Lighthouses of Australia Project - JANUARY 01 BULLETIN
APRIL 2001

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Dear Friends
Point Hicks Ghost 100th Birthday
Caloundra Trip With Denise Shultz
Letters & Notices
Department of Scrounge
New Pages for Australia
New Links for Australia
New Links for World
Australian News
Join Proposed Lighthouses of Australia Inc
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Dear Friends

Incorporated At Last.

We are incorporated at last!

We will start processing membership applications soon and invoicing applicants for the annual fee.

The interim committee is already meeting

Remember, to get involved join up. Fill out the membership application below.

Full report and more details next month.

Not Another Bumper Issue*@#!!

Believe it or not we have actually held over a few stories and bits of news as this has already become a bumper issue.

We are attempting to put a limitation on the size of the Bulletin but unfortunately some stories go stale if they don't go in the current issue.

What we do have is the fascinating story of the Point Hicks ghost, and another great report on the Caloundra Lighthouse from Denise Shultz which is the final part of her Queensland trip.

Heaps of letters with information and looking for help as well. The feed back is that people get quite a good response. If you get a satisfactory and informative response we would be grateful if you would forward them onto us. Often the response is just as valuable if not more than the request.

The news is a bit wordy this month. A few issues that will really effect the preservation of our lights rather than pretty stories. The changes concerning the Register of the National Estate is addressed in even more detail this month. There is an update on the Low Head Foghorn. Roger Todd give us an further update with the old Caloundra Lighthouse open day. Finally, some exciting restoration works being undertaken on the Vlaming Head Lighthouse.

Lost Email

Our inbox corrupted so when rebuilt we lost most of the inward from 10th April to 13th April. If you email us in that period and haven't had a response then please resend your email and we will attend to it.

All Mail is Virus Scanned

We are now running AVG virus scanning software that checks all outgoing emails for viruses. We also ran a complete scan of our system as part of the set up and the system was clean.

It is quite a nice little virus scanner and it can be found at <>.

Also note that we run QuickHead-E <> which allows us to delete any unwanted or suspicious email of the ISP's server before we download. We are pretty brutal with what we delete so please make sure you include a Subject and that is clear about the content.

As you can see we are making every effort to protect our subscribers by protecting our own system.

Malcolm Macdonald
Malcolm Macdonald
[Photograph: Deborah Kavaliunas]
eMail Malcolm

Ed "Smithy" Kavaliunas is Assisting With the Editorial of the Monthly Bulletin  [Photograph: Deborah Taylor]
Ed "Smithy" Kavaliunas
[Photograph: Deborah Kavaliunas]

eMail Ed

The Ghost Of Point Hicks

'Man disappears off rocks at Cape Everard' was the headline of the Snowy River Mail on the Wednesday the 9th of April 1947. The assistant keeper at the lighthouse now known as Point Hicks , came to an untimely end in mysterious circumstances setting his crayfish pot at the rocks at the base of the lighthouse. A six day search by police failed to find any trace of Robert Grace Christorfen or his craypot.'

Robert With His Craypot [Photograph courtesy: Robert Haldane]
Robert With His Craypot
[Photograph courtesy: Robert Haldane]

Robert Grace Christorfen had a colourful background. Born at Dandenong, Victoria in 1901, he first worked as a horse-driver before joining the Victoria Police in 1924 as a part of the post police strike intake of recruits in that year. Initially he was a mounted trooper at Swan Hill and Dartmoor and then later did service as a foot constable at Mentone, Collingwood and Prahran.

Robert, on Left, in His Mounted Trooper Days [Photograph courtesy: Robert Haldane]
Robert, on Left, in His Mounted Trooper Days
[Photograph courtesy: Robert Haldane]

Apparently, as was not unusual for that time, he was charged with discipline offences and fined for unlawful assault and disobeying the instructions of his supervisor, for 'improperly working his beat', (he could not be found). He also lost his helmet! In 1933, he was asked to resign from the force because it was alleged that he was living with a woman that was not his wife!

Christoferson then spent much of the depression years doing relief work, until April 1940, when he enlisted as a private in the 16th Australian Infantry Training Battalion. He embarked for Palestine on 14 September 1940 and within months was reported as missing in action in Crete. On 30 October 1941 he was officially registered as a German prisoner-of-war and was interned in the infamous Stalag 13 prisoner-of-war camp for the duration of the war.

The Point Hicks Lightstation [Photograph courtesy: AMSA]
The Point Hicks Lightstation
[Photograph courtesy: AMSA]

After being discharged from the Army in September 1945, Christoferson sought sanctuary and seclusion as an assistant lighthouse-keeper at the Cape Everard (Point Hicks) Lightstation on the Wilderness Coast in Far East Gippsland. After his mysterious disappearance, numerous residents and visitors at the light station attest that the ghost of Christoferson occupies his former cottage: his hobnail boots are heard around the tower at night and his apparition polishes brass doorknobs and moves tools and other objects about the light station.

Michael, Daniel and Chelsea Gayed, the Great Grandchildren of Robert Grace Christorfen [Photograph: Terri Gayed]
Michael, Daniel and Chelsea Gayed, the Great Grandchildren of Robert Grace Christorfen
[Photograph: Terri Gayed]

In March of 2001, Robert and Margaret Christopher, the descendants of Robert Grace Christorfen, decided to visit Point Hicks with their daughter, Terri Gayed and her husband Nader and their children, Michael, Daniel and Chelsea on the occasion of the 100th Birthday of Robert Grace Christorfen.

