo, amongst which were several hundred tons of copper ingots.

Fortunately, no lives were lost, as the captain was able to run her up on the beach in Squally Cove, just below the lighthouse.

This is the the sugar bin that Max Huxley's father made from the timber retrieved from the Karitane. [Image: Max Huxley] This is the the sugar bin that Max Huxley's father made from the timber retrieved from the Karitane.
[Image: Max Huxley]

There she still rests, her forward decks awash, her after decks submerged and the bridge still standing well out of water.

The wreck is an object of interest to all the visiting yachtsmen who like to fish from the top of the chart room and catch their dinner alive and kicking out of No. 2 hold.

The second event was the landing on the island on the evening of October 17th 1931 of a Gypsy Moth aeroplane.

To us who have not seen much more of these than is provided by the illustrated papers, the landing of a real live aeroplane at our back door was quite a notable occurrence.

The dread that something was wrong was quickly dispelled when the pilot stepped out of the cockpit and in answer to our enquiries said everything was OK.

He merely wanted to know whether we can accommodate him for the night and expressed the hope, that he had not dropped in too late for tea. Under the circumstances "dropped in" was quite in order.

In 1931 a Gipsy Moth aeroplane landed on Deal Island. It has a damaged undercarriage and is ready to be taken down to the jetty via the bottom whim trolley. The ship 'Jane Moorhead' took it away to be repaired.. From the left are: Possibly lighthkeeper Smithen, Cyril Huxley (assistant keeper), Anne Johnson, Jim Burgess (cray fisherman), Roderick Johnson (head lightkeeper) and an unknown man (blacksmith). [Image: Max Huxley] In 1931 a Gipsy Moth aeroplane landed on Deal Island. It has a damaged undercarriage and is ready to be taken down to the jetty via the bottom whim trolley. The ship "Jane Moorhead" took it away to be repaired.. From the left are: Possibly lightkeeper Smithen, Cyril Huxley (assistant keeper), Anne Johnson, Jim Burgess (cray fisherman), Roderick Johnson (head lightkeeper) and an unknown man (blacksmith).
[Image: Max Huxley]

The third event happened in January 1933. This also was a landing of a plane on the island, but on this occasion the engine had stalled and the landing was a forced one.

The undercarriage was broken but fortunately, neither pilot nor passenger were injured.

Since then however, we got quite used to the sight of the planes flying overhead.

The Hart Aircraft Co. mail service plane Tasman (Melbourne to Launceston via Flinders Island) has been passing here lately twice a week as well as Holymans plane Miss Launceston.

Last Monday, no less than six planes and a flying boat passed overhead within a couple of hours of each other.

The wreck of 'St. Nicolas' on Erith Island 1961. [Image: Max Huxley] The wreck of "St. Nicolas" on Erith Island 1961.
[Image: Max Huxley]

Mr Turner, pilot of the Tasman, never forgets to drop us a bundle of reading matter whenever the weather permits, an act of thoughtfulness that we all greatly appreciate.

So great had been the strides that radio and aviation have made lately that it seems a far cry back to the days when on at least two Tasmanian lights, the carrier pigeon was the only means of communication from one quarterly visit of the store vessel to the next.

As a general rule, the first three that got released on the third week after the boat had left, had some chance of getting to their destination.

They would be in fair flying condition and, provided that the day was clear and the wind favourable, they had a fair sporting chance.

But the last three that were released after twelve weeks of confinement had in the meantime accumulated so much fat, that they became an easy prey to the hawks.

The picture of the Huxley family at Deal Island at The picture of the Huxley family at Deal Island at "The Top of the World" taken around 1935. Clockwise from left to right: Douglas, Cyril, Bernice and little Max looking annoyed because the birdie he was promised by the photographer did not materialise.
[Image: Max]

Taking it on the whole, whatever their value converted into vitamins, as carriers of urgent and important messages, they failed to live up to their reputation.

We are so getting used to now to the help of radio for urgent calls and for summoning medical aid in case of illness, that we hardly realise by what a very slender thread fate sometimes kept us dangling.

The carrier pigeon was a very uncertain method of bridging the gap to civilization. With radio we feel security, which greatly conduces to our piece of mind and and certainly to our general welfare.


