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Lighthouses of South Australia
|State Indexes > SA > Cape Willoughby Lighthouse|
The Cape Willoughby Lighthouse on Kangaroo Island
Cape Willoughby was the first lighthouse to be erected in South Australia, and lights the Backstairs Passage between Kangaroo Island and the mainland.
Unfortunately much of the aesthetic appeal of this light was lost in 1974 when the lantern room was replaced.
Last Operation (2003)
|LOCATION:||Lat. 35°50.7' S, Long. 138°08.0' E [map]|
|OPERATOR:||Australian Maritime Safety Authority|
|CHARACTER:||Group flashing (3) every 30.0 seconds|
|LIGHT SOURCE:||200 Watt Sealed Beam Lamps|
|POWER SOURCE:||Mains Electricity, Diesel Standby|
|RANGE:||23 Nautical Miles|
Established in 1852, the Cape Willoughby Lighthouse, originally known as the Sturt Light after Captain Charles Sturt, is the oldest in South Australia. It is set on the eastern extremity of Kangaroo Island.
The light provides assistance to shipping through the Backstairs Passage - the 11 km wide strip of water between Kangaroo Island and the mainland of South Australia.
It is constructed from granite and limestone quarried from a cleft in the cliff at the base of the tower.
The original keepers settlement was in a valley, ½ km from the light. Here a spring provided fresh water and it was close to the beach where supplies where landed. Due to deterioration and the hardship of reaching the lighthouse in bad weather in 1927 new keepers quarter were built at the lighthouse.
The original apparatus was a Deville lantern comprising of a revolving parabolic reflectors powered by a clock work mechanism. The illumination was provided by multiple wick burners.
In 1912 the wick burners were replaced by incandescent vapourised kerosene burners.
The Cape Willoughby Lighthouse with the original lantern room
Photograph: South Australian Government Tourist Bureau
The original lantern room at Hope Cottage
Photograph: Brian Lord
The whole lantern apparatus was replaced in 1923 by a large Chance Bros. dioptric revolving lens which floated in a bath of mercury on a pedestal. This lantern had previously been in use at the Tipara Reef Lighthouse. Illumination was provided by a pressurised kerosene mantle burner.
The light was converted to electricity in 1959 when two diesel 110 Volt DC generators were installed.
In 1974 major alterations were made to the lighthouse. Up till then the intention had been to replace the lighthouse, the thinking at the time being that this was not an important light and not worthy of the cost of preservation because it was not aesthetically appealing.
The original elegant timber stair was removed, due to rotting, and replaced by steel stairs with three landings.
The lantern room and apparatus were removed and replace by an aluminium and fibreglass lantern room and an apparatus comprising of banks of sealed beam lamps. 240 Volt main electricity was connected, with a diesel standby generator.
One of the reasons the lighthouse was saved is because despite official opinions at the time, the value of public relations in preserving the tower was realised, as a result of the volume of tourists visiting the light.
The Chance Brothers lantern which was removed from the tower was donated to the National Trust of S.A. together with the lens and operating machinery. The equipment has since been re-erected on a short tower adjacent to, Hope Cottage, the National Trust Museum at Kingscote. It has since been into the "Register of the National Estate".
Another point of interest is the bulge in the side of the tower. It seems that this is not due to deterioration, but came about in the original construction.
It was reported that during World War II, a RAAF bomber type aircraft crashed into the sea in the immediate vicinity while attempting a crash landing in the dark of night. However, apart from the fact that all the crew perished no other details are available.
|DISTANCE :||17 km (Penneshaw)|
|:||40 km (Kingscote)|
|ACCESS:||Ferry (Penneshaw)/Air (Kingscote) then dirt road|
The old lantern is at Hope Cottage in Kingscote, Kangaroo Island's main town.
The Surrounding Area
Aerial view of the Cape Willoughby Lightstation
Photograph: Winsome Bonham
|Light is out for Kangaroo Islands Cape Willoughby||Bulletin Feb 03|
|Journal of a trip to Kangaroo Island||Bulletin Feb 03|
|The Light is Out for Cape Willoughby - Or is It?||Bulletin Jun 03|
|Cape Willoughby 150th Celebrated with Encounter 2002||Bulletin May 02|
|Willoughby 150th Celebrated||Bulletin Feb 02|
|Cape Willoughby 150th||Bulletin Nov 01|
Cape Willoughby's 150th celebrated by NPWSA staff:
Wren Lashmar (Site Manager Cape Willoughby), Mary Northcotte and Brian Costigan
Photograph: Daniel Rowley, NPWSA
|John Dunn Taylor of Cape Willoughby lighthouse||Bulletin Apr 03|
Special Thanks to: