No 4/2003 - August 2003

Lighthouses of Australia Inc


PO Box 4734, Knox City VIC 3152 Australia

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In this Issue
Letter from the Editor
Australian News
Join Lighthouses of Australia Inc
How you can help
New pages and links
Thanks To
Past Bulletins

Letter from the Editor

Welcome to the August Bulletin, edition 4/2003.

After now having prepared my fourth Bulletin, the process is getting easier.  Whilst the amount of work involved in preparing the Bulletin is significant, the satisfaction of being involved, hearing about all the things going on with Australia's lighthouses, and then publishing the news so that everyone can read about it is very rewarding. 

The Bulletin will return to a monthly publication schedule, and with this issue, has reverted to the original title "Bulletin", rather than "Bulletin/Prism".  Prism will continue to include major stories and historical recollections by former lighthouse keepers and so on, whilst the Bulletin will tend to be more news-oriented.  Prism is a printed newsletter forwarded only to members - join Lighthouses of Australia now to receive it.

We have also returned to the format of dividing the content of the Bulletin into the sections Features, News, Notices and Letters, so that it maintains the structure used in the original editions.  If you have any feedback regarding the format or the contents of the Bulletin, please contact me.

In this issue, we continue with Annette Flotwell's east coast lighthouse trip.  Annette and her partner Rolf came out to Australia for a two week trip in 2001 to photograph lighthouses for German calendars.  This section in the story covers Annette's travels from Flat Top Island Lighthouse in North Queensland to the Richmond River Lighthouse at Ballina in northern New South Wales.

Beginning with this edition, we are going to profile each of the LoA committee members.  Ian Clifford is the LoA Vice President - he grew up near Byron Bay, and developed his passion for lighthouses by visiting the Cape Byron Lighthouse during school holidays.  Profiles of other committee members will be included in future editions of the Bulletin.

The future use of the Nobbys Head Lighthouse in New South Wales is uncertain. The Newcastle Port Corporation who manage the headland on which the lighthouse is located, has called for expressions of interest for the limited commercial use of the lighthouse, the disused signal station and the three cottages on the headland at the entrance to Newcastle Harbour. LoA will be keeping a close eye on the proceedings in this matter.

The Norah Head Lighthouse in NSW is celebrating its centenary in November this year.  The Norah Head Lighthouse Trust Board is calling for all interested parties to help with planning for the centenary celebrations, locating lost logbooks, and working out ways to establish an income stream to finance future needs. 

The Lighthouses of Australia committee congratulates Cyril Curtain for his appointment as Australian Representative to the World Lighthouse Society (WLS).

The Queensland Lighthouse Service reunion was held in June.  Photos of this annual event are available.

The election results of the World Lighthouse Society (WLS) are listed, along with a letter from Rosalie Davis Gibb, the WLS Chairman and Communications Officer, who indicates some strategies for furthering the aims of the WLS.

Mark Watt, NSW National Parks & Wildlife Service Ranger writes to notify that the Barranjoey Lighthouse is now regularly open to the public, and will be open for tours on World Lighthouse Day on 17 August 2003.

International Lighthouse and Lightship Weekend (16-17 August 2003) and World Lighthouse Day on 17 August 2003 are coming up soon.  The Black Lighthouse at Queenscliff will be participating, as will many other lighthouses around Australia.

We also have a number of letters from readers, seeking assistance with funding, information about relatives, and historical photos and material to be included in a documentary.

Enjoy reading this Bulletin, and if you are not a member of Lighthouses of Australia, and would like to be involved in preserving, promoting and protecting Australia's lighthouses, join now!

Kristie Eggleston
LoA Bulletin Editor
Email Bulletin Editor


Annette Flotwell's East Coast Lighthouse Trip:
Part 2

See also Annette Flotwell's East Coast Lighthouse Trip: Part 1

This is the long awaited sequel to Annette Flotwell's East Coast Trip Part 1 - published in the September 2001 Bulletin. Annette and Rolf came out to Australia regularly for several years photographing our lighthouses for German calendars. She now has her own calendar, Lighthouses of Australia, published in the USA.