Margaret recalls that;

'After being demobbed from the army, where he was a POW at Stalag 13C, he was sent on light duties to Cape Everard. He was accompanied by his wife Daisy.

On the 3 April 1947 he went to check the cray pots on the rocks near the keepers cottage. According to news clippings and folk lore Daisy went to call him for breakfast. He said he would be in soon but was never seen again. A search was organised but was unsuccessful. He was a strong swimmer but perhaps he was knocked unconscious by the fall.

His son was in the army, serving in Japan at the time, but by the time he was flown home on compassionate leave it was to late to do any thing. He only saw his step- mother once after that. We were told that she tried to get more compensation from the Dept. of Shipping & Transport who were in charge of lighthouses but when it was discovered that she was his de-facto wife she received nothing!'

Margaret reflects on the anniversary with the following observations;

'We all had a drink and a meal at the Cann River Hotel as we felt that this would have been a stopping place for Robert back in 1947. Several local people told us stories of the old days and Judy from The Pelican Point Coffee Lounge made a delicious picnic tea for us and supplied a birthday cake for Robert. All the children were suffering from car sickness but were willing to over come this for the thrill of the trip to the lighthouse. The 'WOW' breathed softly by 4 year old Daniel at his first sight of the lighthouse was a delight to hear.

We were greeted by Amanda and Rob and made to feel very welcome. The young family climbed to the top of the lighthouse and we all signed Happy Birthday in the visitor's book. Amanda and Rob kindly allowed us to eat our picnic on their verandah, over looking the ocean and the rocks. They joined us later for the lighting of the candles and we all sang Happy Birthday. We exchanged notes and photos and although the ghost did not appear to help us blow the candles out we hope he knew there were three generations there to wish him well. We said good-bye to our new friends, and drove home, followed by a full moon and happy that we had made the effort to be there on that day, and also knowing that we were leaving our ghost in good company with Amanda and Rob.'

The Descendants of Robert Grace Christorfen Celebrate His 100th Birthday [Photograph: Terri Gayed]
The Descendants of Robert Grace Christorfen Celebrate His 100th Birthday
[Photograph: Terri Gayed]

By Robert Haldane <> & Margaret Christopher <>, Edited by Ed & Deborah Kavaliunas <

Caloundra Trip With Denise Shultz

Denise's Two Previous Reports:
Sandy Cape Trip With Denise Shultz: Feb 2001 Bulletin
Double Island Point Trip With Denise Shultz: Mar 2001 Bulletin

[by Denise Shultz]

History is repeating itself, at least in case of old Caloundra lighthouse. Regular readers of the Bulletin will be familiar with the few facts from its history. This little lighthouse originally built in 1896 is the oldest surviving building in Caloundra. Its original position was the hill on what is today called Canberra Terrace.

The Original Caloundra Lighthouse Built in 1896 [Photograph Courtesy: Landsborough Shire Historical Museum]
The Original Caloundra Lighthouse Built in 1896
[Photograph Courtesy: Landsborough Shire Historical Museum]

Seventy-two years later the lighthouse was rendered obsolete by a new tower, with a light and signal station, which became operational in 1968. When the old lighthouse was threatened with demolition, Caloundra residents relocated it to a park at Golden Beach in 1970. It only took a few years before the new lighthouse and signal station also encountered trouble; the reason, development! There were just too many new tall buildings springing up all around and obstructing the signals.

The Second Tower Has Been Completely Built Out [Photograph: Denise Shultz]
The Second Tower Has Been Completely Built Out
[Photograph: Denise Shultz]

A completely new lighthouse was build at Point Cartwright in Mooloolaba north of Caloundra in 1978. The second Caloundra light was downgraded to a harbour light. The signal station continued functioning until 1992 when it was replaced by an automatic one on the roof of units at Wickham Point. This light was relocated in 1998. The facility now has standby capabilities.

The Point Cartwright Lighthouse [Photograph: Grant Maizels]
The Point Cartwright Lighthouse
[Photograph: Grant Maizels]

After the first lighthouse was moved it barely escaped total deterioration and thanks to a few determined people was moved back to its original location. Even then, there was a bit of a drama when, while moving the body of the lighthouse it was nearly smashed to pieces, when the fragile structure broke. It was repaired soon after and proudly erected next to it's younger brother back at Canberra Terrace, where it still stands today.

The Badly Damaged Caloundra Lighthouse [Photograph Courtesy: Courier Mail]
The Badly Damaged Caloundra Lighthouse
[Photograph Courtesy: Courier Mail]

I decided to see the Caloundra lighthouse on the second last day of our Queensland trip. The trouble was the others wanted to go as well, though not particularly because of the lighthouse. How do you move nine people 60 km south from Noosa and back when you have only one car taking a maximum of five passengers? With great difficulties!

I had no idea where to find the lighthouses. We had plenty of time to find out since I had an appointment there with Roger Todd in about two hours. Luckily, we were not very far away and after asking the locals we soon found them.

Both Lighthouses With Building in Background [Photograph: Denise Shultz]
Both Lighthouses With Building in Background
[Photograph: Denise Shultz]

When we walked up to them, the sight awaiting us there was a little unexpected.

Both lighthouses are very close together, probably less than 10m apart. That would not matter if it were not for an overpowering presence of a close by brand new apartment building. This rectangular block, which the architects with great audacity called "The Lighthouses", definitely beat both real lighthouses in height by a good 5 metres. It is also on the side facing the sea.

Roger Todd Inside the Old Tower [Photograph: Denise Shultz]
Roger Todd Inside the Old Tower
[Photograph: Denise Shultz]

We were still shaking our heads in amazement when Roger arrived accompanied by a young friend, Richard. Roger has been living in Caloundra for 16 years and obviously loves the town. He was so full of knowledge that I had trouble remembering everything he said.

