Lighthouses of Australia Project - NOVEMBER 99 BULLETIN
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Pt Perpendicular Expedition (Part 1)
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Dear Friends

SA Trip Postponed due to Time Constraints and Funding

Sorry folks, we have had to postpone the South Australian Expedition to well into next year due to work commitments and lack of funds to cover the expenses.

As you are aware the Project is entirely voluntary, funded from our own resources. If anyone has any ideas for funding or is prepared to sponsor the Project we would love to hear from you.

Point Perpendicular 100th

The month has been dominated by the Point Perpendicular trip with not much else being done.

The 100 year old light once again throws out a mighty beam [Photograph:Ed Kavaliunas]
The 100 year old light once again throws out a mighty beam.
[Photograph: Ed Kavaliunas]

Ed "Smithy" Kavaliunas, Deborah Taylor and myself (Malcolm Macdonald) travelled over 2,000 kilometres in 3.5 days days up to Wollongong just south of Sydney and traveling back down to Point Perpendicular, for the centenary celebrations, then back around to Victoria via the coast.

As usual we meet the most fantastic people and photographed 7 lighthouses.

The full report on the Point Perpendicular Expedition will be published in this issue and be completed in December's Bulletin.

Lighthouse Accommodation Australia Page

Despite the fact that we have mixed feelings about lighthouse cottages being turned into accommodation for the exclusive few we have have had constant inquiries regarding accommodation that tend to take up a lot of our time.

Troubridge Shoal Lighthouse is one of the more authentic lighthouse stays [Photograph:Chris Johnson]
Troubridge Shoal Lighthouse is one of the more authentic lighthouse stays.
[Photograph: Chris Johnson]

Therefore as a service to some of our visitors we have now put up a lighthouse accommodation page that lists all the lights that we know to offer accommodation in the former keepers cottages. The page can be found at <>.

Links have also been inserted from matching lighthouse pages.

If you know of any other lighthouse where there is accommodation feel free to make us aware of them, including the contact details so we can include them.

Notice Board:

Shirley Dziadul of Speedwell, Tennessee has a Chance Bros. 5th order lens and is looking for anyone who might have information one.

Info has been scarce since there are only 3 other known Chance Bros. lens in the US.

[Email Shirley]

Pt Perpendicular Expedition Report: (Part 1 of 2):

[by Deborah Taylor]

Friday 15th October

All agreed? Everyone has to be ready by 5:30pm ON THE DOT. Yes, Yes, Yes.

By 6 O'clock we're off and running. Tonight's stop is Albury over 400 kilometres away. Across to Melbourne, up the Western Ring Road and through the northern suburbs, a good hour and a half later we break through the gravity of the City to reach the open highway. Night has settled and the long, long road takes on an empty even pace.

One little detour at a truck stop for the expected and behold a bonus - a food van. You can capture the mood when I can tell you I was greeted by a 'What can I do for you love?'. Yes, true to the truckie legend the food was pretty good including the jam donuts. No time for fancy paper wrapped dining at picnic tables, time to keep moving.

Somewhere along this road we chanced upon an intercity bus, you know, the ones with a TV screen. We crept along side. Waiting in anticipation. Anything to break the monotony. Would you believe it? - The credits.

Next minor stop is Benalla, a large country town. Cruising up and down the main street we decide the most likely place for the likes of us is the take-away palace called the 'Oasis'. Malcolm wearing his customary hat is greeted with 'What can I do for you Abdul?' - See the things you can miss if you take the smooth road?

Last stop now is definitely Albury/Wodonga, a border town of Victoria & New South Wales. We are dazzled by the bright lights after hours of driving, an abundance of flashy motels, little Las Vegas, swimming pools, spas ... Oh God! Just a bed will do. After one stop with only one vacancy we are kindly informed that there are plenty more down the road. Well at the end of the road we find the likely place, The Southern Cross (3 stars at the price of 1!). Somewhere around 11:30pm we turn in tired. Nice to have found a clean simple place; the constant buzz of trucks going by doesn't phase us.

Saturday 16th October

Next Morning, up early and off by 7:30, but before we head out Smithy is delighted to find the perfect screen door on the unit next door.

Just out of town the paddocks and hills are covered with brilliant purple that stretches for uncountable kilometres, of course I am most impressed and unporturbed by Malcolm and Smithy laughing because it's a weed called Paterson's Curse.