Rolf on the roof rack of our trusty ancient Toyota 4WD.
Photo: Annette Flotwell

 Old Burnett Heads Lighthouse

We found the old Burnett Heads Lighthouse lovingly restored in the caravan park.
Photo: Annette Flotwell

 Caloundra Lighthouses

The old Caloundra Lighthouse in front of its successor, now redundant too.
Photo: Annette Flotwell

Fingal Head Lighthouse

The Fingal Head lighthouse is typical of many in northern NSW. 
Photo: Annette Flotwell

Ballina Lighthouse

The Richmond River Lighthouse at Ballina. 
Photo: Annette Flotwell

After Dent Island, we were keen on getting to see some more Queensland Lighthouses. The next one we found was Flat Top Island, at the entrance of Mackay Harbour. But the lantern was barely visible over the dense bush covering the island, even when viewed through my telephoto lens, so we headed for Bundaberg.

The Burnett Heads lighthouse was listed as a white tower with a red band, which sounded promising to me. I didn't expect to find the swimming pool model that was before us - if the base of the original lighthouse hadn't been there, I would not have recognised this example of modern architecture as a lighthouse. It was rather curious.

Fortunately, while navigating through the township, I noticed a sign: 'Lighthouse Caravan Park'. There was the old lighthouse, nicely painted and well preserved by the citizens of Burnett Heads. Even the fifth order fresnel lens had been re-installed.

My map indicated a lighthouse in Hervey Bay, but we drew a blank. We were amazed at all the tourists invading places that had a lot less charm than the skyscrapers of the Canary Islands, but we hadn't seen Surfers Paradise yet.

Further south, we found the 'watchtower model' lighthouse at Point Cartwright in Mooloolaba. No comment. Rolf thought it was the lookout rescue tower.

The next lightstation was Caloundra. After we found the old lighthouse on top of the hill, I begged the janitor in the adjoining building to let us into an uninhabited flat to get a good perspective. He even waited half an hour while we took our photos. 

By now, we had endured more of the crowded commercial coast than we could take. Two days in the Brisbane hinterland, in the beautiful rainforest, were just what we needed to like Queensland again. From the hotel veranda we could see Surfers Paradise in its splendid horror in the distance. Around us was a green paradise well worth the $50 in Mount Tambourine's oldest hotel.

Still, there was one Queensland lighthouse left. That was the Point Danger Lighthouse at Tweed Heads, pompously called Captain Cook's memorial lighthouse. To put it mildly, it nicely fits into Surfers Paradise. In Wycheproof a couple of weeks later, we met an air conditioning mechanic who had worked in Tweed Heads and knew the lighthouse. He put it in a nutshell: 'I had been working there for three years before I realized it's supposed to be a lighthouse!'

How beautiful was the first NSW lighthouse after this. Fingal Head is easy to find and it really looks like a lighthouse. Later I was to find out that the Richmond River Lighthouse at Ballina looks exactly the same - they must have had the same plans and engineer.

Byron Bay Lighthouse is a different matter - never in Australia did I see so many tourists at a lighthouse. When we said we were taking photos for the Lighthouses of Australia website, the impertinent parking lot warden wanted to charge us an extra $100 for a permit. We asked if he had demanded that from all the other people up there, and he replied: 'No, they're tourists.'

That was the first time in my life I heard something was cheaper for tourists!

'OK, I said, you can go and ask your boss how to access that website. When you're ready, we'll discuss the price.' Then I simply went off to take my pics.

Richmond River Lighthouse at Ballina was the next on our schedule - it is a classic little lighthouse like Fingal Head.

(The next instalment in Annette's trip will be included in a future edition of the Bulletin)

  Flat Top Island Lighthouse

Flat Top Island at the entrance of Mackay Harbour.
Photo: Winsome Bonham

 New Burnett Heads Lighthouse

The new "swimming pool" style Burnett Heads Lighthouse.
Photo: Annette Flotwell

Point Cartwright Lighthouse

Point Cartwright Lighthouse in Mooloolaba.
Photo: Annette Flotwell

Point Danger Lighthouse

Captain Cook's memorial lighthouse at Tweed Heads, a.k.a. the Point Danger Lighthouse.
Photo: Annette Flotwell