He showed us some historical pictures and also photographs of the near tragedy, when the lighthouse was broken during the transport. I must say though, that today you can barely pick up the place where the breakage happened. The inside timber frame has been repaired and the corrugated cladding outside partially replaced with new one, which is only very slightly different.

The Repairs Inside The Tower [Photograph: Denise Shultz]
The Repairs Inside The Tower
[Photograph: Denise Shultz]

As much as possible of the original structure was kept in place to keep the lighthouse's authenticity. Two flights of stepladder lead up to the lantern room 11.5m above ground level. There is a pedestal all ready for the lens to be placed on it. Roger confirmed that the bull's eye of the original lens has been located and might be soon installed back at its proper place.

Roger And Richard On The Balcony of The Old Tower [Photograph: Denise Shultz]
Roger And Richard On The Balcony of The Old Tower
[Photograph: Denise Shultz]

The most interesting part of the tour came when we climbed out onto the balcony. It is very narrow and is not a place for overweight people who suffer with vertigo. The view is still spectacular though. Apart from two ladies sitting in their lounge room having coffee only 20m away slightly above our eye level, we could see the Pumicestone Passage, the town and the northern tip of Bribie Island. Opposite the lounging ladies we could see inside the newer lighthouse.

The View Towards The Pumicestone Passage From The Old Tower [Photograph: Denise Shultz]
The View Towards The Pumicestone Passage From The Old Tower
[Photograph: Denise Shultz]

According to Roger this second tower is even more valuable than the old lighthouse because only two of this type were ever built and the other one has been since demolished.

Roger told us about future possibilities for the lighthouse reserve. After it is made safe for visitors and insurance is obtained, the old and maybe even the newer tower would be open to the public and guided tours could be conducted.

The Turntable in The Old Tower [Photograph: Denise Shultz]
The Turntable in The Old Tower
[Photograph: Denise Shultz]

There is an old house on a neighbouring block of land that so far escaped the high rise development. The ambition is to buy the whole package and convert the house to a visitors centre. I do hope the City Council and Roger will succeed with their plans and so create a very unusual tourist attraction.

After Roger and his friend departed, we were left to wait to be picked up. It started to rain and we took a refuge under the new lighthouse. I looked up and thought about the future of this little oasis of bygone era. I hoped that people who are going to decide it would learn from mistakes that were made in the past and will not let the history to repeat itself for the third time.

Denise Shultz [Photograph: Denise Shultz]
Denise Shultz <>
[Photograph: Denise Shultz]

Letters & Notices:

Response to Looking for Horace Parker

Gail Johanson <>

3 April 2001

Dear Gail

As a genealogist and author I noted with interest your query about your great uncle Horace Parker. Over the last few years I have been compiling a list of lighthouse keepers in Australia - primarily NSW but including other states when I find the information. Most of the records only record the initials so in checking the Permanent Staff Lists in the Government Gazettes from 1916 to 1938 plus 1948 & 1951 which record the staff at the lighthouses I have found an H.T. Parker who worked as a lightkeeper in New South Wales. He may or may not be the person you are looking for but here is the information about him that was in the records.

The Green Cape LighthouseH.T. Parker was born on 22 September 1874 and the date of his first appointment was 27 May 1903. He worked as a First Assistant Keeper at Nobbys Head Lighthouse in 1916 and Clarence River in 1917, 1919 and 1920 and Smoky Cape in 1921 and 1922. He was Principal Keeper at Green Cape from 1923 - 1925, Smoky Cape from 1926 - 1927 and Norah Head in 1933 and 1935.

The Smoky Cape LighthouseThere was also a Parker - no initial or name - who worked at Point Perpendicular Light from 1904 - 1908 as First and Second Keeper. There was also a J.H. Parker who worked the lights in New South Wales between 1907 and 1920.

I did not find any Parker at any of the lights in any of the other States of Australia listed in the above mentioned Permanent Staff Lists. These lists do not cover all the years though so it is always possible that he has slipped through the gaps. I have also checked Shirley Buchanan's list of Lightkeepers in Queensland just in case to no avail.

The Australian Archives have a guide called LIGHTHOUSES IN AUSTRALIA; A Guide to Records held by the Australian Archives (1991) in which it shows that their office in South Australia hold documents on the lighthouses and the keepers and would be worth contacting. The address listed in the book is:

PO Box 119
SA 5081

The State Archives of South Australia may also hold information on the lights and keepers - their address is:

The Director
State Records
PO Box 1056
Blair Athol West
SA 5084

Regards Averil Legg <>

Looking for Oswald Ives, Keeper Booby Island

The Booby Island LightstationHi Malcolm

Hello, I'm looking for historical records re lighthouse keepers Booby Is. Circa 1914, we believe Oswald Ives served at Booby about this era, do you know of any sources that may confirm this?

Thanking you Merle Perham <>

Cape Du Couedic Poem by John James Duthie

Hi Malcolm

The Cape du Couedic Lighthouse With John DuthieThis is a poem found in a notebook of my fathers, John James Duthie. It is his father, Gilbert Gavin Duthie and family in the photo of the du Couedic lighthouse.

The Cape du Couedic LighthouseI am sending the original writing, but it didn't scan too well so I typed it out and corrected some of the spelling.

I could only guess that "Gorges" in paragraph 2 means "Georges" or something I don't know about so I left it.

I surmise it is original and he would have been a young lad at the time he was on the De Couedic.

