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State Indexes > NSW > Cape Byron Lighthouse

The Cape Byron Lighthouse

The Cape Byron Lighthouse is Australia's most easterly light being situated on the most easterly point of the mainland.  It is also Australia's most powerful Lighthouse.

The Cape Byron Lighthouse
The Cape Byron Lighthouse
Photograph: 4c's Enterprises


LOCATION: Latitude 028° 38.4' S. Longitude 153° 38.1' E (map)
OPERATOR: Australian Maritime Safety Authority
CONSTRUCTION: Concrete Blocks
CHARACTER: Flash white every 15.00 seconds
LIGHT SOURCE: 1000W 120 Volt tungsten halogen
INTENSITY: 2,200,000 cd
ELEVATION: 118 metres
RANGE: 27 nautical miles (40 kilometres)
HEIGHT: 18 metres
AUTOMATED: <<add>>
DEMANNED: <<add>>
CUSTODIAN: Byron Bay Headland Reserve Trust

The Cape Byron Lighthouse is on Australia's most easterly point
The Cape Byron Lighthouse is on Australia's most easterly point
Photograph: Winsome Bonham

The Cape Byron Lighthouse
The Cape Byron Lighthouse 
Photograph: Cyril Curtain 

The Cape Byron Lighthouse
The Cape Byron Lighthouse
Photograph: Erik


Constructed of prefabricated concrete blocks in 1901, the Cape Byron Lighthouse stands on the most easterly point of the Australian mainland and is Australia's most easterly lighthouse.

It is built in the James Barnet style, by his successor, Charles Harding. James Barnet, the New South Wales colonial architect, was renown for his towers having large ornate crowns and are easily distinguished.

The first-order optical lens, which weighs 8 tons, was made by the French company, Societe des Establishment, Henry Lepante, Paris. It contains 760 pieces of highly polished prismatic glass.

The original concentric six wick burner was 145,000 cd. This was replaced in 1922 by a vapourised kerosene mantle burner which gave an illumination of 500,000 cd.

In 1956, the light became Australia's most powerful, at 2,200,00 cd when it was converted to mains electricity.  At the same time the clock mechanism was replaced by an electric motor.

An auxiliary fixed red light is also exhibited from the tower to cover Juan and Julian Rocks to the north east.

A great banquet was arranged for the opening in 1901 and many dignitaries, including the NSW Premier of the day John See, were invited.  However due to adverse weather conditions the premiers ship was delayed by till the following day and the banquet was held without him.  The opening by the Premier took place a day late on the Sunday.

It is interesting to note that Cape Byron was named by Captain Cook after John Byron, grandfather of the famous poet.


We need your help in compiling a list of keepers for this lighthouse. If you have any information then send it to Web Keeper.

Please include this lighthouse's name, the keepers full name and what years they were keepers. Also include the same information for any other lights they were on.


Preservation Issues

The ownership of the reserve was handed over to the Parks and Wildlife Service of New South Wales in 1998.  The reserve was already under a lease to the Cape Byron Headland Reserve Trust who maintain and secure the site and buildings. It is currently used as a base for whale watching.


DISTANCE: 3 km (Byron Bay)
: 800 km (Sydney)
: 175 km (Brisbane)
ACCESS: Located to the east of the Byron Bay township, it is accessible by foot, although with 500,00 visitors a year, car parking can be a problem.

The Cape Byron Lighthouse
The Cape Byron Lighthouse
Photograph: Brian Lord

The Surrounding Area


Northern Rivers of New South Wales Trip Bulletin Mar 00
Memories of Lighthouse Life Bulletin Mar 00
Old Smokey to "The Cape" Bulletin Oct 00
Once a danger, now safe Bulletin Nov 00
Lighthouses From the Air: Part 7 Bulletin Mar 02
Annette Flotwell's East Coast Lighthouse Trip: Part 2 Bulletin Aug 03


Great Grandfather, My Grandfather, and Three Uncles Were all Lighthouse Keepers Bulletin Jun 01
Cape Byron 100th Celebrations Bulletin Oct 01

Aerial view of Barranjoey Lighthouse [Photograph: Annette Flotwell]
The Cape Byron Lighthouse
Photograph: Annette Flotwell


Byron Bay Lighthouse Keeping in the 1950s Bulletin Feb 01
The Pleasure Of Viewing Your Site Bulletin Apr 01
The Opening of Cape Byron and James Gardner Bulletin Oct 01
Still Looking for James O'Brien Bulletin Jul 02
Home Sick for a Rich Lighthouse Heritage Bulletin Jul 02
Seeking information on Christopher James Gardner Bulletin Aug 03
Cape Byron Lighthouse & Christopher James Gardner Bulletin Sep 03
Lighthouse keepers in NSW - Josiah, Fred Sr, Fred Jr & Bill Warren Bulletin Sep 03

Other Cape Byron Sites

The Byron Bay Lighthouse Eileen & Joe Urda
The Cape Byron Lighthouse Grant Maizels
Tour Cape Byron Lighthouse ABC North Coast NSW

Special Thanks to:

  • 4Cs Enterprises for Photographs
  • Annette Flotwell for Photograph
  • Brian Lord for Photographs
  • Cyril Curtain for Photographs
  • Erik for Photographs
  • Winsome Bonham for Photographs


  • AMSA Brochure
  • Brian Lord
  • From Dusk Till Dawn by Gordon Reid

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