Cape Byron Lighthouse

Cape Byron where things are cheaper if you are a tourist!
Photo: Annette Flotwell

LoA Committee member profile:  Ian Clifford

Ian Clifford

Self-portrait in the lantern room at Norah Head Lighthouse
Photo: Ian Clifford

My parents had both grown up around Byron Bay and I was born in Lismore in 1959. As a family, we lived at Whain Whain where my father was the only teacher at the school. On clear nights, we could see the loom of the Byron light from the back of our house. We spent our school holidays roaming the beaches, the jetty and the lighthouse reserve at Byron Bay, visiting the lighthouse on the keepers guided tour at least once every holiday. My passion and interest in lighthouses and surfing began back then.

I still visit "The Bay" from time to time - it's not the place it once was, but that's life. I now live in Kiama with my wife Ann, who is a teacher, and two very active children, Jessica and Nicholas. Our home overlooks the Kiama beaches and Lighthouse.

Presently self-employed as a freelance engineer, I have worked in the broadcast industry for 22 years, in various engineering roles. My work has given me the opportunity to travel around Australia and overseas. 

Jessica and Nicholas are very keen competitors at surf carnivals, so on these trips I visit and photograph lightstations along the way and hopefully pass on some of my passion for lighthouses to my children. Having an engineering background has also allowed me to assist with 'first in' maintenance and restoration issues at a number of lightstations. 

About five years ago, when I first browsed across the Lighthouses of Australia site, I was coming to the realisation that the focus of lighthouses as active navigational aids was changing - in many cases, conservation was becoming a crucial issue at many stations. After communicating with Malcolm, it was clear that many people shared our concerns.

Malcolm had already got things moving, and I could immediately see the importance of his work, so I decided then to contribute where I could. It's great to see the development of LOA Inc and the people who have become involved.

Wollongong Breakwater Lighthouse

Wollongong Breakwater Lighthouse brightens gloomy skies for the first time in 28 years, on 1 March 2002.

Photo: David Tease, Illawarra Mercury

My travels and visits to lightstations have given me the privilege of meeting some of the most interesting people at some of the most beautiful locations you can find. Passion and interest are the fuels of lifelong friendships.

I hope I can continue to contribute to the preservation of Australia's lightstations through work such as the Lighthouses of Australia Project.


I have arranged to relight the Wollongong Breakwater Lighthouse on Saturday 16th through to Sunday morning the 17th August for International Lighthouse Day

It will be the first time I have operated it since Engineers Week, 20 July 2002.

Hopefully, the light can be lit every year on International Lighthouse Day.

Ian Clifford
LoA Vice President
Email Ian Clifford

Australian News

Expressions of interest for use of Nobbys Head Lighthouse

Nobbys Head Lighthouse

Nobbys Head Lighthouse is located on a small islet linked to the mainland by a causeway at the entrance to Newcastle Harbour
Photo: Grant Maizels

Edited by Steve Merson from media release, Newcastle Port Corporation
Bulletin & Prism News Editor
Email Steve Merson

Newcastle Port Corporation has called for expressions of interest for the limited commercial use of the Nobbys Head Lighthouse, the disused signal station and the three cottages on the headland at the entrance to Newcastle Harbour. The light was automated in June 2001 and the buildings are currently off limits to the public.

Nobbys Head prior to construction of Newcastle Harbour

Nobbys Head Island at its original height of 90m, before it was lowered and joined to the mainland during the construction of Newcastle Harbour
Photo: Newcastle Herald

Nobbys Head was originally a 90m high island. During the construction of Newcastle Harbour, 46m was removed from the top of the island and joined to the mainland. The original lighthouse was built in 1858 - only the third lighthouse built in NSW after the Macquarie Light in 1818 and the Hornby Light that was also built in 1858. An open coal fire was the first beacon used from 1804 to help guide vessels into harbour.

Nobbys Head is listed on Newcastle City Council's heritage register for its historic, aesthetic, research and social significance. As such, heritage considerations must be intrinsic to the plan that will be accepted. Newcastle Port Corporation CEO Chris Oxenbould, acknowledges that responsible development is vital for the landmark site. "We are very conscious of the iconic status of Nobbys, and will ensure that any use is sensitive to its heritage value", he said.