Regards Beryl Innes nee Duthie <>

Cape de Couedic

Lo another star has risen beneath the southern cross, to protect our noble shipping and their valued freights from loss.

I allude to Couedic lighthouse with it keepers gorges three, to watch at night and guard their light and keep dangers free.

Twenty eight miles o’er the oceans foam to genial ray are shed, over the heavy seas of the breast and the graves of the honored dead.

All praise to the noble structure on our southern coast, so grand all praise to those who built here to work of head and hand.

There she may be for ages, as long as the world may last, ever sending a timely warning to the vessels speeding past.

Then long to the keepers there with their wives and children too, may they long tend to Couedic lighthouse as a happy and peaceful crew.

May they all work well together midstorm and the day so bright, be good and keep for always the faithful Couedic light.

With a prayer for the tempest tossed, with a prayer for those that are lost, may the dark and stormy night be pierced by the Couedic light

J.J.D. / C.D.C.

Thanks to Michael Oxley for retyping the poem.

The Pleasure Of Viewing Your Site

Hi there

The Solitary Island LighthouseI've just had the pleasure of viewing your site and, boy, did it bring back memories.

The  Montague Island LighthouseMy name is Michael Oxley. My late father, Robert Oxley, was a lighthouse keeper (as well as several other members of my family who served at Byron Bay, Seal Rocks, Smoky Cape, Point Stephens, Point Perpendicular).

I myself between 1966 and 1972 lived at Solitary Island, Montague Island, Norah Head and finally Green Cape.

I just wanted to let you know that if I can be any help at all, please write to me at

Best regards Michael Oxley <>

Construction Techniques for Gabo Island

Dear Sir

The Gabo Island LighthouseI have been residing and working on Gabo Island for the past six years and marvel every day at the magnificent tower handcrafted from the island's pink granite.

I am seeking information on the construction techniques that would have been incorporated here in 1861.

I know the "plug and feather" method was used to quarry the rock but am not sure how it was handled once shaped.

How were the stones manoeuvred into position?
How was the candle room lifted into position at 154ft elevation?
Was there a traction engine on the sight?

Any information to help with my research will be greatly appreciated

Tony Symes <>
PO Box 49
Mallacoota 3892

Looking Iron Pot Keepers List

Hi Malcolm

My name is Terry Munright and I have a personal interest in the Iron Pot Lighthouse.

The Iron Pot LighthouseWould you have or know of a source that could give me a list of the men that worked at the Pot.

I believe a relative worked in the lighthouse but I don't have a date.

Any information would be much appreciated.

Regards Terry Munright <>

Hi Terry

2 places to look.


John W & L Cook
84 Bangor Road

John has lists, but the records tended to only include head keepers son if your relative was a 3rd assistance or temporary they may not be there.

Also checkout:

Guiding lights: Tasmania's lighthouses and lighthousemen
Stanley, Katherine M
St Davids Park Publishing

Should be available at your local library. Has a list of all keepers in the appendix.

Regards Malcolm Macdonald <>

Norah Head Lighthouse And The Keepers Cottages

The Norah Head Lighthouse To whom it may concern

I need any help and/or information on Norah Head Lighthouse and the keepers cottages, as I am writing Local Historical Site Report on this lighthouse for university. I have tried to obtain a copy of From Dusk Until Dawn from the local libraries and the university libraries without success.

I was just wondering if any of your members or associates have a copy of this book and would be willing to photocopy the information for me on Norah Head Lighthouse. I will pay for postage and the cost of photocopying.

Thankyou, Peta Fenton <>

South Australian Keepers Listing: 1852 to 1916


The Port Adelaide LighthouseI wish to subscribe I used to get stuff sent to <>

My area of expertise is SA lighthouses and lightkeepers I am putting together a database of lightkeepers from 1852 onwards for all SA lights at this stage I am up 1916 and closing.

I will be only too pleased to help anyone needing ancestral info.

Regards Graham Arriola <>

Hi From Wonglepong QLD

Dear Malcolm

Note of thanks for the great emails. Being raised by the sea at Manly NSW I have always loved the ocean and respected the people who protect us from its almighty fury my family and I know live on small beautiful property behind the Gold Coast QLD, and at times miss being close to the sea.

As a child I spent lots of time roaming round the many lighthouses on the coast of New South Wales, and even now when ever by the sea I still enjoy strolling up to see the different lighthouses. Good to see you are on the mend and settling in to your new home.

Recently I was asked if I was on any medication. I replied just fresh air and happiness, all the best and good health

Ross, Christine and Samantha Hodgson <>

Hi Ross

I would find it very hard to leave living by the sea.

Thanks for your support with the Bulletin and health. I certainly enjoy putting the Bulletin together and I am feeling better every day. It will good when I can start roaming around lighthouses again.

Regards Malcolm Macdonald <>

Your Health Etc

Hi Malcolm

Thank you for giving as usual so much of yourself in divulging so freely to us your personal situation. I am sorry that you, such a devoted worker for our cause, are suffering in this way. I hope the number of hours under treatment per day is allowing you enough time to do the things you enjoy most, or if not, that some improvement is on the way.

Malcolm on a Lighthouse ExpeditionI was feeling sorry for myself, with my car off the road due to an accident (genuinely not my fault) and now my wife's car has expired. At least both will be repaired and it is a reminder to me to be thankful for our health at this end and to cheer up. I wish you every success in keeping pace with your health.

It is very kind of you to extend to all and sundry an invitation to visit. We only cross to that side of the Bay occasionally but would love to see you sometime. Thank you. The house looks great and I am sure as you "personalise" the place it will become an extension of your personality. I suspect that you are not into material things overly much, but a house can be something very special if it is the right one for you. Have fun with it.