The road is very disappointing for a national highway and the going is slow for the first few hours

By 9:30 we reached Gundagai and stopped for petrol and coffee. Of course Smithy entertained us with a chorus of the famous Australian Folk Song called 'The Dog Sat on the Tucker Box 9 Miles from Gundagai'. From then on the mention of Gundagai was forbidden.

The road improves dramatically from here and 4 hours later we are in beautiful Moss Vale for lunch, (I'm miffed because I missed out on the Church fete because Smithy spent too long at the the TAB, Caulfield Cup or not). Soon we are passing through Robertson, a scenic little country village whose main claim to fame is that the 'Babe' movies were made here. From there we descend rapidly toward the Pacific Coast through the magnificent Macquarie Pass National Park. A tightly sprung winding road through ancient forest with occasional breaks revealing the valleys and land stretching away to the horizon.

The Wollongong Head Lighthouse [Photograph:Ed Kavaliunas]
The Wollongong Head Lighthouse
[Photograph: Ed Kavaliunas]

Wollongong at last, slightly behind schedule, to meet Grant and Tracey Maizels at the Wollongong Head Lighthouse. Grant is not at all well but he and Malcolm have long discussions as Smithy photographs the main lighthouse and the smaller more ornate wrought iron light two hundred metres away on the harbour breakwater, hence its name. The old lighthouse has a dumpster next it which annoys the purist in Smithy and Grant as they take their photographs, however this is a sign of a major restoration that is being undertaken over the next couple of months.

The Wollongong Breakwater Lighthouse [Photograph:Ed Kavaliunas]
The Wollongong Breakwater Lighthouse
[Photograph: Ed Kavaliunas]

Adhering to our schedule we drive down to Kiama to photograph the lighthouse there. Grant and Tracey and we spend a good few minutes viewing the Blowhole which is directly below the lighthouse. The rocky outcrop with the Blowhole shooting up regular bursts of spray into the air are quite a setting for the lighthouse.

The Lighthouse Lighthouse overlooks the famous Kiama Blowhole [Photograph: Ian Clifford]
The Lighthouse Lighthouse overlooks the famous Kiama Blowhole
[Photograph: Ian Clifford]

Time is running short so as the afternoon moves on we head on down to Currarong for the centenary celebration of the Point Perpendicular Lighthouse.

We pull into the petrol station where the bus to the lighthouse has been organised from, worried that we have missed it. We are met by Robyn who says 'What took you so long!' Malcolm replied 'We have come all the way from Victoria!' To our surprise her husband points over the road and says 'That's the cottage where you are staying. The backdoor's open and the keys are on the table'. We are quite stunned! But, that's what is great about these little country villages. Everybody knows what's going on and we certainly were expected!

We rushed around the corner just in time to catch the bus out to the lighthouse, a fifteen minute trip along a gravel road through low lying scrubby region currently used by the Navy as a weapons testing range (and usually closed for 140 days each year).

On arriving it is easy to understand why the is much confusion as to whether to lighthouse reserve is open to the public. The approach is through a gate and down a lane to a tall cyclone fence at the back of the keepers cottages. Remembering previous account from visitors we head along the fence until we find the side gate that lets us into the reserve.

Here we find groups of people having picnics, a local band playing and other talking and reminiscing.

The crowd anticipates the relighting of the old light [Photograph:Ed Kavaliunas]
The crowd anticipates the relighting of the old light
[Photograph: Ed Kavaliunas]

The cool wind was starting pick up as dusk settled. Smithy sets to work setting up cameras.

Malcolm set off to find Ian Clifford whose day it was for he was responsible for wiring up and setting the globe in place. It was a big day too for Wayne Ardler and Paul Gaffney, who with Ian had spent a good four hours cleaning the old crystal lantern for the big night.

Ian Clifford is charged with the responsibility of relighting and extinguishing the old light [Photograph:Ed Kavaliunas]
Ian Clifford is charged with the responsibility of relighting and extinguishing the old light.
[Photograph: Ed Kavaliunas]

For Malcolm there is an additional air of excitement as this is an opportunity to make face to face contact with people such as Ian, Dennis Richardson and Averil Legg that until now have only been on the other end of an eMail address or a phone number.