Nobbys Head Lighthouse

Nobbys Head Lighthouse, signal station and cottages - up for rent?.
Photo:  Newcastle Herald

Limited commercial use such as a cafe would see the buildings put to good use and would allow the site - one of the best views of Newcastle - to be enjoyed by Novocastrians and visitors alike.

An extensive consultation process has seen the Corporation in discussions with many stakeholder groups including Fort Scratchley Historical Society, Newcastle Region Maritime Museum, Awabakal, Newcastle East Residents Group and Newcastle City Council.

Aerial view of Nobbys Head Lighthouse

Nobbys Head Lighthouse, signal station and cottages as viewed from the air.
Photo: Newcastle Port Corporation

The Port Corporation will give preference to proposals that include:

1. heritage interpretation of the site; 
2. ecologically sustainable development; 
3. access for people with disability; and 
4. ideas for the limited use of wheeled transport, for minimal impact on pedestrian access.

Proposals will have to be compatible and sympathetic to the site's visual setting and maritime heritage. The current architectural profile of the site is to be maintained, and no public vehicle access will be permitted. The Port Corporation is committed to ensuring the safety of pedestrians using the narrow breakwater road that gives access to the headland.

Access for all must be a prime consideration. It is a grand opportunity to preserve an icon and allow everybody the chance to enjoy this wonderful site.

Nobbys Head viewed from the breakwater

Nobbys Head Lighthouse and signal station are accessed via a narrow breakwater road.
Photo: Brian Lord

The Crown owns the walled lighthouse and the land it occupies, whereas the Newcastle Port Corporation, a State Government body, manages the actual headland. The successful company or organisation will lease the site from the Corporation.

The operating and maintenance costs on the facility are understood to be around $250,000 per annum, so revenue from the lease will probably be used to offset part of those costs. 

Submissions closed 8 July 2003, and the Corporation hope to have a plan selected in August and signed in September. A timeframe for the lease of the land is to be determined.

Norah Head Lighthouse Centenary

By Peter Morris
Email Peter Morris

Norah Head Lighthouse

Photo: Ian Clifford

To former Keepers of the Norah Head Lighthouse, and interested parties.

Norah Head Lighthouse was transferred from AMSA to the Dept of Lands and Water Conservation in 1997. The tower and a small area of adjacent land was leased back to AMSA for the continued operation of the light, and the remainder of the site and buildings have been the responsibility of the state department.

In September 2002, the then Minister for Land and Water Conservation, The Hon John Aquilina MP appointed the Norah Head Lighthouse Trust Board of seven members for Heritage Purposes and Public Recreation and Coastal Environmental Protection.

The inaugural meeting of the Trust was held on 29th October 2002 and the Trust now meets monthly.

The Department had a Conservation Management Plan, a Management Plan and a Risk Assessment prepared for the site. These documents have been passed to the Trust for guidance in its tasks.

Looking towards Norah Head and the lighthouse

Photo: Ian Clifford

The Trust is in the early stages of establishing its accounts and systems, and faces a major challenge in the maintenance and refurbishment of the buildings on site, the grounds and the surrounding fences. Some funds are to be made available by the Department for these costs.

However, the Trust needs to establish an income stream to finance future needs. The Lighthouse grounds are in demand as a wedding venue and to a much lesser extent for photographic purposes. The hiring fee is $110 per wedding. 

Former Lightkeeper Bob Kirkwood resides on site as Caretaker and is the contact person for bookings. Phone: (02) 4396 4102
Email Bob Kirkwood

The Norah Head Lighthouse and keepers cottages

Photo: Ian Clifford

News Ahead

The Centenary of the Lighthouse will be celebrated on the 15th November 2003. Activities and ideas for the celebrations are being gathered through a Consultative Committee set up in association with Wyong Shire Council. It is anticipated that there will be a number of activities conducted during the week leading to Centenary Day on the 15th November 2003. These activities could commence on Sunday 9th November 2003.

We welcome former lightkeepers and their families to the Celebrations. Please forward your names and addresses to the Trust, in order to receive a formal invitation.

We are hoping to arrange an exhibition of Norah Head Lighthouse materials and achievements, and we would like to be able to display some of the early records.

