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Australian Lighthouse Association – 1980-2002

The Australian Lighthouse Association (ALA) was founded in 1980. Then, it provided a voice for the stakeholders, other than commercial shipping, in the debate over the future of our lighthouses.

New technology was threatening the continued provision of visual navaids and it seemed likely that within the decade there would be no manned lighthouses left on our coast. The ALA mounted a vigorous campaign to highlight the dangers of neglect and vandalism to priceless heritage assets, the importance of the lights to fishermen and recreational sailors and the increasing significance of many of the places for cultural tourism which was expanding at an ever-increasing rate.

Lobbying by the Association led to the establishment of a Commonwealth Parliamentary Committee that produced a report "Who will Keep the Keepers". This recommended an orderly process for the removal of traditional keepers from our lights as they were automated and measures to ensure that at no time would a vulnerable location be left un-manned. In the succeeding years, lightstations were incorporated into National Parks and placed under the protection of their rangers, were adopted by their local communities or became the focus of tourist operations. Inevitably, this was a patchwork process with many hiccups and the ALA continued to write, lobby and network to ensure that the best possible outcome was achieved for each location.

The Association played an increasing role in bringing Australia’s lighthouse heritage to international attention. It maintained a database of publications about Australian lighthouses and exchanged information and ideas with other lighthouse societies around the world. It worked to ensure that non-government organisations concerned with conservation were represented at the International Congress of Lighthouse Authorities in Sydney in March 2002. It published a quarterly newsletter Prism with news about Australian lights and relevant material from overseas.

In early 2002, the ALA disbanded and transferred to Lighthouses of Australia Inc (LoA Inc). The ALA logo motto was combined with the adoption of LoA Inc's masthead lighthouse to produce a dynamic new logo, and with the adoption of the ALA motto, "Preserve, Protect, Promote", it created a broader sense of direction for LoA Inc.

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