Lighthouses of Australia Project - SEPTEMBER 00 BULLETIN
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Old Smokey to "the Cape" - Ian Clifford

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Dear Friends

Steering Committee is Meeting Regularly to Get New Body Going

The Lighthouses of Australia Steering Committee has been meeting on a regular basis and has finally approved the draft of the Rules for Incorporation and attached a Statement of Purposes.

Hopefully these documents will be lodged with Corporate Affairs this week and once approved we will be able to start accepting as members the good number who have expressed and interest over the past few months.

If you haven't applied yet check out Join Proposed Lighthouses of Australia Inc link below.

The Steering committee is now going into a planning stage so that we can "hit the ground with our feet running" as soon as the incorporation is through. Part of this procedure is to people involved in documenting the everyday procedure for producing pages and the Monthly Bulletin.

New Incumbents at Wilsons Promontory

The Isolated Wilsons Promontory Lighthouse. Photograph Courtesy: Kim Shimmin]
The Isolated Wilsons Promontory Lighthouse.
Photograph Courtesy: Kim Shimmin]

Kate Riddell and Matt Harrington have taken over as caretakers at the Wilsons Promontory Lighthouse.

After some months of phones calls and interviews they were offered the position, and on Monday the 18th September Peter and Pat Sutton walked up the hill for the last time to leave Kate and Matt on their own.

Kate says "There seems to have been a lot written over the years about the lightstation and outlying islands. Unfortunately, no-one has pooled it in one place. I would like to begin that process and am hoping you will be able to assist me. Any assistance from yourself or your subscribers would be greatly appreciated".

The Wilsons Promontory Lighthouse and Cottage. Photograph Courtesy: Brian Lord]
The Wilsons Promontory Lighthouse and Cottage.
Photograph Courtesy: Brian Lord]

Kate has had the Internet connected to the lighthouse and is looking forward to putting together stories about their adventures as they look after the light over the next 2 years.

We are certainly looking forward to hearing about how Kate and Matt settle in in the first few months and wish them the best of luck.

Riddle of Lost Wilsons Promontory Log Books Solved?

Keith Banks <klbanks@eisa.net.au>, who was formerly at Wilsons Promontory with his parents, who were the keepers at the time, has informed us that the log books that Peter Cooke was looking for would have been stored in the Radio shed that was destroyed in the 1951 bush fires.

Malcolm Macdonald
Malcolm Macdonald
[Photograph: Deborah Taylor]

eMail Malcolm


Old Smokey to "The Cape"

[Ian Clifford <icliffo@tpgi.com.au>.]

Sometimes subtle little things make you stand back and think to yourself, I am reaching them, yes I am ! So you could have knocked me over with a feather when my ten year old daughter Jessica said as we passed Mc Donalds or Mc Muckers the Scottish fast food outlet as I preferred to refer to it on our recent trip to the NSW North Coast. "No dad we can keep going, I don't really like it that much anyway."

This together with the "how many lighthouses are we visiting on this holiday dad?"

"Three Jessica."

"That's OK, I might come with you on one visit", has left me sweating on the Christmas list!

The Smoky Cape Lighthouse. Photograph Courtesy: Ian Clifford]
The Smoky Cape Lighthouse.
[Photograph Courtesy: Ian Clifford]

We are on our way to South West Rocks to visit Smokey Cape, Byron Bay to soak the ambience, catch up with relatives and photograph the internals of the lighthouse and back to Yamba for a bit of R&R and yes photograph the lighthouse.

The Lantern in the Smoky Cape Lighthouse. Photograph Courtesy: Ian Clifford]
The Lantern in the Smoky Cape Lighthouse.
[Photograph Courtesy: Ian Clifford]

South West Rocks, our first stop is still a small coastal town about 30km North East of Kempsey off the highway at the mouth of the Macleay River, better known for its beautiful coastal scenery and nearby Trial Bay Gaol, which is now a tourist attraction rather than the lighthouse at Smokey Cape 6km to the east.

The Stairwell of the Smoky Cape Lighthouse. [Photograph Courtesy: Ian Clifford]
The Stairwell of the Smoky Cape Lighthouse.
[Photograph Courtesy: Ian Clifford]

Smokey Cape was first lit on the 15 April 1891 and bears many of the James Barnet characteristics. It shares an identical first order 9-sided Chance Bros optic with Point Perpendicular. This rotates on a bearing pedestal once every 60 sec producing a group flashing 3 every 20 sec character. With their 9 darkness-piecing beams these lights are truly magnificent at night especially after a good optic polish.

A subsidiary red light originally operated to cover Fish Rock from the large aperture below the balcony. Unlike its younger sister Smokey Cape is connected to mains power and continues to operate with its 1,000-watt lamp, spared the indignity of a Tupperware tower beside it.

The Octagonal Smoky Cape Tower. [Photograph Courtesy: Ian Clifford]
The Octagonal Smoky Cape Tower.
[Photograph Courtesy: Ian Clifford]

The tower is a concrete octagonal structure standing 17.4 metres to the top.
Gunmetal railings, a Barnet hallmark, are immune to the ravages of time. Not so for the external wrought iron around the lantern room. The platform sections around the lantern windows have been removed, restored and are sitting in the tower awaiting reinstallation.