Unfortunately, no trace can be found of the log books for the period 1903 to 1970. If anyone has any knowledge of these log books or could arrange for their display, please let us know. 

The Norah Head lighthouse

Photo: Cyril Curtain

They may have been misfiled during shifts of records from the Department to Archives. Of special interest are the log books covering 5th December 1940, when the MV Nimbin was sunk by a German mine eight miles east of the light, and the 5th June 1942, when 25 survivors of the Iron Chieftain came ashore at North Entrance beach at 0600 hrs. The Iron Chieftain had been torpedoed by a Japanese submarine about 2030 hrs on the 3rd June 1942.

The Secretary of the Trust is Mrs Ann Bokkerink, mailing address: PO Box 31 Toukley.

Chairman is Peter Morris:
39 Pillapai Street
Charlestown NSW 2290
Tel: +61 2 4943 0822
Fax: +61 2 4920 8310
Email Peter Morris

Congratulations to Cyril Curtain

Cyril Curtain
Cyril Curtain

LoA WLS Representative
Photograph: Cyril Curtain

Congratulations to LoA committee member Cyril Curtain for his appointment as Australian Representative to the World Lighthouse Society (see article below from WLS Chairman Rosalie Davis Gibb)

Cyril's duties as a member of the Executive Board are to provide an Australian perspective on preservation and heritage management issues and to be alert to any threats or opportunities in Australia that might need international action.

An opportunity that could be realised is to organise another lighthouse tour, similar to the one held in March 2001, when lighthouse enthusiasts from Europe, Great Britain and North America arrived in Sydney and undertook a 14-day tour organised by Bob Adams, and accompanied in part by Donald Walker. Details and many photos taken on the tour are available in the May 2002 and June 2002 LoA Bulletins.

Email Cyril Curtain

Queensland Lighthouse Service Reunion

The 2003 reunion of the Commonwealth (Queensland) Lighthouse Service was held at Bulimba in Queensland on 28 June 2003. The annual event is held at the 18 foot Sailing Club overlooking the Brisbane River.

The event was well attended by people with a connection to Queensland lighthouses.

These included past lightkeepers, wives, their descendants, mechanics, and the crews of the ships which serviced the light stations.

I enjoyed catching up with people I hadnít seen for over 15 years and meeting those I knew by name only.  It was wonderful to be in a room full of people and know I share a very special bond with them all.

Sharon Fielden
LoA Committee Member
Email Sharon Fielden

Bob Todkill and Co, c. 1963

Reunion organisers Jack Duvoisin, his wife Bev, Mark Oliver and Bob Todkill.
Photograph: Sharon Fielden

Ex light keeper Dennis Benson reminisces with mechanics Malcolm Bradley, Col Gladstone and Lew Dickson.
Photograph: Sharon Fielden

Lew Dickson chats with former lighthouse ladies Mary Ward and Val Benson.
Photograph: Sharon Fielden

Light keepers children; Betty Horn, her brother Bill Carter, Phil Shanahan and Ivo Rooke.
Photograph: Sharon Fielden

Crew members of the lighthouse supply ship Cape Moreton Frank Russo and Geff Corbert with their wives.
Photograph: Sharon Fielden


World Lighthouse Society Committee election results

By Rosalie Davis Gibb
Email Rosalie Davis Gibb

Following the World Lighthouse Society (WLS) Annual General Meeting on Monday, 30 June 2003, the following people were elected as the new WLS Officers:

  • Chairman: Rosalie Davis Gibb (England)
  • Vice Chairman: Esbjorn Hillberg (Sweden)
  • Treasurer: Peter Williams (Wales)
  • Secretary: Jurgen Tronicke (Germany)
  • Publicity & Communications Officer: Rosalie Davis Gibb (England)

Executive Board:

  • The 4 Officers plus: 
  • Danckert Monrad-Krohn (Norway)
  • Patricio Caceres (Chile)
  • Gerry Douglas-Sherwood (England)
  • Dr Cyril Curtain (Australia)
  • Frans la Poutre (Netherlands)
  • Wayne Wheeler (USA)
  • Ken Trethewey (England)

So you will see we have very good representation from many countries. As your new Chairman, I do hope that during the coming year we will continue to achieve much, and work towards the aims and objectives of WLS in a positive way.