It is always exciting to receive the Bulletin, and the effort that you and many others obviously put into it is very much appreciated. As I have previously mentioned Lis & I are unable to help in a practical way with the project at this stage of our lives, but would love to become financial subscribers as soon as it is set up.

Hope to see you soon,

Lis & Stewart Brown <>

Hi Stewart

Malcolm Surveying the Surrounds of Point GellibrandThankyou for your support.

Eventually I may be able to do the dialysis at home and use that time for things like the Project.

It has made me appreciate the good things I have too and believe me, I don't worry about a lot of the things I used too! You realize how trivial we can be at times.

No, I am not big on material things. My friends are very important and getting out on big and little adventures (lighthouses included).

The incorporation has just come through and soon we will be processing membership applications and having a meeting. Any support is better than none. Thanks.

We hope to organise an inaugural dinner (or function) so this might be a chance to see you.

Regards Malcolm Macdonald <>

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


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:

The Dept of Scrounge PageNew.gif (158 bytes) The Dept of Scrounge Page

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:

The Wonga Shoal Lighthouse Disaster by Mary Shields CriddleNew.gif (158 bytes) The Wonga Shoal Lighthouse Disaster by Mary Shields Criddle

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 pages for 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:

Changes to National Heritage Laws

[PRISM - Autumn 2001]

Fact Box

The Register of the National Estate records some 13,000 places. Just of these are lighthouses and lightstations.

All of the latter have been handed over by the Australian Government to the States, but the towers have been leased back to AMSA.

This could mean that they would be eligible for the new Commonwealth List. However, the rest of the lightstation would remain in state hands, possibly to be leased or sold off.

Any protection would be under state laws or local government planning schemes. It is envisaged that the new Australian legislation would have " teeth" to ensure that places on its lists were protected.

However, what would happen if a state or local government permitted inappropriate development on the rest of the light station?

Are our Lighthouses Threatened?

Amendments to the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act (1999) have been introduced into Federal Parliament. If passed, they will constitute the most comprehensive overhaul of heritage legislation since 1975.

Key changes include the creation of a National Heritage List, a Commonwealth Heritage List and an Australian Heritage Council.

The two lists will replace the existing Register of the National Estate, which at present contains nearly all Australia's historic lights. It is generally believed that the two lists will only contain sites that are national icons. The remainder will be entrusted to the existing patchwork of state and local government heritage laws. Where will our lights fit in?

The Point Samson Lighthouse: Will it be forgotten? [Photograph: John Ibbotson]
The Point Samson Lighthouse: Will it be forgotten?
[Photograph: John Ibbotson]

The Fraser Government, acting on the community belief that valuable parts of the nation's heritage were being lost as a result of neglect, ignorance or inappropriate development, set up The Australian Heritage Commission in 1976.

The Australian Heritage Commission Act was established as a vehicle for conserving all significant places, not just those of national importance. In those days, there was very little effective environmental or heritage legislation in Australia. Since then, all the states have passed heritage legislation of varying quality and the best local government planning schemes take heritage protection very seriously in so far as they are permitted by state planning policies.

Understandably, the increasing profile of heritage at state and local planning level has led those who are philosophically inclined to "small government" at the national level to wish to devolve Australian Government responsibility in this area as far down as possible.

Minister for Environment and Heritage, Senator Robert Hill [Photograph: Australian Government Who's Who]
Minister for Environment and Heritage, Senator Robert Hill
[Photograph: Australian Government Who's Who]

This was made clear by the Minister for Environment and Heritage, Senator Robert Hill, who told the ninth International National Trust Conference in Alice Springs in August, that just as the Howard Government has made reforms to the tax system and "similar advances in the areas of industrial relations, health insurance and higher education", so it will reform the national heritage regime.

"The new heritage legislation will allow for a true national scheme of heritage protection in cooperation with the states and territories," Senator Hill continued. "Places of national significance will be properly protected for the first time (and) ... for industry, there will be certainty in that Commonwealth involvement in the assessment and approval process will be triggered only when a place of national significance is involved."

Senator Hill said the Register of the National Estate had served its purpose for 25 years and had provided national leadership in heritage issues.

But the register, while widely recognised, had no legislative power, he said.

"While many will feel an almost emotional attachment to the concept of the register, we must consider whether it is time to move beyond its largely educative and awareness-raising role toward a system which provides real protection for places of national significance."

The minister's comments follow closely the arguments advanced in a discussion paper A National Future for Australia's Heritage, released by his department late in 1999. The key issues identified in this paper revealed the need for a more integrated, rational and coherent approach to managing Australia's heritage and to delivering protection at Local, Regional, Territory, State and National levels.

Legislative Review

The Commonwealth Government has announced its intention of working with the States to review their respective roles in environmental issues, and to review Commonwealth environmental legislation in line with this.

Heritage and conservation legislation differs substantially throughout Australia and, ideally, should be comprehensively reviewed to achieve consistent national policies and processes.

Lack Of National Policy

At present, there is no national policy that unites Commonwealth, State and Territory Governments in an agreed heritage protection regime. This has led to significant gaps and duplications.

The cottages at Bustard Head are lost to vandals despite a strong calls for protection from locals. [Photograph Courtesy: Cyril Curtain]
The cottages at Bustard Head are lost to vandals despite a strong calls for protection from locals.
[Photograph Courtesy: Cyril Curtain]


Within the Commonwealth itself, responsibility for cultural and natural heritage policies is spread between a range of portfolios and laws. This becomes a problem when there is a lack of an overarching policy framework and of communication between relevant agencies.

