Lighthouses of Australia Project - MARCH 99 BULLETIN

Dear Friends
Tasmanian Expedition (Part 1)
Notice Board
Department of Scrounge
New Pages for Australia
New Links for Australia
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Australian News
Honorary Keeper
Thanks To
Text Only eMail
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Dear Friends

More Background Information Could Lead to Another 30 Lighthouse Pages

With the generosity of supporters and the results of the Tasmanian Expedition I have accumulated a considerable amount of photographic material on our Australian lighthouses.

Western Australia and Queensland are still wanting, though with Western Australia there has been a steady trickle. The Northern Territory has met with very little success.

What is really needed for many lights now is their history, technical data and anecdotes so that I can get pages up for them on the Web.

As you may have already realised, I try to put up more than photos. The aim of each page is to be an essay about each light. I try to get the context and feel of the light through a selection of colour photos, historical photographs or postcards, basic technical information and history and anecdotes.

So, often when I am spruking in 'The Department of Scrounge' I am looking for that extra bit of information to fill a gap and get a page up. Also it's pointing to where I am having difficulty getting material.

So check out 'The Department of Scrounge' and if you feel you have something to contribute contact me [Email Keeper].

Tasmanian Trip

Well most of the month was taken up with preparing for Tasmania and the trip itself.

Ed "Smithy" Kavaliunas, Deborah Taylor and myself (Malcolm Macdonald) spent 11 days in Tasmania meeting the most fantastic people and photographing the lighthouses. We got some good media recognition with articles in the Sunday Tasmanian, The Advocate and the Chronicle. Also we had 2 successful interviews with ABC radio.

The full report on the Tasmanian Expedition will be published in this issue and continue over the next 3 issues of bulletin.

Recognition From Further Afield

Apart from some of the publicity the Project has received from the Tasmanian Media regarding our expedition we were also contacted by the BBC in London for a late night interview regarding our activities.

The interview took place with Rob Sharp on Wednesday 21st of April, 2:20pm our time and was moderately successful.

Tasmanian Expedition Report: (Part 1 of 4):

[by Deborah Taylor]

Ferry: Wednesday 14.4.99

Arrived in plenty of time for the ferry. Malcolm's a bastard! He forgot to tell us to pack a night bag so we end up pulling our carefully packed luggage apart in the parking queue, undies and sundry flying here and there!

Calm going though Port Philip Heads, but becoming noticeably rougher as we head out to open sea of Bass Strait for the 246 mile (394 km) trip to Devonport, Tasmania.

Structured on the principle of a floating pub, the bar and poker machines have no appeal so we decide the decks outside are the place to be.

Sleeping arrangements are at the very base of the ship. Sleeping is a strange sensation swaying from side to side, listening to the hum of the engine and rhythmic wash of water and the uncanny sounds of being under the water.

Day 1: Thursday 15.4.99

The first sight of Tasmania is filled with wonder; a band of land stretched out before us, farmland and city, rocky shoreline and in the distance an almost prehistoric looking mountain range of craggy rock.

We are absolutely the last car off the ferry!  [Photograph:Ed Kavaliunas]
We are absolutely the last car off the ferry!
[Photograph: Ed Kavaliunas]

Waiting patiently to disembark, a series of announcements calling drivers to their cars, we make our way down to the car. Eventually we find it. It is parked on orange deck! We're in the "know" now - stall the car if you have to, but avoid the orange deck at all costs.

We are absolutely the last car off!

Our first port of call, the Mersey Bluff Lighthouse. [Photograph: Ed Kavaliunas]
Our first port of call, the Mersey Bluff Lighthouse
[Photograph: Ed Kavaliunas]

Driving through the city of Devonport we find the Mersey Bluff Lighthouse. After a climb over the rocks, down to the edge of the water, Smithy (Ed Kavaliunas) discovers a seal swimming below. Quick visit to the Devonport Maritime Museum reveals some interesting articles and artifacts. We were surprised be the fact that they were expecting us. The Advocate, the local regional daily had pre-empted our visit with an article and had faxed details to the museum of our impending arrival.

The rather plain Round Hill Point Lighthouse. [Photograph: Brian Lord]
The rather plain Round Hill Point Lighthouse
[Photograph: Brian Lord]

We head out the country of the north west where our first stop is Round Hill Point Lightstation, a small plain looking coastal light on the approach to Burnie. Our access to the light is confused by a brand new multi-lane highway where turning right is a variation on Melbourne's famous "Box Turns". Smithy thinks he is a mountain goat and adventurously climbs up the rocky embankment by the road to get a long shot of the light station only to find a CD lying on the ground called 'The Lighthouse Family'!

The photographer from the Sunday Tasmanian finally arrives and we go back up to the lighthouse for a few quick shots.

