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Lighthouses of New South Wales


State Indexes > NSW > Kiama Lighthouse

The Kiama Lighthouse

The light was established in 1887, 10 years after the creation of the Robertson Basin, a manmade harbour to service Kiama.

The Montague Island Lighthouse [Photograph: Ian Clifford]
The Kiama Lighthouse overlooks the famous Kiama Blowhole
Photograph: Ian Clifford


Operation

LOCATION: Latitude 3441' S. Longitude 15052' E (map)
OPERATOR: Waterways Authority - NSW
EXHIBITED: 1887
CONSTRUCTION: Rendered Brick
CHARACTER: Group Flashing (4) in 20 Seconds
LANTERN: Chance & Co 4th Order 250mm focal radius lens
LIGHT SOURCE: 120V, 1,000 Watt, Quartz Halogen Lamp
POWER SOURCE: Batteries charged from mains supply
INTENSITY: 28,000 cd
ELEVATION: 36.3 metres
RANGE: 17 nautical miles (31.5 kilometres)
HEIGHT: 15.5 metres
AUTOMATED: 1920
DEMANNED: 1920
DEACTIVATED: No
CUSTODIAN: Waterways Authority - NSW
HERITAGE: -

The Kiama Lighthouse with keepers' cottages in <????>. [Photograph Courtesy: Ian Clifford]
The Kiama Lighthouse with keepers' cottages circa 1926
Photograph Courtesy: Kiama Historical Society


The Kiama Lighthouse Lens. [Photograph: Ian Clifford]
The Kiama Lighthouse Lens
Photograph: Ian Clifford
  
The Montague Island Lighthouse [Photograph: Ian Clifford]
The Kiama Lighthouse
Photograph: Ian Clifford

History

The light was established in 1887, 10 years after the creation of the Robertson Basin, a manmade harbour to service Kiama's supply of crushed blue metal and paving blocks for the streets of Sydney.

The tower, built on Blowhole Point, is constructed of brick and rendered outside with concrete.

The total cost for the tower and apparatus was £1,350.

The original apparatus was an oil burner with a catadioptric fixed lens producing a 600 candela green light that was visible for nine miles.

This was upgraded to the local town coal gas in 1908 with an intensity of 1,500 candelas and a range of fifteen miles.

This was further upgraded to acetylene gas and group flashing in 1920. At this point the light was demanned, though Brewis stated in 1913 that the light was unwatched, the keeper's cottage being vacant.

In 1969 the light was converted to 240v mains electricity. A 120v battery bank is used for standby.

The establishment of the light was a big event as noted in the Kiama Independent of 10 August 1886:

Situated on the round apex of Blowhole Point, the Kiama lighthouse stands from sea level to the light at a height of 224 feet. The foundation is concrete, 14 feet in depth and 12 feet in diameter; from the bottom of the foundation to the top of the entrance is 16 feet. The height of the building from the floor to the coping is 36 feet, to the light is 40 feet, and to the top of the weather vane is 50 feet. 

The building is of brick, cemented outside and plastered within. The ascent is accomplished by means of three iron ladders, leading from one storey to another, the staircase being lighted by side lights.

The top of the structure is surrounded by a very artistic railing; and the light, which will be of a similar magnifying power to the Hornby light, near Watson's Bay, is very shortly expected to arrive from England. 

The lighthouse is now quite finished, so far as the contractors are concerned, with the exception of receiving two or three coats of paint, which is now being done. 

A neat hexagonal fence is being erected round the building which will give it the trim and neat appearance and so closely associated in our minds with all lighthouses.

(Note: that the reference to the tower being 224 ft above sea level is quite erroneous as it was actually 121 ft)


Keepers

Once the light was automated and demanned in the 1920's the cottage closest to the lighthouse was soon demolished by vandals

However the other cottage remains and is still in use as a museum and visitors centre.

This cottage was the residence of the local harbour pilots from 1881 to 1981. It is typical of houses designed by the the office of the colonial architect to house public officials in country areas.

Local materials were used such as basalt for the outer walls, ironbark for the floors and cedar for the fittings.

Extensions were made in 1881 and again in the 1930s. Despite much of the original character having been lost it was restored and renovated in the 1980s by the Kiama Historical Society.

We need your help in compiling a list of keepers for this lighthouse. If you have any information then send it to Web Keeper.

Please include this lighthouse's name, the keepers full name and what years they were keepers. Also include the same information for any other lights.

The Montague Island Lighthouse [Photograph: Ian Clifford]
The Kiama Lighthouse apparatus
Photograph: Ian Clifford

The Montague Island Lighthouse [Photograph: Ian Clifford]
The Chance Bros Plate on the apparatus
Photograph: Ian Clifford

The Montague Island Lighthouse [Photograph: Ian Clifford]
The battery bank and electric in the lighthouse base
Photograph: Ian Clifford


Access

NEAREST TOWN: Kiama
DISTANCE: 500 m (Kiama )
: 40 km (Wollongong)
: 120 km (Sydney)
ACCESS: Public reserve easily accessed by road (refer map). On the eastern side of the township on Blowhole Point
TOURS: No
ACCOMMODATION: No

The Surrounding Area


Features

Pt Perpendicular Expedition Report: (Part 1 of 2) Bulletin Nov 99
Pt Perpendicular Expedition Report: (Part 2 of 2) Bulletin Dec 99
Lighthouses From the Air: Part 2 Bulletin Oct 01
LoA Committee member profile: Ian Clifford Bulletin Aug 03
Annette Flotwell's East Coast Lighthouse Trip: Part 3 Bulletin Sep 03

Letters

Looking for Thomas Tulloch of Kiama Bulletin Jan 02

Other Kiama Sites

The Kiama Lighthouse Grant Maizels
The Kiama Lighthouse Wazmac
The Kiama Lighthouse (Blowhole Rocks Kiama) - NSW Garry Searle

The Kiama Lighthouse. [Photograph: Ian Clifford]
The Kiama Lighthouse
Photograph: Ian Clifford


Special Thanks to:

  • Ian Clifford for Photographs

Sources:

  • AMSA
  • Dept of Transport
  • From Dawn Till Dusk
  • Ian Clifford
  • Brian Lord
  • Walkabout
  • White Towers - The Illawarra Lighthouses

Page last updated:
Page created:
4/10/03
30/11/99

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Malcolm S Macdonald t/as Lighthouse Computer Training & Development (1997-2001)
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