Duplication and Disparity

All State heritage bodies have developed, or are working on, comprehensive lists of cultural heritage places and are implementing heritage protection regimes. That said, there are major differences in the coverage and comprehensiveness of State approaches to legislation and heritage listing within and between the natural, indigenous and historic environments.

Most States do not have statutory registers covering all three heritage environments - natural, indigenous and historic. There are State lists for historic places; there are State registers for indigenous heritage places but there tends to be nothing similar for natural places.

This leads to the existence of many omissions and overlaps in assessment, listing and management processes. Some types of places are not listed by States at all. Others, especially historic places, are subject to both Commonwealth and State protection regimes - and may receive two assessments.

In its final conclusions the paper noted that:

"The integration process needed to resolve these issues will take both time and forbearance. This Discussion Paper is intended as the first step in what is a complex and iterative process.

There will be a transition period. While new processes are being put in place the Commission will need to continue under existing arrangements and in consultation with the States pending the finalisation of agreed national outcomes."

So far so good. However, many people in the heritage game are doubtful about the processes being used to bring about the proposed rationalization of our responsibilities towards the nation's heritage. The general feeling at the Alice Springs meeting was of suspicion of the government's motives. More generously, it can be argued that the Australian Government is expecting too much of the states.

The transition period referred to in the Discussion Paper will of necessity be prolonged since, throughout the history of Federation, the states have never agreed quickly to any uniform measures. Because of this experience, the haste in dismantling the Heritage Commission and truncating the National Estate Register seems to smack of reform for its own sake - adding to the list of changes wrought in various institutions by the present government. In fact, a more gradual approach would still give it credit for initiating the reform and lead to a better long-term outcome. Of course, this is what may happen after the proposed legislation reaches the Senate.

What of our Lighthouses?

There is no doubt that our lighthouses are kept in mind by the existing Australian Heritage Commission, as shown by the following message posted on the Lighthouses of Australia online bulletin for March this year:

Congratulations on a fantastic web site I work with the Australian Heritage Commission, the statutory authority charged with keeping an inventory - the Register of the National Estate - about the national values of Australia's special places.

Recently, I have been doing some research work for a project on heritage places associated with Federation and discovered your site. It is a wonderful source of information and a credit to the work you've put into it.

We have a number of lighthouses listed on the register of the national estate, along with statements about their significance.

If you've not seen our site, you can access it at

Again, congratulations on all your work.

With thanks Sharon Phillips <>
Education and Communication, Australian Heritage Commission

As most of you are aware, our lighthouse reserves have been handed over to the state governments, with the towers, where they are still in use, being leased back to AMSA.

A significant feature of Australian Lightstations is that, because of their isolation, many were little communities, complete with a school and extensive storehouses. With demanning, all of these structures became redundant and have suffered various fates, ranging from total neglect to painstaking preservation.

What they all have in common is that they are hostage to the laws, resources and priorities of the state where they are situated. Under the proposed heritage legislation, the towers should be on the list of Australian government properties because they are leased back from the states and, since the new Act will have "teeth", they will have more solid statutory protection than they have now.

This, of course, supposes, that AMSA would raise no objection to their inclusion on the list. On the other hand, maintenance of old structures is expensive. AMSA has already privatised its maintenance to cut costs. Can we expect it to shoulder the burden of heritage conservation?

For Further Information

Old Caloundra Lighthouse Open Day

Previous Reports on Caloundra:
May 1999 Bulletin: Disastrous End to Moving Old Caloundra Lighthouse!

June 1999 Bulletin: Special Old Caloundra Lighthouse Report
July 1999 Bulletin: Caloundra Makes it Home at Last!
Feb 2000 Bulletin: Caloundra - Back in Place at Last

[by Roger Todd: Chair Sunshine Coast Branch National Trust]

The Lions BBQ with the two lighthouses in the background [Photograph: Eddie Van Dyke]
The Lions BBQ with the two lighthouses in the background
[Photograph: Eddie Van Dyke]

Restoring the old Caloundra lighthouse to its original site has been a long and sometimes difficult project. The public open day on March 31st 2001 was an important milestone and was greatly satisfying for all those involved.

The gaining of a final certification for the building works was dependent on a number of strategies being put in place to limit risks to the public. These included the necessity for trained guides to assist during public visitation, minor modifications to the original building fabric, safety signage, an acceptable operating procedure, and inclusion in Council’s insurance arrangements.

Lynette Van Dyke waves from the balcony [Photograph: Eddie Van Dyke]
Lynette Van Dyke waves from the balcony
[Photograph: Eddie Van Dyke]

Lions Club members acted as guides and put on a BBQ for the occasion.

Formalities consisted of a few words from the Caloundra City Mayor Don Aldous, and Roger Todd, architect for the project and chair of the Sunshine Coast Branch of the National Trust.

Recognition was given to the Council for its role in the project, and to the large number of individuals and organizations who generously donated their time, expertise, materials and labour.

The Public Inspect the Lighthouse - note the news cameraman in the lantern and the emergency egress ladder positioned for public access days. [Photograph: Eddie Van Dyke]
The Public Inspect the Lighthouse - note the news cameraman in the lantern and the emergency egress ladder positioned for public access days.
[Photograph: Eddie Van Dyke]

The old Lighthouse is an icon of Caloundra, and its restoration to its original site enables meaningful interpretation of its history. The 1896 lighthouse and its 1967 replacement now stand together as they did for about three years in the late 1960’s.