Letters & Notices

Judgement Rock - Another Point of View

Dear Malcolm

Deal Island, lonely lighthouse keeper, brooding love and betrayal, all those things together should make an absorbing reading. Should, but unfortunately in this case, it does not live up to expectations.

Joanna Murray-Smith's romantic lighthouse novel 'Judgement Rock'The heroine Iris is an overly serious 27 year old scientist, who seems to be obsessed with 19th century botanist Robert Brown. She comes to the island to search for three endemic plants described by him. There she meets a reticent lighthouse keeper Noah, who sees this as an opportunity to satisfy his need for ordinary life and marries her. They seem to be reasonably happy living together - yet apart, until things start to go awry when a mysterious sailor wrecks his yacht under the lighthouse. Noah saves his life but dooms his marriage. Iris falls for the sailor while she single handedly nurses him back to health from grave injuries he sustained when shipwrecked. The poor lighthouse keeper in the meanwhile looses more than his wife and dignity.

The book falls short of explanation why did the heroine marry the keeper at the first place. Even more incomprehensible is the fact that she falls in love with the intruder, when his character, at least in the beginning, seems to be exactly the same as her husband's. They are both big men with big hands and they both philosophise about the meaning of beauty as a last thought in one's life ( while pulling cray fish from Squally Cove ?)

The story seems to be taking place in the eighties when the lighthouses were being de-manned one after another. There is a whole family living at Cliffy Island and only one lonely man stationed at a much more comfortable Deal Island. It would have been more realistic the other way around.

The three characters are conveniently lacking any family or relatives. No one is missing the shipwrecked sailor. For the whole duration of the story, which must be several months, there are not only no visitors to the island but except for the weather reports, no contact with the outside world. No mention is given to the problem of surviving without fresh supplies while having an extra person for all that time.

Joanna Murray Smith's knowledge of the island, its history and also botany, while being significant, seems to be thrusted on the reader almost always out of context and in a distracting rather than enhancing way. The book gets outright unbelievable as it nears the end and without giving away too much, the final chapter leaves you lacking any sympathy for the two residual characters.
I give it four out of ten.

Confused (Name & Contact Details With-held)

Still Looking for James O'Brien

Good Morning

My name is Kathleen O'Brien I have been looking for any information regarding my Grandfather. James O'Brien he actually was light keeper in the mid to late 1940s and 1960s.

The Byron Bay LighthouseHe had been head keeper at Byron Bay, Montague Island, Seal Rocks, Solitary Island and several others.

If you could point me in the right direction of were to look it would be greatly appreciated. thank you for your time

Regards Kathleen O'Brien <freshpak@cyberwizards.com.au>

Looking for Moreton Island's First Lighthouse Keepers

Hi

The Cape Moreton LighthouseI was wondering if you could help me?

I am trying to locate the names of the first lighthouse keepers of the Cape Moreton Lighthouse, Queensland. (Late 1850s to 1870s).

Can you help or point me in the right direction.

If it would be easier to phone my number is (07) 3800 5182

Bob Bowers <Robert.Bowers@bigpond.com>

Looking for Captain Edward Nillsen of Eddystone Lighthouse

Dear Sir/Madam

The Eddystone LighthouseCould you please advise where I may obtain information regarding Captain Edward Nillsen who was keeper of the Eddystone Light (and other lighthouses) early last century.

Captain Nillsen is my great-grandfather whom I am researching.

Apparently he had a long and distinguished career in Tasmania.

Norm Nillson <normy@alphalink.com.au>
4 Neil Court
Mulgrave 3170 Vic
Ph: (03) 9562 3221

The Isaacs, Keepers of Tasmania

Dear Malcolm

My father Terence Isaac used to be the keeper at Bruny in either late 40's or early 50's. Have you heard of him or got any records of him?

The Cape Bruny LighthouseHerbert Isaac was my grandfather. My dad Terence Isaac was also a lighthouse keeper. We lived in the headkeepers house in the photo.

My mum Leita, always spoke of their days in the lighthouse service. You can't imagine how happy and proud I was to find my Dad's family mentioned on this site. Unfortunately my dad drowned at Marrawah in '59 and Mum passed away in '97. Can't wait to show this to my sisters.