One more rendezvous, Malcolm's interview with ABC radio. We decide for peace and mind to sit and have lunch somewhere where we can access a land line. We decide on the Lactos Cheese Factory at Burnie. Interview goes well, 2 - 2:30pm.

The Table Cape Lighthouse is reached after a long drive along a road running parallel to a train track that follows the coast line to nearby Wynyard. The lighthouse setting is set amidst beautiful rambling countryside atop a large open hill top, with a sheer drop to the clear ocean below. One of the grand old lighthouses, it is partly enclosed by a semicircular wall with a ramp leading to the entrance. Another entrance toward to back at ground level was apparently for the gas cylinders.

The Table Cape Lighthouse with infant grave in foreground. [Photograph: Ed Kavaliunas]
The Table Cape Lighthouse with infant grave in foreground.
[Photograph: Ed Kavaliunas]

An infant grave, enclosed by a white picket fence by the gate to the lighthouse reserve, is the resting place of the son of the first lighthouse keeper.

Occasionally through the trip we would get lost and this lead to a scenic drive around Rocky Cape in search of the Rocky Cape Lighthouse.

The Rocky Cape Lighthouse at sunset.  [Photograph: Ed Kavaliunas]
The Rocky Cape Lighthouse at sunset.
[Photograph: Ed Kavaliunas]

A remote area by comparison to the "pretty" landscapes preceding it, the terrain is rugged quartzite hills and scrappy seaside native grasses and shrubs. A narrow path leads off to the right reveal an ancient Aboriginal cave, most visible in the low afternoon light.

Leaving around 5 O'clock we make our way to Stanley for the night.

Checked out the YHA rooms that appear to be a disused railway station masters residence. Decide on treating ourselves to the pub for dinner with the intention of doing the grocery shopping the next day.

Coincidentally, while in the pub, we found another article on our expedition in the local Chronicle newspaper.

Day 2: Friday 16.4.99

An early morning sprint up The Nut! Chairlifts are for tourists! Then again maybe they know something we don't. The climb is quite steep but very invigorating in the crisp morning air. Various viewing areas reveal the layout of the town, the historic cemetery (John Lee Archer who was instrumental in early lighthouse development is Tasmania is buried here), the harbour, the small port. Strangely up there you forget you are so high up; it's much like walking across fields with small thickets. At one viewing station the wind mysteriously played through the metal fence, subtle and ethereal music that you would have believed was a flute in the distance.

Highfield with The Nut and Stanley in the background.  [Photograph: Ed Kavaliunas]
Highfield with The Nut and Stanley in the background.
[Photograph: Ed Kavaliunas]

Further walking brings us to view on the headland below us Highfield House, summer residence of the early governors and the Van Diemans Land Company managers' residence. Quite impressive for its time, convict built and run. Impressive stables and sheds and a suitably positioned view of the town. Once down from The Nut we decided to follow the road to small country laneways with their open pastures, dotted with old houses, out past Highfield. After a few dead ends we decide it's time to follow the signage to Smithton as we needed to head to the lights on the north west coast.

Smithton is an ordinary town at best so we only stop for lunch and move on. Countryside changes dramatically to green fields and healthy looking trees. We are off to find the West Point Lighthouse. The long, long, rough gravel road brings us to a wild, desolate shoreline. Spectacular place to be, a great sense of isolation with merciless winds and heavy seas. Finding this one involves a bit of speculation as its site is barely visible. The concrete base is all that remains of the steel framed beacon, with the date marking 1916.

The former steel structure of the West Point Lighthouse. [Photograph Courtesy: Brian Lord]
former steel structure of the West Point Lighthouse.
[Photograph Courtesy: Brian Lord]

Malcolm Contemplates the ruins of the West Point Lighthouse. [Photograph: Deborah Taylor]
Malcolm Contemplates the ruins of the West Point Lighthouse.
[Photograph: Deborah Taylor]

Much fun is had wrestling with a tripod to shoot a short video of Malcolm discussing the history of the remains. The wind is relentless and Smithy decides this is no place for the artist director! Lots of foraging and climbing over rocks.

More rough gravel roads and a long drive to the next stop to discover the great Bluff Hill Lighthouse toilet block! Built in 1982, as a replacement for West Point, it is basic stock standard government issue stuff. Malcolm says you expect to find an "M" and an "F" on either side, but you will just have to 'hang on'.

Mist starts to roll in across the lowlands and scrubby vegetation, the granite rocks began to glow in the light, reminding me of the scenes on wilderness posters. We head off around 2:15pm back to Stanley to shoot the little lighthouse in the town centre.

We arrive to find the local museum is still open and they point us to a photo of the light in it's original location, at Highfield Bluff, with the new one being built beside it.