Lighthouse enthusiasts (L to R) are Wayne Ardler (caretaker) Deborah Taylor, Malcolm Macdonald, Ian Clifford, Averil Legg, Peter Richardson and Paul Gaffney [Photograph:Ed Kavaliunas]
Lighthouse enthusiasts (L to R) are Wayne Ardler (caretaker) Deborah Taylor, Malcolm Macdonald, Ian Clifford, Averil Legg, Peter Richardson and Paul Gaffney.
[Photograph: Ed Kavaliunas]

There is something infectious about the enthusiasm and dedication of lighthouse devotees but none more so than the fortunate few who actually have had a personal connection with them. This very persistent group of people negotiated their way with the Navy and various other authorities to have the lighthouse relit for the celebration.

A lighthouse (as we found in Tasmania) is not just a landmark for a community it is rather a symbol of, the people living as a community. We missed the earlier celebrations unfortunately, but they included a Seafarer's Ball on the Friday night (at which Paul Gaffney, the bus driver, dressed as King Neptune - and was not recognised by his friends!) and a good old raft race made by the local kids - all projects were top secret too.

To solve the dilemma of when the light should be turned on it has been set to automatic and nature would determine when the old light would be activated. As 6 O'clock arrived the great moment came. The beacon switched itself on for the first time since 1994, while simultaneously, its contemporary was (ceremoniously) bagged. It was a kind of symbolic moment too, a small victory you might say.

The light is relit for the first time since 1994 [Photograph:Ed Kavaliunas]
The light is relit for the first time since 1994.
[Photograph: Ed Kavaliunas]

Surprisingly quite a few people left before the full brilliance of the beams became apparent with the backdrop of night. What a magnificent sight, the lighthouse was alive again. The whole history of the light came to life again, the keepers and assistants and families, the engineers, the builders and the ships who sailed by her.

When a lighthouse is alive you can feel a vibrance, a living history, our history and the history of all the people who have lived around the lighthouse, some of them all their lives and just like the people everywhere they are happy to tell you the things they remember.

The light was to remain alight for five hours only and at eleven O'clock was to be returned to darkness. So meanwhile, Paul, the bus driver, drove us back to Currarong for dinner at the Bowls Club. There we meet Ian's wife and family, Dennis Richardson and his wife and Peter Richardson also from the committee.

Well, came the dreadful moment when we where invited to accompany Ian, Peter, Paul & Averil to glimpse the last moments of the beams piercing the blackness of the night.

The light throws out a mighty beam in full darkness [Photograph:Ed Kavaliunas]
The light throws out a mighty beam in full darkness.
[Photograph: Ed Kavaliunas]

With darkness now fully enclosed it is truly a magnificent site with the beams revolving in their characteristic groups of three.

Here we meet Wayne Ardler, the present caretaker.

The proudly polished crystal emits its beacon [Photograph:Ed Kavaliunas]
The proudly polished crystal emits its beacon.
[Photograph: Ed Kavaliunas]

The huge crystal again revolves and radiates its beams [Photograph:Ed Kavaliunas]
The huge crystal again revolves and radiates its beams.
[Photograph: Ed Kavaliunas]

At eleven O'clock precisely as promised to the authorities, Ian shut the light down and very quickly uncovered the new one after which there was a great sense of loss and disappointment.

If you read our journal about our trip to Tasmania you might remember how when inside the Cape Bruny Lighthouse we felt the full impact of a disused lifeless lighthouse. Well that how we felt again.

But what a fantastic sight and well done to all the people involved in such a huge undertaking, and thankyou to the people of Currarong for a wonderful night.

The final part of this two part Expedition Report will appear in the December 99 Bulletin.

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 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:

Lighthouse Accommodation Australia Lighthouse Accommodation AustraliaNew.gif (158 bytes)

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 pages 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:

Concern for Deal Island

Christian Bell of the Marine and Coastal Community Network has expressed concern over plans announced by Duke Energy for a a proposed gas compressor to be located on Deal Island (part of the Kent Group) in Bass Strait.

The compressor is part of a proposed pipeline to supply natural gas from Victoria to Tasmania.

There concern is expressed because of the important nature conservation/ cultural heritage values and is the site of a proposed marine reserve.

The lighthouse complex has also been opened up for expressions of interest that have yet to be finalised.

Thanks to the Following People for Their Help in October:

Ian Clifford (photos and info)
Cathy Dunn (photos and info)
Roger Hare (broken link info)
David Cater (broken image links)

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 December 99 Bulletin
Malcolm Macdonald

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The NOVEMBER 99 BULLETIN was published on: 5/11/99

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

Photographs & Contributions:

Chris Johnson for Photographs
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Deborah Taylor for Report
Ed Kavaliunas for Photographs
Ian Clifford for Photographs

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