Although buildings in the vicinity have altered the original context, this process is also a part of history. Development along the ridge line resulted in a new lighthouse being built at nearby Point Cartwright in 1978, and the 1967 lighthouse being downgraded to a harbour light.

Roger Todd <> [Photograph: Denise Shultz]
Roger Todd <>
[Photograph: Denise Shultz]

Update on Low Head Foghorn

Further to the article regarding the Low Head Fog Alarm which was featured in the March Bulletin, all minor, but bureaucratically important repairs to the air receivers. The installation has now been passed as safe for operation.

The Compressor Shed With Foghorn Visible On The Gable [Photograph: Deb Kavaliunas]
The Compressor Shed With Foghorn Visible On The Gable
[Photograph: Deb Kavaliunas]

Now that there is air the Low Head Progress & Heritage Association are ready to carry out the installation sequence required for the type "G" diaphone. It is already been stripped down, cleaned and fitted with new gaskets and diaphragms and ready to place in position. This unit would now appear to be as in good condition as when it was manufactured.

If all goes well it is anticipated that the installation will be operating within 2 weeks. During testing for the certification the air receivers were run to maximum pressure and the relief valves operated perfectly. All is now GO.

While The Association has been waiting for the authorities to give them the green light they have started to refurbish one of the Gardner Model 2 D.C.R. engines which were initially installed in 1929 to provide power for the compressors.

The Compressor Inside The Shed [Photograph: Cyril Curtain]
The Compressor Inside The Shed
[Photograph: Cyril Curtain]

After removing multi layers of paint which had been spread over absolutely everything they have revealed a magnificently preserved engine. Lighthouse keepers Log records show that this engine has only operated approx. 1000 hours. The rocker assemblies and valves have been removed and will need regrinding but that is all.

Inspection of items such as cam shafts and cam followers have revealed machinery of such massiveness and perfection that it is nearly impossible to believe.

The completion of this project may take a month or so but the Association assures us that this engine and the second compressor will be operational this year.

With the air receivers cleared for operation and the compressor with the electric motor working they have been advised by Trinity House that this will be the only operational installation of it's type left in the world.

Bruce Findlay of the Low Head Progress & Heritage Association Inc. wonders whether one of the readers of the bulletin may be able to confirm this.

Magnificent assistance for this project has been offered and supplied by Tasmanian Parks & Wildlife and the voluntary help from large and small manufacturing and engineering organizations of Georgetown.

Bruce Findlay <>
Low Head Progress & Heritage Association Inc.

Sea Ways to Federation

Re-release of Landmark Inquiry into Lighthouses on the Australian Coast.

The Marine and Coastal Community Network in Tasmania has digitized an important 1856 inquiry into the needs for lighthouses on the southeast Australian coast.

The inquiry was convened by the Parliament of Victoria with commissioners appointed from Victoria, New South Wales, South Australia and Tasmania. The Network obtained the report from the State Library of Tasmania.

To date it has only been available to a limited number of people because of its fragile condition and only relatively few copies would have been printed originally. The Tasmanian Parliament, for example, no longer has a copy.

The Network published this report because of the story of the building of these lights was an important step towards Federation.

In many ways this was Australia's first big infrastructure project. A further significance was that it was undertaken while our States were still colonies and Federation was still to come 45 years later.

These lights were so important as in 19th century Australia nothing was more significant than the safe passage of ships to and from the continent. All migrants arrived this way. For most of the century the majority of manufactured goods arrived by sea and of course all exports had to go by ship.

Stated Christian Bell, Tasmanian Coordinator for the Network:

"The Lighthouse Report contains the opinions of many respected masters of vessels as to the placement of lights in southeast Australia. The report therefore provides a good cross section of opinion from those operating vessels in southeast Australia and whose in the Commissioners' view, were worth interviewing at the time. This provides a good snapshot into the maritime world of 1856. Definitely one for the time capsule".

For further information contact Christian Bell on +61 (0)3 6234 3665 or eMail <>

Copies are available on 31/2 inch IBM format disks. Cost six dollars (GST included).

Please order from the:

Marine & Coastal Community Network
GPO Box 567
Hobart 7001

The Marine & Coastal Community Network would like to thank:

Tony Marshall for providing it.
The Tasmania Museum & Art Gallery for providing the equipment on which it was transcribed.
Trish McKeown from the TCT for assistance in regard to formatting.
Josephine Carswell for transcribing it.

A New Life for Vlaming Head

Vlaming Head Lighthouse As A Private Enterprise

Local businessman Wayne Britton and photographer Ron Campbell have taken over the 90-year-old Vlaming Head Lighthouse as a private enterprise.

Wayne Britton And Ron Campbell [Photograph: Northern Guardian]
Wayne Britton And Ron Campbell
[Photograph: Northern Guardian]

You may already be aware the light sustained damage late last year during Cyclone Vance added to the ravages of time. Public access into the lighthouse was closed about three years ago because of much needed maintenance.

It since has undergone some extensive renovations, which encompassed the re-rendering of the exterior walls sandblasting the upper deck and repainting also re-roofing and repairing the walls and interior of the adjacent storage shed.

This work was achieved by lobbying the WA Government over the past 2 years. Finally a grant from the Heritage Council was forthcoming, along with an equal amount from the Shire of Exmouth.

The Vlaming Head Lighthouse Near Exmouth [Photograph: Anne Flotwell]
The Vlaming Head Lighthouse Near Exmouth
[Photograph: Anne Flotwell]

Wayne and Ron decided to step up to the plate and submit a proposal to the Shire in November last year after volunteering to polish the Prism. It was covered in mud etc after the cyclone.

