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State Indexes > SA > South Neptune Island Lighthouse

The South Neptune Island Lighthouse

The rugged barren island was the second life for a lighthouse that had already given good service at Port Adelaide. 

Now replaced by a newer, less-elegant light, the old tower has moved on once more to have a new life back at Port Adelaide.

The current South Neptune Lighthouse [Photograph: Brian Lord]
The current South Neptune Lighthouse
Photograph: Brian Lord


Last Operation Old Tower (1985)

LOCATION: Latitude <<>> S, Longitude <<>> E [map]
OPERATOR: Australian Maritime Safety Authority
EXHIBITED: 1901
CONSTRUCTION: Wrought and cast iron
CHARACTER: <<>>
LIGHT SOURCE: <<>>
POWER SOURCE: Mineral oil (kerosene)
INTENSITY: 92,000 cd
ELEVATION: 74 Metres
RANGE: 20 miles (32 km)
HEIGHT: 21 Metres

The original skelatal steel framed South Neptune Island Lighthouse [Photograph: South Australian Maritime Museam]
The original skeletal steel framed South Neptune Island Lighthouse
Photograph: South Australian Maritime
Museum


Operation Current Tower

LOCATION: Latitude 35 20.3' S, Longitude 136° 06.8' E [map]
OPERATOR: Australian Maritime Safety Authority
EXHIBITED: 1985
CONSTRUCTION: Brick
CHARACTER: Group Flashing 3 in 20 sec
LIGHT SOURCE: <<>>
POWER SOURCE: Solar Power
INTENSITY: 24,000 cd
ELEVATION: 48 Metres
RANGE: 26 km
HEIGHT: 8 Metres
AUTOMATED: <<>>

DEMANNED:

1990

History

Port River

The South Neptune Island Tower originally stood at the mouth to the Port River in Port Adelaide from 1869 until 1901.

In 1901, it was replaced by the new Wonga Shoal Lighthouse in built on the other side of the entrance to the Port River.

The tower was dismantled, moved and re-erected at for a new life at South Neptune Island in 1901.

The lighthouse tower in place on the Port River [Photograph: Greg Beck]
The lighthouse tower in place on the Port River
Photograph: Greg Beck

The re-erected Port Adelaide River Tower at South Neptune Island [Photograph: Chris Browne]
The re-erected Port Adelaide River tower
at South Neptune Island

Photograph: Chris Browne

The new Neprune Island Tower being built in front of the old [Photograph: AMSA]
The new Neptune Island tower being
built in front of the old tower

Photograph: AMSA

South Neptune

The tower was originally constructed by Moreland and Sons, London for the entrance to the Port River in Port Adelaide where it stood from 1869 to 1901.

The wrought and cast iron tower was then re-erected on South Neptune Island, at the bottom of Cape Spencer, with a new lantern room.

The three keepers' cottages are made of cement and rubble and unlike other South Australian stations are joined.

The island lacked vegetation and was without a natural water supply. Water was brought in with supplies and its use was severely restricted. 

The island was too barren for vegetable gardens and except for fish and a few wild goats all supplies had to be brought in from Adelaide.

In 1977, a report was commissioned to determine whether the old tower could be reconditioned or should be replaced.

There has been much conjecture as to the motives of this Commission as many feel that it was to be a vehicle for the Department of Transport to replace the old light.

The light did continue until 1985 when a new round brick tower, 5.2 metres tall, 8 metres including the lantern room, was built.

The intensity of this new light was 274,000 cd and it was powered by twin 10kva diesel alternators.

In the mid 1990s, the keepers were withdrawn, and this new light was converted to solar power and the intensity was reduced to 24,000 cd.


The original Neptune Island Tower just before being dismantled [Photograph: Brian Lord]
The original Neptune Island Tower
just before being dismantled

Photograph: Brian Lord
The Neptune Island Tower as it is today [Photograph: AMSA]
The Neptune Island Tower as it is today
Photograph: AMSA

Port Adelaide

After the original South Neptune Island Tower was dismantled in 1985, it was put into storage at the lighthouse depot at Largs Bay.

The people of Port Adelaide felt they had an affinity with the old lighthouse tower and felt that it should be returned to Port Adelaide.

After a great deal of lobbying, the lighthouse was restored and re-assembled on this site by the South Australian Maritime Museum in 1986.

The restored and reassembled tower at the South Australian Maritime Museum [Photograph: Ed Kavaliunas]
The restored and reassembled tower at the South Australian Maritime Museum
Photograph: Ed Kavaliunas


Access

NEAREST TOWN: Port Lincoln
DISTANCE: 70 km (Port Lincoln)
220 km (Adelaide)
ACCESS: Prohibited
TOURS: No
ACCOMMODATION: No

The South Neptune Cottages from the air [Photograph: Winsome Bonham]
The South Neptune Cottages from the air
Photograph: Winsome Bonham

A view of the reefs around the island. Note the 'overcoat' on the sheep [Photograph: Brian Lord]
A view of the reefs around the island. Note the "overcoat" on the sheep
Photograph: Brian Lord


The Surrounding Area


Features

Corrugated Lighthouses Bulletin Feb 03
Corrugated Lighthouses - Pt 3 Bulletin Oct 02
Corrugated Lighthouses - Pt 4 Bulletin Nov 02
Corrugated Lighthouses - Pt 5 Bulletin Dec 02

News

South Neptune 100th Anniversary Bulletin Sep 01
South Neptune Off Limits Due Asbestos Bulletin Nov 02

Letters & Notices

Looking for Ken J Gilbertson of South Neptune Bulletin Sep 01
The lure of lighthouses at the South Australian Maritime Museum Bulletin Sep 03

Neptune Island is rugged, devoid of vegetation with no natural water [Photograph: AMSA]
Neptune Island is rugged, devoid of vegetation with no natural water
Photograph: AMSA


Special Thanks to:

  • AMSA for Photographs
  • Brian Lord for Photographs
  • Chris Browne for Historic Photograph
  • Ed Kavaliunas for Photograph
  • Greg Beck for Historic Engraving
  • Margaret Hill for Historic Photograph
  • South Australian Maritime Museum for Historic Photographs
  • Winsome Bonham for Photograph

Sources:

  • Brian Lord
  • Department of Construction
  • Department of Transport
  • Margaret Hill
  • South Australian Maritime Museum

Page last updated:
Page created:
7/10/03
21/05/03

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)