Pam Kiss <Kiss2929@aol.com>

Home Sick for a Rich Lighthouse Heritage

To The Editor

As I was browsing around my Encarta Program. I was looking for info on Australian Lighthouses and found your Bulletin Pages.

The South Solitary LighthouseAs I was born into a family of lighthouse keepers, I found your pages very interesting and was very homesick.

My grandparents, father, uncles were all in the NSW Lighthouse Service.

My mum is still alive but not my Dad, but I know if he was alive today he would be so upset to know that it is all so different to when he grew up on the lighthouses and also served with them.

As children, I myself hated living wherever we lived, but would dearly love to go back any day for the peace of everyday living.

When you tell people these days that you were either born or lived on lighthouses, they do not seem interested. I know that as a child we got into a lot of mischief and done a lot more things than these kids that were born and raised in the city.

The Smoky Cape LighthouseMy brother still lives down at Norah Head, not on the Lighthouse but very close, and he has written a story of his life as a child on the Lighthouses

My grandparents have told us so many funny stories of the life and times of when they were on the Lighthouses where they raised all their children, 7 of them (I think). We have had many good laughs.

As you can see I am not a writer but I have many fond memories (they were not at the time but are now as I have got older).

My family name is Smith

Grandparents: Clifford and Jean
Children: William, Byron, Robert, Margaret, Phyllis, Barbara & Stewart
Parents: Robert & Joyce
Children: James, Christine & Beryl
Uncles: William
Also my Aunties husband: Robert Oxley

I also think my Great Grandparents had something to do with lighthouses in England.

My Dad was stationed at Solitary Island, Norah Head, Byron Bay, Point Perpendicular, Smoky Cape, not all in that order.

The Point Perpendicular LighthouseThe road to Point Perpendicular is still rough. Some of the same pot holes are there that where there when we were there in 1961-66.

I didn't go back until 1992 and that was for a school reunion. After meeting up with a lot of my school friends, I decided to go back to live at the Shoalhaven area in 1995.

Thanks for taking time to read this

Christine Besancon (Smith) <chrisb4u@austarnet.com.au>

Feel free to post any request, letters and 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:

Volunteers needed to research and write up text for New Pages for Australia

New Links for Australia:

Volunteer needed to help with Links for Australia

Also, New Links for World:

Volunteer needed to help with Links for World

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:

The Barranjoey tower with spruced up lantern. Note ladder against lantern room. [Image: Mark Watt, NPWS NSW]Barranjoey Tower Now Open

[NPWS NSW - Edited by Malcolm Macdonald <keeper@lighthouses.org.au>]

The Barranjoey tower with spruced up lantern. Note ladder against lantern room.
[Image: Mark Watt, NPWS NSW]

The access hard but the reward is great. Its a one kilometre climb up a stoney steep track. When you get to the top there are no toilets, kiosk or other trappings that the modern tourist takes for granted. But you will be far from disappointed..

Restoration Program for Barranjoey Lightstation

The New South Wales Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS) took over the lightstation in 1997 and has commenced a three year program of restoration.

In the 70 years since the keepers left and time and nature has taken its toll.

Some of the 600 bags of weeds that were taken out by helicopter. [Image: Ed Kavaliunas]Some of the 600 bags of weeds that were taken out by helicopter.
[Image: Ed Kavaliunas]

With the help of NPWS staff and volunteers over 600 bags of weeds weighing tonnes were removed and taken out by helicopter.

This will help protect he sandstone cottages and walls and restore the feel of the terraced gardens. Also opened up is the spectacular views of the beaches to the south, the city, the Pittwater, Broken Bay, the Hawkesbury River and Brisbane Waters to the north.

The biggest effort has been to stabilised the cottages by putting new roof on.

Usually with conservation work every effort is made to retain original materials, but considering the poor condition of the corrugated iron sheets and the long term objectives of the site the decision was made to use heavy duty bond corrugated steel.

The door way to the cottage had been blocked off and made into a toilet. [Image: Mark Watt, NPWS NSW]
The door way to the cottage had been blocked off and made into a toilet.
[Image:
Mark Watt, NPWS NSW]

 

The toilet has now been removed, the entrance unblocked and the surfaces restored. [Image: Mark Watt, NPWS NSW]
The toilet has now been removed, the entrance unblocked and the surfaces restored.
[Image:
Mark Watt, NPWS NSW]

A colour was chosen that was sympathetic to viewing the aspect of the Headland from Palm Beach immediately to the south. The headland with it's lighthouse are often the backdrop for the television soapy "Home and Away" and many advertisements.

