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State Indexes > TAS > Currie Harbour Lighthouse


Currie Harbour Lighthouse
Photograph: Denise Shultz

The Currie Harbour Lighthouse

The Currie Harbour Lighthouse on King Island had its light turned off in 1989, however after much agitation and lobbying the dormant light was reignited in 1995.


Operation

LOCATION: Latitude 39° 55.8' S, Longitude.143° 50.5' E [map]
OPERATOR: King Island Council
EXHIBITED: 1880
CONSTRUCTION: Wrought & Cast Iron
CHARACTER: Flashing every 6.5 seconds
LIGHT SOURCE: 1000 Watt 120v, Tungsten Halogen Lamp
POWER SOURCE: Mains Electricity
INTENSITY: 260,000 CD
ELEVATION: 46 Metres
RANGE: 22 Nautical Miles
HEIGHT: 21.3 Metres
AUTOMATED: <<>>
DEMANNED: <<>>
DEACTIVATED: 1989
REACTIVATED: 1995
CUSTODIAN: <<>>

The Currie Harbour Lighthouse Is Shining It's Light Again!
The Currie Harbour Lighthouse shining its light again
Photograph: Robert Cook

History

Constructed in 1879 and first lit in 1880, the Currie Harbour is a screw-pile foundation design. The entire assembly, 312 pieces, was pre-fabricated in England by Chance Bros, and is of wrought iron and a cast iron base. The cylinder in the centre has 90 spiral steps.

  • In 1899, a 1st order revolving lens with an oil wick lamp was installed.
  • In 1923, the oil lamp was replaced by a pressure kerosene burner with an incandescent mantle.
  • In 1940, the existing 4th order lens was installed.
  • In 1941, the original light apparatus replaced by an acetylene gas burner.
  • In 1957, the light was connect to electric mains power.
  • The light continued in operation until 1989 when it was turned off.

The substitute light was sited on a steel pole some 80-100m south of the tower proper. This provided a temporary light for mariners.

The light was switched on again by the governor of Tasmania, Sir Phillip Bennet on 15 March 1995.

King Island forms a barrier to the western approach to Bass Strait, which vessels must navigate. The area between the island and Cape Otway, on the Victorian Coast, is known as the "Eye of the Needle", and has claimed many ships and lives. King Island's rugged coastline alone has claimed at least 60 vessels and more than 800 lives during the past 180 years.

A lighthouse was established at Cape Wickham, the north western cape of the island, in 1861.

However some ship's captains mistook this for the Cape Otway Lighthouse, to the north, light and steered directly into the island as a result.

Such incidents were the Arrow in 1865, Netherby in 1866, the Lock Leven in 1871, the Anna in 1873 and Blencathra in 1875.

As a result the lighthouse was established at Currie on the western side of the island. Many reefs and rocks abound in this stretch of water. They stretch along the coast on both sides, and also extend up to 7 kilometres out to sea. 

Although the light is officially known as the Currie Harbour Light, and serves as an entrance light, it primary purpose it that of a coastal light.

The only official historic building (on The Register of the National Estate) on King Island is the lighthouse keeper's residence at Currie which is used as a local museum by the King Island Historical Society.

The Currie Lighthouse Panorama at Dusk
The Currie Lighthouse panorama at dusk
Photograph: Robert Cook
 


Preservation

The light was reactivated in 1995 which should lead to continued maintenance from King Island Council.

 

Access

NEAREST TOWN: Currie
DISTANCE (Currie): 800 metres
DISTANCE (Hobart): <<>>
ACCESS: Air or sea to Currie.
TOURS: Visit: http://kingislandrambles.wordpress.com/tours/lighthouse/ 
ACCOMMODATION: No


Aerial view of the Currie Harbour Lighthouse
Photograph: Winsome Bonham



The Currie Harbour Lighthouse
Photograph: Ed Kavaliunas
The Currie Lighthouse
The Currie Lighthouse
Photography : Brian Lord

The Surrounding Area

The Currie Lighthouse at Dusk
The Currie Lighthouse at dusk
Photograph: Robert Cook
The Currie Lighthouse at Sundown
The Currie Lighthouse at sundown
Photography : Brian Lord

Features

King Island Lighthouses Bulletin Feb 03

Other Currie Sites

Currie Light King Island Online
Currie Harbour Light House Plan DTD
The Currie Lighthouse Focus on Tasmania

Special Thanks to:

  • David Gray
  • Robert Cook for Photographs
  • Brian Lord for Photographs

Sources:

  • AMSA
  • Brian Lord
  • Stories of the Coastal Lights No. 19 (Chateau Tanunda)

Page last updated:
Page created:
09/04/07
27/06/98

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)