Photographing the Highfield Light at Stanley. [Photograph: Deborah Taylor]
Photographing the Highfield Light at Stanley.
[Photograph: Deborah Taylor]

Quaint little thing, the Stanley (Highfield) Lighthouse has been moved into the old port area of town to become a monument for veterans of the sea and is decorated as a show case for local shell, artifacts and sea life.

Heading for Wynyard for the night, we booked ahead and were expected at a certain time. Somehow things don't always go according to plan. Smithy remembers the 'Big Tree' is just a few minutes off the main highway! Many minutes, and 38 kilometres later, we discover he is right - there is such a thing as a 'Big Tree'. Light fading fast, thick forest encloses us, but we manage to find it just before night closes in.

Smithy's 'Big Tree'. [Photograph: Ed Kavaliunas]
Smithy's 'Big Tree'.
[Photograph: Ed Kavaliunas]

After much ado he remembers that there is a nice little waterfall just down the road. "Just down the road" was alright, it was the bit about "just down the steps" that lead us to conclude he should not be trusted with this 'country mile' routine.

Arriving quite late, we are welcomed by the couple who manage the hostel. Dinner is cooked and over. One of the things we had forgotten (or ran out of time) to do before we left was to put the expedition signage on the car. Despite our tiredness we work late into the night with cardboard and Texta pens to rectify this. Malcolm gives us (the Art Department) an idea of what he wants and departs in search of a shop and a carton of milk). I don't know where to start, so Smithy rescues the day and sets out to illustrate his signwriting skills. In typical gender role I draw the pretty pictures and he tackles the tough stuff. Lighthouses ... worked well, but on the spell check on the second sign revealed 'ligthouses ...'. We decided we should do the job properly and call ourselves 'Ligthouses of Austria'! A good nights sleep is all that is needed for tomorrow's long road to Cradle Mountain.

The second part of this four part Expedition Report will appear in the June 99 Bulletin.

Notice Board:

Any Inquiries or Notices Regarding Australian Lighthouse are welcome here

Please eMail <Keeper>

Department of Scrounge:

If anybody has any of this material on any Australian lighthouses including the ones listed at the Department of Scrounge it would appreciated, especially the high priority ones:

  • Original Colour Photographs
  • Historical Photographs or Postcards
  • History, experiences and anecdotes
  • Technical History

Please eMail <Keeper>

New Pages for Australia:

No new pages for Australia this month

If your e-mail does not display in HTML these pages can be accessed from the "New Listing for Month Index" at <>

New Links for Australia:

No new links for Australia this month

If your e-mail does not display in HTML these pages can be accessed from the "New Listing for Month Index" at <>

Also New Links for World:

No new links for the World this month

If your e-mail does not display in HTML these pages can be accessed from the "New Listing for Month Index" at <>

Australian News:

Disastrous End to Moving Old Caloundra Lighthouse!

The Old Caloundra Lighthouse after the accident. [Photograph Courtesy: The Courier Mail]
The Old Caloundra Lighthouse after the accident.
[Photograph Courtesy: The Courier Mail]

The attempt to relocate the Old Caloundra Lighthouse back to it's original location met with disaster on March 22nd when the section below the first floor broke away whilst being lifted on to the back of a low loader for its trip home.

The accident occurred when the cranes had lifted the the tower about a metre off the ground.

According to Roger Todd, local architect and Sunshine Coast National Trust Chairman, they had underestimated the brittleness of the timber studs in the tower. He went on to say that the lift had been insured and he was confident that the damage could be repaired and the operation to relocate it would proceed.

The tower has been left where it fell and a fence has been erected to protect it from further damage while insurance assessors inspect the claim.

Once the claim is settled the timber studs will be spliced back together and the tower will then be relocated to it original home. Here it will be secured on a new base and the rolled metal cladding will be replaced and repaired.

Belated Centenary Celebration for Point Perpendicular

Ian Clifford informs me that a committee has been formed to celebrate the centenary of the Point Perpendicular Lighthouse.

The old Point Perpendicular Lighthouse is to celebrate 100 Years [Photograph: Ian Clifford]
The old Point Perpendicular Lighthouse is to celebrate 100 Years
[Photograph: Ian Clifford]

Even though the anniversary is in May the celebrations are planned for the 16th & 17th of October 1999.

One objective of the celebrations is to have the light in the old tower re-lit on the Saturday night.

The old Point Perpendicular Lighthouse is to celebrate 100 Years [Photograph: Ian Clifford]
The last keeper, John Hampson, waves good-bye in 1993
[Photograph: The Bay And Basin Review]

The light was turned of in 1993 when it was replaced by the adjacent new steel lattice tower.