The Headkeepers Cottages has been the first to be restored. The walls have been stripped back and re-plastered, glazing repaired and doors refitted.

Photographs showing the lighthouse while it was manned have been hung on the walls of the Headkeeper's cottage. [Image: Ed Kavaliunas]Photographs showing the lighthouse while it was manned have been hung on the walls of the Headkeeper's cottage.
[Image: Ed Kavaliunas]

Historic photos, many made available by author of "Tales of Barranjoey" and Lighthouses of Australia member, Jervis Sparks, have been hung on the walls to give visitors a feel of what life was like when Barranjoey was a manned lightstation.

Barranjoey Tower Gets Mark Sheriff's Touch of Magic

Although it looks hair-raising Mark Sheriff, who has worked for several years in the specialised field of lighthouses and their upkeep, regularly assures visitors that he is perfectly safe. Using harnesses and other essential safety equipment, Mark has been progressively repainting, waterproofing and repairing the glass and metal dome of the light tower some 13 metres above the ground. He is also improving the access, safety and presentation of the tower’s interior.

Alan Ginns, the National Parks and Wildlife Service Northern Beaches Area Manager explains:

"Mark is carrying out some essential maintenance and safety works in the light tower, as well as enhancing its appearance and presentation. This is both to protect the historic buildings themselves and to get the site ready for small-group tours which we plan to offer over the coming summer holidays."

"Mark’s wealth of experience in lighthouse maintenance has been invaluable to the NPWS, as it is certainly a highly specialised field with only a handful of experienced people working nationwide."

The lens itself is dismantled, repaired and reassembled. [Image: Mark Watt, NPWS NSW]The lens itself is dismantled, repaired and reassembled.
[Image:
Mark Watt, NPWS NSW]

Mark Sheriff feels each lighthouse has its own character and special attractions, and considers Barranjoey Lighthouse's unique location and views as its defining feature:

Mark’s efforts have been supported university students from the Campus Volunteers Programme, run by Conservation Volunteers Australia, who have been busily undertaking weed control, rubbish removal and other site protection works in and around the historic complex.

Mark is constantly fielding questions from inquisitive visitors about what he is doing and the lighthouse’s history, construction and operation:

"People are always asking if they can just come in for a quick look around so I'm sure the guided tours will prove a valuable and very popular addition to the Barranjoey experience.".

The spiral stair case in the colourful Nepean sandstone tower. [Image: Ed Kavaliunas]
The spiral stair case in the colourful Nepean sandstone tower.
[Image: Ed Kavaliunas]

 

The inside of the freshly painted lantern room. [Image: Ed Kavaliunas]
The inside of the freshly painted lantern room.
[Image:
Ed Kavaliunas]

Barranjoey Lightstation Tours Begin

From the Light Tower’s outer balcony listen to the NPWS guide recount tales of shipwrecks, isolation and hardships while taking in the spectacular views.

Mark Watt, who has coordinated the NPWS lighthouse restoration works and preparations for the tours, feels that visitors will be attracted by the site’s history, its scenery, or simply the headland’s challenge and location alone.

"The tours give a fascinating overview of the headland’s history - from more than 1,600 generations of occupation by the Guringai Aboriginal, through the lighthouse era, to Jervis Sparks and Pat Quirk who tenanted the headland’s historic stone cottages until recent times."

To celebrate the inaugural tour party going up in late March everyone was presented with a commemorative copy of Jervis Sparks’ book "Tales From Barranjoey", annotated and signed by Jervis himself, to mark the occasion.

The view south back to Sydney from inside the lantern room. [Image: Ed Kavaliunas]The view south back to Sydney from inside the lantern room.
[Image: Ed Kavaliunas]

The hour-long guided tours operate Saturdays, Sundays, and public and school holidays, as well as other times for organised groups by appointment. Intending visitors are reminded that the thirty minute climb to the top of the headland is steep and rocky, and there are no toilets or water on the summit. But the NPWS is confident that the challenges of getting there will be forgotten with visitors’ first breathtaking views from the Light Tower.