One of the comments that has been made since the World Lighthouse Society was formed is, ĎWhy hasnít this been thought of before?í Well, now it has, so it is in our hands, each and every one of us, to make it a success.

Establishing a new society from scratch, particularly on a worldwide basis, is a learning process for all concerned in the initial stages. We are open to new ideas and suggestions beyond the Founding Members' original aims, so long as they conform to our prime objectives. A new Chairmanís Working Group will be formed to continue the consideration and recommendation of several issues, including a logo and Corporate Identity, to review our progress to date, to hopefully encourage the establishment of more Working Groups, to consider policies that may be necessary (for example, guidelines for Working Groups) and policies regarding our website.

The Constitution was adopted following one amendment. The final, adopted version of the Constitution will be sent to all members soon.

I hope this is the beginning of a successful year. Itís up to all of us to make sure the Society remains dynamic and progressive. As an initial task, we could each of us determine to recruit at least one new member!

We must also ensure the Society remains interesting and fulfilling enough to ensure we retain members, as well as attract new members. If you have any ideas or suggestions, however grand or small, to further the aims of the WLS, please contact myself as the Communications Officer!

Best regards,

Rosalie Davis Gibb


Barranjoey Lighthouse

Built of Hawkesbury sandstone, the Barranjoey Lighthouse overlooks Palm Beach in NSW
Photo: Grant Maizels

Barranjoey Lighthouse open to the public

By Mark Watt
Email Mark Watt

Barranjoey Lighthouse in Ku-ring-gai Chase National Park will be opened to the public on the first Sunday of each month. 

It will also be opened for World Lighthouse Day on the 17 August between 11.00am and 3.00pm.

Entry includes a short guided tour by NPWS 'Chase Alive' volunteers. The tour is now 'free', however, the option of making a gold donation in the box will exist. Pre-organised group tours will run for a minimum of 20 people at $6/person.

Please ring Mark Watt, NSW National Parks & Wildlife Service Ranger on 02 9451 3479 for further information.

International Lighthouse and Lightship Weekend (ILLW)
16-17 August 2003

Queenscliff Black Lighthouse

The Black Lighthouse is located inside the historic Fort Queenscliff.
Photo:  Ed Kavaliunas

Albert Gnaccarin from Geelong in Victoria writes to advise that the Geelong Amateur Radio club has obtained permission to operate a temporary Amateur Radio station from Fort Queenscliff, the site of the famous Black lighthouse and signal station.

The Black Lighthouse at Fort Queenscliff is a significant historic site, not only because it is one of a mere three black stone lighthouses in the world but more significantly, it is also the site of the Fort Queenscliff Signal Station. This station is the place from where the first ever Australian shore-to-ship radio transmission was made in 1901.

The operating dates are 16 and 17 August 2003 and the club will be participating in the International Lighthouse and Lightship Weekend (ILLW).

ILLW is an international event coordinated by the Amateur Radio Lighthouse Society and the objective is to operate amateur stations from the vicinity of historic lighthouses worldwide.  

The weekend coincides with the Wireless Institute of Australia's Remembrance Day Contest which will assure plenty of radio activity for the weekend. 

More information about the lighthouse weekend can be found at, and a list of participating lighthouses in Australia was detailed in last month's Bulletin.


Seeking assistance to save lighthouse tender Cape Don

Cape Don Lighthouse tender

c.1963 Lighthouse tender Cape Don with P&O Liner in the background.
Photograph: Fremantle Ports

Dear LoA,

My name is Frank Alliss and I am a former crew member of the lighthouse tender m/v Cape Don which is at present lying in Sydney Harbour and is likely to be heading for the breakers yard. 

I have been aboard her a few weeks ago when I was in Sydney and the Waterways Dept which owns her at the moment said I could get her for $25,000. I am trying to save this part of our maritime history but finding a lot of brick walls. I want to get her brought back to Fremantle and to become part of the new maritime museum. The museum supports my endeavours but not in a financial way. I also tried to get her a mooring in Fremantle Harbour, but to no avail. 