They felt it was important for it to be reopened properly to the public and in doing so add an historic attraction to the town, embracing their history, something they felt was badly needed.

After touring the South West visiting Leeuwin and Naturaliste lights, and also the National Archives, the Battye Library the Maritime Museum they submitted a tender.

The trip helped them to formulate their plan and gather as much info on the history of the light to get an idea on what would be available to display etc.

They moved in on Friday 16th February. Unfortunately the interior was in a poor state they are working hard to completely renovate.

The walls in the pedestal room were badly rusted right around. Ron and Wayne had to cut sections away and replace them.

Repairing the Base of The Lantern Room [Photograph: Ron Campbell]
Repairing the Base of The Lantern Room
[Photograph: Ron Campbell]

The paint on the walls of the lantern room was badly cracked (LEAD BASED) exposing rusting steel. They took them all right back to bare metal, rust converted and repainted them which took many hours of stripping back.

Occupational safety was a prime concern here. They were able to acquire some excellent stripper that basically sweats the old paint off the walls.

The Lantern Room Prior to Renovation [Photograph: Ron Campbell]
The Lantern Room Prior to Renovation
[Photograph: Ron Campbell]

Also included is the repair of the clock mechanism and polishing the crystal lens and brass.

Ron and Wayne were not paid for their work but the Shire did provide paint and brushes. They indicated that they didn't mind though they got frustrated at the attitude of the committee's involved.

Ron said:

"If we didn't do the work the building wouldn't be there in 20 years".

Ron in expressing their aspirations said:

"We are current hoping to have this room completely repainted and restored to open to the public by April 1st for the Easter holidays.... fingers crossed. The rest of the light will be done on a continuing basis, with completion sometime in October or November.

A real plus about the light is the pedestal, prism, clock mechanism, everything is perfect, just in need of a little tender loving care, and everything is there the kero bottles and pump, counterweights, and main wall pump wheel used to fill the tanks from downstairs. I would say it could well be the most complete light in the state, everything is still intact from when the light closed in 1969 and a warning beacon was placed on the new Harold E Holt Communication Station towers.

Unlike a lot of lighthouses this one has never been electrified and so it is unique in that respect.

We are sure we can get the clock mechanism working again! The counterweights which were used to move the light prism are all still there and I wouldn't be surprised if all worked perfectly if we were able to start it up."

The New Light on the tower at the Harold E Holt Communication Station [Photograph: John Ibbotson]
The New Light on the tower at the Harold E Holt Communication Station
[Photograph: John Ibbotson]

The interior of the tower will become a mini museum displaying photographs and historical information while the adjoining storage shed will become a kiosk and souvenir shop.

Visitors will also be able to enjoy the excellent views.

Update on the Restoration and Opening.

Hi Malcolm

The restoration job has been bigger than "Ben Hur" we have spent just over 600 hours in there and are now about 80% complete.

Ron And Wayne's Hard Work is Rewarded [Photograph: Ron Campbell]
Ron And Wayne's Hard Work is Rewarded
[Photograph: Ron Campbell]

We have all the top floors complete, original colour scheme, with only a few brass vents to polish and replace and the Kero bottles got their final coat today so there back in tomorrow.

The office level below is all painted except the floor which will happen this week, then the big spiral staircase has been chipped and scraped back to bare metal, rust treated and undercoated and now ready for the final and then finally the walls of the large foyer up to the office are yet to be done so we think a bit over a week maybe 2 at the most and then we will be open.

I have included a couple of progress shots for you. You can see what it was like when we started.

Would you believe the Heritage Council and the Museum did not want it touched they said it should remain as it was because it should look like the keeper only just left ... that was 34 years ago.

We have it from a past lightkeeper that has visited us, he used to travel up and down the coast on the state ships servicing and doing relief keeping, he actually visited Vlaming during its operation, anyhow he said they were always immaculate inside the keepers took great pride in the building and they were thoroughly maintained.

We have decided to open on Easter Sunday for a multi denominational service starting at 6.00am. The local priest usual has an early morning service up there on the day, so we told him we would host the congregation for tea, coffee and bickies after and let them have a peek at what we've been up to.

A lot of the town fathers will be amongst that group so its good public relations for us and keeps the oldies happy. Probably won't do me too much harm to attend church at least once!!!

So, it was Pandora's box mate, and believe me nothing in that building has been easy. You know when your renovating you always seems to think that the next job will be easier well its just got a lot harder. Anyhow, its a passion thing and when its finished it will be a new old building and looking the way it was when the last keeper left it!

Best Regards, Ron Campbell, Fluid Reflections <>

Wayne Britton And Ron Campbell Polishing the Crystal Lens [Photograph: Exmouth Expression]
Wayne Britton And Ron Campbell Polishing the Crystal Lens
[Photograph: Exmouth Expression]

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

Join 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.

The incorporation is now complete. We have an interim committee, 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 an interest in Lighthouses:

  • Non-Profit Organization 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 March:

Andrea Marks (Story)
Cyril Curtain (Info)
Dick O'Neil (Story)
Donald Walker (Info & Photos)
Ron Campbell (Info)
Margaret Christopher (Info)
Henry Crawford (Photos)
Sam Calder (Research)
Russ McGuiness (Info)
Graham Alex (Photos)
Mike Lapwood (Photo)

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

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

Regards until the May 2001 Bulletin
Malcolm Macdonald, Ed Kavaliunas & Friends

This Months Bulletin for those with Text Only eMail:

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

Photographs & Contributions:

AMSA for Photograph
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Margaret Christopher for Story
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