Lighthouses of Australia Project - JANUARY 00 BULLETIN

Lighthouses of Australia Project

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Dear Friends

Otway 150th

I have just returned from a great time at the celebrations of the 150th anniversary of the establishment of the Cape Otway Lightstation.  I was accompanied by Ed Kavaliunas, who has taken many of the photos presented by this project, and Rodney Nicholson of Point Lonsdale, renown for his lighthouse photographs and prints.   Over the next couple of weeks I hope to update the 150th page with some of the photographs and experiences of the day.  Also a full report is featured in the Australian News section below.

Farewell to Barrenjoey, Jervis Sparks

Sad to hear that Jervis Sparks and his partner have lost their battle to stay in the keepers cottages at the Barrenjoey Lighthouse that they have faithfully maintained for the last 30 years.  It seems that in this age of economic rationalism that every Government asset must exploited to the maximum without any regard for the role that the present occupants have played in preserving these buildings and protecting them from vandalism.  They have also provided a great service through their Barrenjoey Resource Centre.  I wish them the best with their move to their new home in Maleny, Queensland.

Concern for Abandoned Tasmanian Lights

Further to above, Keith Farfor, President of the Australian Lighthouse Association has reported that lights recently demanned in Tasmania are very quickly falling into disrepair and being vandalised .  With Tasman Island and Maatsuyker Island isolation giving them no protection!  Tenants of Deal Island have been evicted upon the hand-over of this lightstation from the Commonwealth to the Tasmanian Government.  I get regular e-mails from people who would love to find some solitude on some of these out of the way places and care for them at the same time.

Valet Linda's Lighthouse Page

Also it has become apparent that Linda's Lighthouse Page (in the US) is no longer operating, as both the URL for the site and her e-mail do not respond.   Many people have appreciated her contribution to lighthouses on the Net over the years.  Linda, we hope everything is well for you and that where ever you are good luck!

Introduction of Notice Board

I get many e-mails from people chasing particular information, publications or people connected with Australian lighthouses that I can't always satisfactorily respond to or may be of broader interest to people interested in lighthouses.  Where appropriate I will post these on the notice board below.

Notice Board:

Calling Former NSW Lightkeepers & Their Descendants

Averil Legg is wanting to hear from any NSW lighthouse keepers and descendants so that he may interview them and include them in his forthcoming book.  If anyone has any information Averil can contacted either be e-mail [Email Averil], fax on 02 9745-5029 or phone on 02 9745-5029.

Also Women of the Lights

Mary Seul of Yamba is considering writing on the women of Australian Lighthouses and is looking for documents, publications and leads on the lives of women who lived on our lighthouses.  She can be e-mailed at [Email Mary].

Lighthouses on Aboriginal Land

Janice Poirier of Palm Beach Gardens, USA, is researching lighthouses on Aboriginal land in Australia from the history and culture point of view.  She is looking to do a presentation at a Multicultural Festival in the US.  She can be contacted at [Email Janice].

Brother of the Metal Man

Kieran Devaney from Rosses Point on the West Coast of Ireland is trying to find the brother of the Metal Man, a lighthouse structure in the shape of an ancient mariner, which stands in their river.  Legend has it that he has a twin somewhere on the Australian Coast.  You can find further details on their village web site at <>.   Kieran can be e-mailed at [Email Kieran].

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 Cape Nelson Lighthouse Near Portland New.gif (158 bytes)
    The Mersey Bluff Lighthouse Near Devonport New.gif (158 bytes)

If your e-mail does not display in HTML these pages can be accessed from the "New Listing for Month Index" at <>

New Links for Australia:

    The Point Lowly Lighthouse, Whyalla New.gif (158 bytes)

If your e-mail does not display in HTML these pages can be accessed from the "New Listing for Month Index" at <>

Also New Links for World:

    The Eyes That See Lighthouse Page by Jeanetta K. Hodges New.gif (158 bytes)

If your e-mail does not display in HTML these pages can be accessed from the "New Listing for Month Index" at <>

Australian News:

Cape Otway Celebrates it's 150th Anniversary

150th Logo
150th Logo

The 150th anniversary of the opening of the Cape Otway Lighthouse was celebrated on Saturday the 29th August, 1998 with over 4,000 people visited the lightstation throughout the day.