Like many lighthouses, water ingress is one of the major problems and Smokey Cape has not been spared here either. It's always heartening to see restoration in progress.

One of the Cottages at Smoky Cape Lighthouse. [Photograph Courtesy: Ian Clifford]
One of the Cottages at Smoky Cape Lighthouse.
[Photograph Courtesy: Ian Clifford]

The cottages at Smokey Cape are available for accommodation. With close proximity to South West Rocks, beautiful beaches either side and the rugged surrounding coastline you could easily settle in and not want to leave. Not to mention the comfort that these beautiful cottages provide. Bookings can be made by phoning 02 65666301.

As I leave the station to meet up with the rest of the family I am treated to the sight of a pod of whales a few hundred metres off shore below the lighthouse, I pause to reflect on the times that the keepers must have stood on the lighthouse balcony on a calm night and heard the calls of the migrating whales.

With the choice made, we head off for a pizza and a walk around the town waterfront. Tomorrow we head for Byron Bay.

The Cape Byron Lighthouse. [Photograph Courtesy: Ian Clifford]
The Cape Byron Lighthouse.
[Photograph Courtesy: Ian Clifford]

The drive to Byron takes just over 4 hours passing through Coffs Harbour with a glimpse of South Solitary Is from the highway.

Byron is a place I always love to visit. Its changed so much since my time there but it still has a feel that's special and ambiance and vibrancy abound. My relations are also my friends and a beer at the Railway Hotel to chat about the latest changes to the town is a must do.

The Cape Byron Lens. [Photograph Courtesy: Ian Clifford]
The Cape Byron Lens.
[Photograph Courtesy: Ian Clifford]

Cape Byron lighthouse is impressive. Its Australia's most powerful, at 2.2 million candelas its massive first order dioptric bivalve double flashing apparatus revolving on a mercury bath gives a single flash every 15 sec presenting a loom that is truly darkness piercing.

The Cape Byron Plate,
The Cape Byron Plate, "Soci鴩s des Etablessements, Henry Lepante".
[Photograph Courtesy: Ian Clifford]

Manufactured by French Company, Societe des Etablisement, Henry Lepante, Paris the light was first lit in December 1901 and is a rare case of French optical equipment in an Australian lighthouse.

The Cape Byron Subsidiary Red Light. [Photograph Courtesy: Ian Clifford]
The Cape Byron Subsidiary Red Light.
[Photograph Courtesy: Ian Clifford]

A subsidiary red light to warn of the Julian Rocks operates from an aperture in the North face of the tower. The current red beacon is a modern plastic API unit.

The Original Cape Byron Subsidiary Lens. [Photograph Courtesy: Ian Clifford]
The Original Cape Byron Subsidiary Lens.
[Photograph Courtesy: Ian Clifford]

The original Chance beacon is stored in what was the keeper's office to the right of the front door. Also stored in this room is the original clockwork mechanism, the weights can still be seen at the bottom of the weight tube.

The Original Cape Byron Weights at the Bottom of the Tube. [Photograph Courtesy: Ian Clifford]
The Original Cape Byron Weights at the Bottom of the Tube.
Photograph Courtesy: Ian Clifford]

Standing on an almost sheer 90 metre cliff the tower is 18 metres high and constructed of preformed concrete blocks cement rendered inside and out. Its design can almost certainly be attributed to James Barnet.

The Cape Byron Cottages. [Photograph Courtesy: Ian Clifford]
The Cape Byron Cottages.
[Photograph Courtesy: Ian Clifford]

Two other NSW lights share a very similar design, Norah Head and Point Perpendicular.

Cape Byron lighthouse is Australia's most visited lighthouse, partly because of its spectacular location and proximity to Australia's most easterly point. The assistant keepers cottage is available for rent by contacting the Byron headland trust.

Like many coastal communities, Byron Bay has a rich maritime history, as coastal shipping was the sole means of transport and communication prior to rail.

The Clarence River Lighthouse at Yamba. [Photograph Courtesy: Ian Clifford]
The Clarence River Lighthouse at Yamba.
[Photograph Courtesy: Ian Clifford]

Yamba also shares this heritage being located on the southern side of the mouth of the Clarence River. Yamba and Illuka on the Northern side of the mouth still support large fishing fleets and have the odd large vessel visit the Port of Yamba.

The Clarence River Lighthouse at Yamba. [Photograph Courtesy: Brian Lord]
The Clarence River Lighthouse at Yamba.
[Photograph Courtesy: Brian Lord]

The Modern Lantern in the Clarence River Lighthouse at Yamba. [Photograph Courtesy: Ian Clifford]
The Modern Lantern in the Clarence River Lighthouse at Yamba.
[Photograph Courtesy: Ian Clifford]

The present lighthouse was built in the early 1950's to replace the original lighthouse, identical to the existing light at Richmond River, which was located further back on the headland where the reservoirs now stand behind the pilots cottage.