Ian can be contacted at:

Ian Clifford
3 Isabella Place

[Email Ian]

Once More Round The Twist

[GEELONG ADVERTISER, Wednesday, May 5, 1999]

Light, camera...cameraman Ian Jones and the Aireys Inlet Lighthouse. [Photograph: Tony Kerrigan]
Light, camera...cameraman Ian Jones and the Aireys Inlet Lighthouse.
[Photograph: Tony Kerrigan]

Popular kids television program 'Round The Twist' filmed part of its third series at the spooky Aireys Inlet lighthouse this week. The new 13 episode series, featuring well-known comic actor Mark Mitchell: was created by the Australian Children's Television Foundation and is expected to tickle the funny bones of 33 million viewers around the World. The two previous series of 'Round The Twist' were sold in 54 countries including the FOX Network in the United States. The latest series, featuring the Aireys Inlet lighthouse, can be seen on,the ABC (Australia) later this year.

Concern Over Future Access to Wilsons Promontory Lighthouse

Access may be limited under a partial privatisation of the National Park. [Photograph Courtesy: Brian Lord]
Access may be limited under a partial privatisation of the National Park.
[Photograph Courtesy: Brian Lord]

Access to the rugged and beautiful lighthouse area of the Wilsons Promontory National Park may be limited under a partial privatisation of the National Park.

The Victorian State Government is currently negotiating with a private developer to improve the accommodation and walking track from Tidal River to the lighthouse at the tip of the promontory. It is believed this will be in exchange for exclusive rights to conduct guided tours on the track and to provide accommodation at each end.

The lighthouse building up till now have been available as bunkhouse accommodation to bush walkers for $27 a night and entry to walk the track in the park has only been $8.

Critics of the proposal say that this figure will rise to about $200 a day under the privatisation proposal. Further, that in addition to locking the average walker out of that part of the park, it runs against the primary objective of the park which is its conservation role.

This Month's Featured Honorary Lighthouse Keeper:

Deborah Taylor

Trained in Fine Arts, work is related to Archaeology, Mythology and Jungian themes. Specialising in illustrating old textiles and artifacts following the discipline of scientific illustration but placed in a contemporary setting.

Twenty years plus artistic experience, tens years plus as a practising Artist designing works for specific settings, exhibiting and co-ordinating exhibitions.

Deborah Taylor [Photograph: Ed Kavaliunas]

A special page has been set up to include profiles on people who are consistent in their support for the Project.  This can be found at <>.

Thanks to the Following People for Their Help in April:

Ian Clifford (Bulk Photos Again!)
Vic McCartin (Photos & Info)
Roger Todd
Jervis Sparks (Photos etc)
John Nicholson (Info)
Ross Harper (Photos)
Ron Ammundsen (Links Info)
Sharma Krauskopf (Links Info)
Tracey Gapps (Links Info)
Stewart Brown (Info)
Martyn Griffiths (Info)

Ed "Smithy" Kavaliunas (Photography)
Deborah Taylor (Photography and Trip Diary)
The Advocate
Adam Coleman (Contacts)
Pat, Pam O'Malley and Paul Campton (Photos)
Bob Grundy, Hobart Ports Corporation
Captian Chris Thompson, Hobart Ports Corporation
Lance Morgan, Hobart Ports Corporation
Steve Cooper, Hobart Ports Corporation
Leigh Dwyer, Hobart Ports Corporation
Allan Coates, Parks & Wildlife Service, Tasmania
Paul Helleman, Parks & Wildlife Service, Tasmania
Barry, Australian Archives - Tasmanian Branch
Tasmanian Archives
Margaret Harman, State Library of Tasmania
Devonport Maritime Museum
Tierney, Stanley Port Officer
Meg Eldridge, Stanley Historical Society
Laurie & Julie Jones (Cape Sorell Hosts)
Harry McDermont, Former Strahan Port Officer
Daryl Gerrity, Former Strahan Port Officer
Andy Gregory (Former Cape Bruny Lightkeeper)
Stephen Clarke, Australian Maritime Safety Authority (Tas)
Tony & Syd, Australian Maritime Safety Authority (Tas)
Marilyn Bryan (Iron Pot Booklet)
John Pugh, TasAir
The Weeding Family, Triabunna

Thanks to all the people who have put links to the site

Thanks to those who let me use their photos for thumbnails.

Regards until the June 99 Bulletin
Malcolm Macdonald

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The MAY 99 BULLETIN was published on: 5/5/99

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Lighthouses of Australia Web Site First Published: 3/12/97

Photographs & Contributions:

The Bay And Basin Review
Brian Lord
The Courier Mail
Deborah Taylor
Ed Kavaliunas
The Geelong Advertiser
Ian Clifford
The Sunday Age
Tony Kerrigan

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