Lighthouses of Australia Inc
Home State Indexes Bulletin About LoA Membership Resources & Links Contact LoA Search Sitemap

Lighthouses of Queensland


State Indexes > QLD > Pine Islet Lighthouse

The Pine Islet Lighthouse at Mackay [Photograph: Bob Clutton]
The Pine Islet Lighthouse at Mackay
Photograph: Bob Clutton

The Pine Islet Lighthouse

The Pine islet Lighthouse, now relocated to Mackay was the last kerosene powered lighthouse in Australia.

Now restored and in full working order it is now the last fully functional kerosene lighthouse in the world.


Last Operation (1986)

:LOCATION Latitude. 21° 39.5' S, Longitude. 150° 12.9' E
OPERATOR Australian Maritime Safety Authority
CHARACTER: -
LIGHT SOURCE: Incandescent mantle
POWER SOURCE: Vapourised kerosene
INTENSITY: -
ELEVATION: -
RANGE: 21 nautical miles
HEIGHT: 10.5 metres

The Pine Islet Lighthouse Lantern and burner [Photograph: The Pine Islet Lighthouse Preservation Society]
The Pine Islet Lighthouse Lantern and burner
Photograph: The Pine Islet Lighthouse Preservation Society


History

The lightstation was situated on Pine Islet in the Percy Group, south-east of Mackay. It consisted of a second-order apparatus and the building were prefabrication and erected on the island in 1885.

The structure is one of the eight typical Queensland iron clad prefabricated hardwood towers of the late nineteenth century. The original lamp was an oil wick burner run on whale or vegetable oil.

The light had a red shade to mark the direction of Normanby Rock, 1.6 km south-west of the lighthouse.

In 1923 the apparatus was converted from oil wick to incandescent kerosene vapour burner. This kerosene vapour burner was upgraded in 1934 with the installation of a refurbished lantern from North Reef. The lamp was driven by a clockwork mechanism which had to be wound every 2 hours.

The original keepers cottages were replaced in 1927, with 3 fibro-clad cottages. The houses were electrified in 1950 when a 110v charging system was installed. A 240v system was installed in 1965.

After 104 years of service the lighthouse was replaced by a fully automatic solar-powered light in 1985. It was the last kerosene powered light in Australia.

On completion of the dismantling in 1986, the work crew inscribed on the cement base:

Pine Islet Lighthouse
Built 18/07/1885
Dismantled 12/11/1986
'REST IN PIECES'

After much lobbying by locals the lighthouse was reassembled on a new site at the Port of Mackay. The restoration of the lighthouse to full operational status on its present site was completed in late 1995. It therefore remains the last operational kerosene powered light in the world.

The ghost of Pine Islet

In 1895 one of the keepers wives died of cancer and was buried on the island.

When the new cottages were built in 1927 the grave site was relocated by 30 metres to make way for for the new cottage.

The new residents of the new cottage would report answering knocking on the door but no-one there.

Another resident told of hearing footsteps entering the house and going into the lounge.

After this the ghost was never heard from again. It is believed the lounge is over the grave site and the ghost was returning to that grave.

The Pine Islet Lighthouse in its original location 1986 [Photograph:  The Pine Islet Lighthouse Preservation Society]
The Pine Islet Lighthouse in its original location 1986
Photograph:  The Pine Islet Lighthouse Preservation Society

The Pine Islet Lighthouse relocated to the Mackay Harbour [Photograph: The Pine Islet Lighthouse Preservation Society]
The Pine Islet Lighthouse relocated to the Mackay Harbour
Photograph: The Pine Islet Lighthouse Preservation Society

The Pine Islet Lightstation while still operational [Photograph:  The Pine Islet Lighthouse Preservation Society]
The Pine Islet Lightstation in its original location while still operational
Photograph:  The Pine Islet Lighthouse Preservation Society

The Pine Islet Lighthouse now at Mackay [Photograph: JH]
The Pine Islet Lighthouse at Mackay
Photograph: JH


Access

The island is 129 kilometres southeast of Mackay, the only access is by air or boat.  No information on tours or accommodation at present. The lighthouse is on a new site at the Port of Mackay and under the control of the Pine Islet Lighthouse Preservation Society and admission is free.

The new Pine Islet light [Photograph: Winsome Bonham]
The new Pine Islet light
Photograph: Winsome Bonham


The Surrounding Area


Special Thanks to:

  • Bob Clutton for Photograph
  • Cyril Curtain
  • Ken Gott for Photographs
  • Pine Islet Lighthouse Preservation Society for Photographs
  • Winsome Bonham for Photograph

Sources:

  • AMSA
  • From Dusk Till Dawn, Gordon Reid
  • Lighthouses: Do We Keep the Keepers?
  • Pine Islet Lighthouse Preservation Society

Page last updated:
Page created:
28/01/00
26/01/00

Site constructed by: 
Malcolm S Macdonald t/as Lighthouse Computer Training & Development (1997-2001)
Copyright All rights reserved.
1997-2001 Malcolm S Macdonald and individual contributors as acknowledged.
2002-2007 Lighthouses of Australia Inc (LoA Inc) and individual contributors as acknowledged. & Lighthouses of Australia Inc (2002-2007)