The Interior of the Clarence River Lighthouse at Yamba. [Photograph Courtesy: Ian Clifford]
The Interior of the Clarence River Lighthouse at Yamba.
[Photograph Courtesy: Ian Clifford]

The Stairs in the Clarence River Lighthouse at Yamba. [Photograph Courtesy: Ian Clifford]
The Stairs in the Clarence River Lighthouse at Yamba.
[Photograph Courtesy: Ian Clifford]

Our week in Yamba passes as holidays do, when you are blessed with good company and good weather, very quickly. We say good-bye to our friends from Brisbane for another year as we head South and they North. The question is, where to go next year.

Ian Clifford <icliffo@tpgi.com.au> has provided many of the photographs that have been used in the Project [Photograph: Richard Jermyn]
Ian Clifford <icliffo@tpgi.com.au>.
[Photograph: Richard Jermyn]


Letters & Notices:

First Baby Born on Tasman Island

Hi Malcolm

Tasman Island Lighthouse where Elaine Bell was born.My name is Elaine Bell .My Mother Eileen Thompson is the baby you mentioned as being the first born on Tasman Island' Her Father was Lesley Babbington Johnston .His Father was George Mums Grandfather. His wife lit the first taper to light the lamp, My Mum is 80 this year and can still remember details of her time on the Island. Last year we were lucky enough to get her a trip by helicopter over to the Island. Please contact me if you need anymore information.

Elaine Wood <geejaybee@netspace.net.au>.

Looking for John Pope, Formerly of Lady Elliot

Hi Malcolm

Tasman Island Lighthouse where Elaine Bell was born. I am trying to track down any old photos of a previous keeper of Lady Elliot, John Pope who was there many years ago.

I think he helped to build the airstrip there. I was hoping to try and find any details and photographs that might be still around. If so I would be grateful of any information that you would have.

Keep Safe and thank you Stephen Askew <sailaway2@bigpond.com>.

Feel free to post any request, letters, notices here regarding research, events etc for any Australian Lighthouse on this notice board.

<keeper@lighthouses.org.au>


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>


Australian News:

Further Delays in Opening Split Point Lighthouse to Public

The Split Point Lighthouse as Featured in
The Split Point Lighthouse as Featured in "Around the Twist".
Photograph Courtesy: Ed Kavaliunas]

The opening of Split Point on a regular basis has had further delays. The local council has been keen to open this light to the public and on days where it has been opened it has attracted up to 3,000 people. The light is a well known landmark that is visible as you travel along the Great Ocean Road and is also known for the role it plays as the lighthouse in the television series based on Paul Jennings "Around the Twist" books.

The possible opening has raised concerns for residents on the road approaching the lighthouse a report by PathFinder Marketing was commissioned into the potential effect of opening the lighthouse for regular tours.

The major concern is that the road to the tower winds through residential areas and is unsealed.

The Scenic Split Point Lighthouse at Aireys Inlet. Photograph Courtesy: Ed Kavaliunas]
The Scenic Split Point Lighthouse at Aireys Inlet.
Photograph Courtesy: Ed Kavaliunas]

The report has now been completed and has been presented to the sub-committee responsible for investigating opening the tower. The committee will make it's final report to the Surf Coast Shire Council in November.

Here at the Project, we hoped to have had a closer look at the report before the November Bulletin

Anyone with any articles or stories effecting Australian Lighthouse are welcome to contribute them.


Join Proposed Lighthouses of Australia Inc.

In August I announced my intention of leaving the Project and the intention of forming a incorporated body to take over. The response so far has been quite positive with interest from people with all sorts of backgrounds and skills.

There is a little bit of "red tape" to go though with a period of 3-4 weeks to actually form the body. Once this is done we can officially receive the new members and start to function as a group.

There is still time to throw your hat into the ring, whether it just be a financial member or direct involvement on the committee, web pages, the bulletin or some other aspect that could enrich the site.

A charter has been developed and can be found on-line at <../../About/Charter.htm>.

A constitution has been developed and can be found on-line at <../../About/Constitution.htm>.

The suggested memberships and costs are as follows:

  • Individual Membership (12 months) $25 AUD

    Other groups/bodies with in interest in Lighthouses:

    • Non-Profit Organisation or Group Membership (12 months) $50 AUD
    • Small Business Membership (12 months) $100 AUD
    • Large Corporate, Government Department & Statutory Authority Memberships and Sponsorship by negotiation.

To join, visit the Membership page.


Thanks to the Following People for Their Help in September:

Chris White (information)
Robert Cook (information)
Kate Robinson, Surf Coast Shire (information)
Finbar McCormick (references)
Klaus Huelse (links)
John Nicholson (corrections & research)
Peter Arnold & Peter Raphael (photographs)

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 Nov 2000 Bulletin
Malcolm Macdonald

http://www.lighthouses.org.au/lights/


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

Photographs & Contributions:

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Keith Banks for Information
Ian Clifford for Story and Photographs

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