I have written to the manager of my company to ask them to purchase her and to supply a tug to tow her back to Fremantle. I have also asked Astal Ships if they would strip her and repaint her. These are big asks I know, and I don't hold a great deal of hope to save this, the last of our lighthouse tenders. 

I am not sure if there is anything anyone can do to save her from the overseas breaking yards, but I am giving it a go. I live at Mt Tom Price in Western Australia - about as far from the sea that is possible to get, but I still have my love for this historic little ship and will not let her go without a fight.

Yours truly,

Frank Alliss
Email Frank Alliss

Identifying Graves at North Barnard Island Lighthouse, Kent group


I think you are doing an amazing job on these pages. I've been sea kayaking the islands of Queensland for 25 years so have visited many interesting lights.

I've recently been to North Barnard Island in the Kent group off Innisfail in North Queensland. There is a light there but hardly a lighthouse. It did have a keeper earlier in the century apparently. There are two small graves near the light. There was a trolley on a cable from the beach to the light at one time. There are various local stories but maybe the keeper committed suicide after his wife and two daughters died on the trolley.

I've scoured the net but can find nothing on the graves. Do you have any info on these graves?


Tim Trehearn
Email Tim Trehearn

Hello Tim,

Thanks for your letter, and we are glad you enjoy our pages. 

I have made some enquiries regarding your observations and questions. Lew Dickson of Ekibin in Queensland has clarified a couple of details for us. 

North Barnard Island was a manned light from its inception to post-1915 when Queensland state coastal lights were taken over by the Commonwealth.

Originally, there would almost certainly have been a carriageway for the stores to be hauled up (possibly on wooden rails) from the beach landing to the light, using a hand winch. In the sixties, when the light was fueled by acetylene, the cylinders were hauled up via a cable suspended on wooden trestles and powered by a petrol engine. 

Regarding the graves, Queensland State Archives (phone 07 3875 8755) would be a good place to start. 

Lew Dickson recalls Capt Harold Chesterman of the lighthouse tender MV Cape Moreton being entrusted with depositing the ashes of a person who had (or a descendant who had) requested to be interred there. There's a good chance that the incident was recorded in the ship's log, with possible correspondence from the then Department of Supply & Transport (Queensland region), and hopefully retained by the archival section of AMSA - Brisbane office (phone 07 3253 2600).

If you discover the story behind the graves, will you please let us know and include any photos of the graves that you might have?


Steve Merson
Bulletin & Prism News Editor
Email Steve Merson

Seeking information on Christopher James Gardner and Cape Byron Lighthouse

Dear Sir,

Can you help me? 

My grandfather, whose name was Christopher James Gardner, was sent to Cape Byron lighthouse in 1901.

Where can I find information about the log book for that year?


Yours sincerely,

Neville Gardner
Email Neville Gardner

Cape Byron Lighthouse

Photograph: Erik

Dear Neville,

It is interesting that your grandfather was sent to Cape Byron in 1901, for that is the year that the lightstation was built and first lit. The first Head Keeper was William Warren and his Assistant was Richard Sullivan. In what capacity was your grandfather sent there? 

Enquiries and information regarding the Cape Byron Lighthouse and its Museum to be directed to:

The Manager
Cape Byron Trust
PO Box 127
Byron Bay  NSW 2481  Australia

Ph: 02 6685-8565
Fax: 02 6685 7054
Email Cape Byron Trust

Cape Byron Lighthouse receives approximately 600,000 visitors a year.


Steve Merson
Bulletin & Prism News Editor
Email Steve Merson

Seeking descendants of convict Charles Watson, lighthouse builder in Tasmania

Swan Island Lighthouse

The Swan Island Lighthouse is one of the Tasmanian lights built using convict labour.
Photograph: Jeff Jennings

Dear LoA,

I am seeking contact with anyone who is a descendant of the convict Charles Watson who was involved in the building of a number of lighthouses in Tasmania.


Leigh Pearson
PO Box 467
Roma QLD 4455

Ph 0412 782 385
Email Leigh Pearson

Documentary to be filmed of Point Perpendicular Lighthouse

Point Perpendicular Lighthouse

The Point Perpendicular
Lighthouse was built to replace the ill-fated Cape St George Lighthouse at Jervis Bay.
Photograph: Ian Clifford

Dear LoA,

My name is Scott Sheehan and I am from Jervis Bay, NSW.