Tours costs are $10 for adults and $6 for children and concessions, or $30 for a family package, and must be pre-booked. For tour information and bookings call (02) 9247 5033.

Pine Islet On The Move

[Sharon Fielden <mfielden@bigpond.com>]

The Pine Islet Lighthouse at it's current location at the Mackay Harbour. [Image: Winsome Bonham] The Pine Islet Lighthouse at it's current location at the Mackay Harbour.
[Image: Winsome Bonham]

As reported in the June Bulletin, there are plans to relocate the Pine Islet Lighthouse.

The Pine Islet Lighthouse Preservation Society committee welcomes the move.

Committee member and ex-lightkeeper Ted Myers believes the current location is completely unsuitable and difficult to find.

Although it has been painted, he feels the lighthouse has a look of neglect that conceals its proud past. It is at the mercy of vandals who have smashed some of the glass panes. These have been boarded up or covered with perspex.

The optics and dome are on loan from the government and there is concern they may be removed if there is a risk of damage.

The proposed new site would place the tower closer to the water's edge, a distance of about 100 metres from where it now stands. The tower would have full camera surveillance.

The huge lens has one of the very few kerosene burners still in tact. [Image: Pine Islet Lighthouse Preservation Society] The huge lens has one of the very few kerosene burners still in tact.
[Image: Pine Islet Lighthouse Preservation Society]

The committee is waiting on their engineer's report regarding the planned method of relocating the tower which involves digging trenches under the tower and lifting it to the new site rather than dismantle the whole tower again. Mr Myers is adamant the lenses will be removed for safekeeping before relocation.

There is also uncertainty as to whether the move is the responsibility of the council or the Mackay Harbour Trust. The developer of near by apartments has also offered assistance but has not committed any details to paper..

Cape Leeuwin Maintenance

[Leigh Carroll <lcarroll@westnet.com.au>]

I work with Paul Sofalis operating tours at the Cape Leeuwin Lighthouse. At the moment, tours are fully guided with a minimum of nine tours per day

The freshly painted Cape Leeuwin Lighthouse at sunset. [Image: Paul Sofilas, AMRTA] The freshly painted Cape Leeuwin Lighthouse at sunset.
[Image: Paul Sofalis, AMRTA]

A lot of restoration work has been completed by AMSA, with the lantern area fully de-rusted and restored. The beautiful century old wrought iron catwalks look like they are brand new.

The tower has been painted white.

Plans are being formulated for the future use of the cottages, but it seems unlikely they will be used for accommodation. Personally I think this is good due to the layout of the site and the easy access for visitors, and the historical significance of the Cape and the lighthouse.

Please feel free to pass my email address to anyone interested in updating the Cape's lovely page.

Help Cape Schanck Multimedia Presentation

The museum at Cape Schanck is looking for someone to research, document and produce an electronic multimedia presentation for the museum. Interested people with the appropriate skills please contact Tony Sheer at 05 0055 6864. Email: <CHERINGA@bigpond.com>.

World Lighthouse Society Meeting

Advance Notice!

A meeting is planned for Monday September 2nd at the Moat House Hotel near London's Gatwick Airport.

The plan is to commence at 1100hrs with a working lunch with a keynote talk by a lighthouse specialist.

This notice is sent to a wide cross section of lighthouse enthusiasts, some individuals some members of lighthouse societies.

My aim is to publicise the event and invite all to attend.

Distance I know will preclude some participants so I invite informal brief submissions.

Further details will be emailed during the next week or so. Lets hope that this is the start of a Society that will move forward to influence international cooperation in lighthouse preservation.

If you know someone that you feel should be invited please contact me.

Peter Williams <peter.williams@leadinglights.net>

Peter Williams Associates
Milford Marina
Milford Haven SA73 3AF
UK
Phone 44 01646 698825
Fax 44 01646 692896
www.leadinglights.net

Diamond Head Lighthouse. [Image: Honolulu Advertiser]
Diamond Head Lighthouse.
[Image: Honolulu Advertiser]

Makapu'u Lighthouse. [Image: Honolulu Advertiser]
Makapu'u Lighthouse.
[Image: Honolulu Advertiser]

Hawaii Finds Another Solution

[Jan Tenfggencate and Susan Roth of Honolulu Advertiser/Associated Press]

Hawaii's aged lighthouses still cast their far-reaching beams miles out to sea, but the future of some of the state's desolate beacons is uncertain.