Cape Otway Lighthouse Circa 1890
The light is ablaze for the first time since 1994
[Photograph: Ed Kavaliunis]

The celebrations were being held in conjunction with the Olympics Arts Festival: "Sea Change".  They were be held on the exact day 150 years after the lighthouse was first lit.

Historical displays mounted by Friend of Cape Otway Station (FOCOS) and the Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA) provided an insight into the background of the lighthouse, its establishment, and hardships faced by the families who tended the lights throughout it's life until its replacement in 1994.

Over 80 former keepers and their families were invited to attend and their presence added to the occassion with members of this party revisiting places and recalling memories of years long past.

The on site catering excelled in quality with none of the "junk" food that often is the norm at these events.

Through out the afternoon there was a constant cycle of small demonstrations, videos, plays and entertainment.

Cape Otway Lighthouse Circa 1890
The "Sea Change" Stage with the Lighthouse in the background
[Photograph: Ed Kavaliunis]

From 3:30 onwards the activities moved to the "Sea Change" stage which was well placed with the lighthouse as a backdrop off the the right. The concert and subsequent celebrations were hosted by Donald Walker, the author the book "Beacons of Hope" which is the story of this light and it's companion, the Cape Wickham Light of King Island.

The concert opened with a portion of a play, also called "Beacons of Hope", performed by the Apollo Bay and Mangala dancers dramatising the history of the light and it's significance to the nearby town of Apollo Bay.

Cape Otway Lighthouse Circa 1890
Howlin Wind and the Mangala Dancers
[Photograph: Ed Kavaliunis]

Acknowledgment of the original inhabitants, the Katabanut people, part of the Girai Wurrung and Gunditjmara nations happened through the performance of traditional dances and theatre as part of this concert. Other aboriginal theatre was provided by the Wathaurong nation from the Geelong region.

As the suspense built toward the re-lighting of the light the crowd was entertained by music from well know local identities such as Howlin Wind, Judy Jacques and Shane Howard.

Then what most of the crowd had come to see. At approximately 6:00pm amongst a fanfare of flares and photographers the old light was reactivated by the Hon. Marie Tehan, Minister for Conservation and Land Management.

The best part of the evening the most unexpected. Moving around to seawardside side of the light photograph it's re-activated bream we were stunned by the beautiful effect of the rays forming rays in groups of 3 enhanced by the slight mist the rays from the light looked spectacular forming a wheel of spokes in groups of 3 moving around the horizon and reaching out to the limit of the sea.

Funds raised from the day and a grant that was announced by the local member, Stuart McArthur will be used to help restore the nearby Cape Otway Telegraph Station and provide an improved entrance to the lighthouse reserve.

A full report and more photos will be posted over the next few weeks at at:

More "Sea Change" Lighthouse Concerts for 1998

After the successful Cape Otway 150th Lighthouse Concert another "Sea Change" concert will be held at Broome on September 12, in the North West of Australia, at the Gantheaume Point Lighthouse.

Contact number is (08) 9192 1325

The Gantheaume Point Lighthouse
The Gantheaume Point Lighthouse
[Photograph Courtesy: Brian Lord]

Further Lighthouses Concerts for November at Tweed Heads, Fremantle, Port Adelaide and Low Head will be held in October and November.  Details in the next (October) Bulletin.

Regards until the October 98 Bulletin
Malcolm Macdonald


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Thanks to the Following People for Their Help in August:

    Jean-Marc Doumenc (more photos)
    Bob Duffie (photos & info)
    Edithburgh Museum (info)
    Joanne Ritale - Redland Shire Council Library (info)
    Paul Coghlan - Friends of Pine Islet Lighthouse (photos & info)
    Ed Kavaliunas (photos)
    Friends of Cape Otway Station (space at 150th)
    Cyril Curtain & Egbert Koch (more IALA Conference info)
    Arna Gerritsen (info)
    Mrs Heather Shepley of the Warooka Museum (info)
    Barbara Holmes of the Edithburgh Museum (info)

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

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

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