I am interested in the history of the Point Perpendicular lighthouse, as I would like to make a short film documentary of the Point Perpendicular lighthouse for the See Change Art Festival for 2004 in Jervis Bay.

I have been producing short film documentaries on Jervis Bay and surroundings for the past two years and during the last See Change Art Festival we had an extremely successful screening night of short films.

I am looking for the history, old stories, photo, maps or film of the Point Perpendicular lighthouse for the short film which will be screened at a moonlight theatre at Moona Moona Creek park reserve on an evening of June long weekend 2004. Theses short films will represent Jervis Bayís rich history, local community and surroundings environment.

If you can help in any way this would be greatly appreciated and noted on the credits.

Thank you.


Scott Sheehan
PO Box 117
Huskisson NSW 2540
Ph: 02 44478 799
Mobile: 0413 718 111
Email Scott Sheehan

Join Lighthouses of Australia Inc.

It is up to those of you who believe in the Preservation, Protection and Promotion of Australia's lighthouse heritage 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. 

The memberships and costs are as follows: 

  • Individual Membership (12 months) $25 AUD
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  • Family/Household (12 months) $50 AUD

Other groups/bodies with an 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.

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Cheques must be in Australian Dollars.


How can you help

If you have or know of material that Lighthouses of Australia (LoA) could use, we would love to hear from you.  Contact LoA with the details, or send us some feedback.

Please email Keeper or fill out the Feedback Form

What you can help with is:  

  • Location and correct names of lighthouses in Australia (currently have 115 on our research list and we believe the figure should be around 200) 
  • Good quality recent B&W or colour photos 
  • A bit of the background of these lights 
  • Technical history or operational data (such as how many flashes, etc)
  • Interesting historical stories or anecdotes 
  • Details of keepers
  • Details of lighthouse graves
  • Old photos or postcards 
  • Conservation and preservation issues
  • Errors or omissions 
  • Other pages on Australian lighthouses not listed here

For more information about how you can help LoA, visit ../../About/About.htm#HowYouCanHelp

New Pages & Links

New Pages for Australia:

New Links for Australia:    Volunteer needed to help with links for Australia

New Links for World:         Volunteer needed to help with links for World

Thanks to

Thanks to the following people for their help with this edition of the Bulletin:

  • Winsome Bonham (photos)
  • Ian Clifford (article & photos)
  • Cyril Curtain (information & photos)
  • Erik (photo)
  • Sharon Fielden (article & photos)
  • Annette Flotwell (article & photos)
  • Fremantle Ports (photo)
  • Christine Hayes (keywords & links)
  • Rosalie Davis Gibb (information)
  • Albert Gnaccarin (information)
  • Jeff Jennings (photo)
  • Ed Kavaliunas (photo)
  • Brian Lord (photo)
  • Malcolm Macdonald (editorial)
  • Grant Maizels (photos)
  • Steve Merson (editorial)
  • Peter Morris (information)
  • Newcastle Herald (photos)
  • Newcastle Port Corporation (information & photos)
  • David Tease, Illawarra Mercury (photo)
  • Mark Watt (information)

Thanks to all the people who have put links to the site, and those who let LoA use their photos for thumbnails.


Got any news, experiences
or queries about lighthouses?
Steve Merson, News Editor
Contact Steve Merson

LoA News/Story Manager
Email News Manager
Photograph: Lynda Merson

Got any comments
or questions about this Bulletin?

Kristie Eggleston
Contact Kristie Eggleston

LoA Bulletin Editor
Email Bulletin Editor
Photograph: Jen Eggleston

Past Bulletins:  Past Monthly News, Preservation or Access Bulletins can be accessed from the Bulletin Index.

Contact Lighthouses of Australia Inc:  Contact details for various queries to Lighthouses of Australia Inc (LoA Inc).

Contact:  Email Bulletin Editor

Copyright:  © 1997, 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001 Lighthouse Computer Training & Development
© 2002-2003 Lighthouses of Australia Inc.

Using Material from this page