Marking isolated points like Kilauea, Makapu'u, Kalaupapa and Kumukahi, Hawaii's lighthouses are becoming obsolete, their warnings relayed more effectively to mariners by radar and global positioning systems.

And because they are old, Federal authorities are planning to transfer control of many of the 301 lighthouses across the nation from the Coast Guard to other agencies, and perhaps even to private groups although the Coast Guard would remain responsible - for keeping the beacons beaming.

But don't get your checkbook out.

First, the lighthouses would be transferred free of charge.

Second, they won't be transferred to individuals. And finally, they come with lots of strings attached and any group acquiring one would have to commit to costly preservation and maintenance.

Under the National Historic Lighthouse Preservation Act of 2000, the Department of Interior can transfer historic lighthouses and lightstations at no cost to government agencies, nonprofit corporations and community development organizations.

Interior Secretary Gale Norton this week will turn over the first lighthouse properties to public and private organizations under the National Historic Lighthouse Preservation Program.

One, the Tybee Island Lighthouse in Georgia, will be owned and maintained by the Tybee Island Historical Society. Another, the St. Augustine Lighthouse, is being turned over to the St Augustine Lighthouse and Museum, a non-profit corporation formed by the Junior Service League of St Augustine, Fla.

 

Nawiliwili Point Light. [Image: Honolulu Advertiser]
Nawiliwili Point Light.
[Image: Honolulu Advertiser]

Moloka'i Lighthouse. [Image: Honolulu Advertiser]
Moloka'i Lighthouse.
[Image: Honolulu Advertiser]

The idea is to maintain them in perpetuity, but to have someone other than the Coast Guard do it.

In Hawaii the Kilauea Point lighthouse on Kaua'i has been transferred to the Fish and Wildlife Service, which operates the Kilauea Point National Wildlife Refuge.

"We keep it up, with the help of volunteers," said Barbara Maxfield of the Fish and Wildlife Service office in Honolulu.

"We don't do anything on that lighthouse any more," said Cmdr. Mike Cosenza, chief of the Aids to Navigation Branch for the 14th Coast Guard District. However, sailors north of Kaua`i still have a beacon. The Coast Guard maintains an automated light on a steel pole next to the 1913 lighthouse on Kilauea Point.

Molokai's Kalaupapa Lighthouse has been declared surplus to the Coast Guard's needs, and the paperwork is under way to transfer it to another owner.

It will probably go to the National Park Service, which runs the Kalaupapa National Historical Park at the site of the Hansen's Disease settlement on a peninsula jutting from Molokai's north facing cliffs.

There are no plans at this time for changes in ownership of the remaining big lights: Diamond Head, Makapu'u, Nãwiliwili, Cape Kumukahi or Barbers Point.

That could come, however. The National Historic Lighthouse Preservation Program envisions most of the nation's lighthouses being transferred to other agencies, some of which may be private groups. But neither the Coast Guard nor the National Historic Lighthouse Preservation Program envisions turning off the lights.

"The Coast Guard would still be responsible for the light and the maintenance of it," said Sherry Shirkey, chief of the real property branch for the Coast Guard in the Islands.

In the example of the Molokai lighthouse, the Coast Guard would retain an easement, and would continue to maintain the actual rotating beacon. The park service would maintain the grounds, keep the tall concrete structure painted, and might chip the rust off the railings and repaint them.

There would be strict requirements for maintenance of the structures, many of which are listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

Non-government organizations proposing to take over lighthouses would have to prove they could afford to keep them up, said Kevin Foster, chief of the National Park Service's maritime heritage program.

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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The JULY 02 BULLETIN was published on: 14/07/02

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

Photographs & Contributions:

Christine Haynes for Keywords
Denise Shultz for Report and Photographs
Ed Kavaliunas for Story and Photographs
Honolulu Advertiser/Associated Press for Photographs and Story
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Leigh Carroll & Paul Sofilas - Augusta Margaret River Tourist Association for Report and Photograph
Pine Islet Lighthouse Preservation Society for Photograph
Mark Watt - National Parks Wildlife Service NSW for Photographs and Reports
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Sharon Fielden for Report
Winsome Bonham for Photographs

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