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State Indexes > NSW > Richmond River Lighthouse

The Richmond River Lighthouse

The Richmond River Lighthouse is the twin of Fingal Head, Clarence River, Tacking Point and Crowdy Head Lighthouses.

The Richmond River Lighthouse [Photograph: Annette Flotwell]
The Richmond River Lighthouse
Photograph: Annette Flotwell


LOCATION: Latitude 28°52' S , Longitude 153°36' E (map)
EXHIBITED: 1866 Temporary; 1880 Current
CHARACTER: Flashing (4) in 16 secs
LIGHT SOURCE: 1,000w 120v Tungsten Halogen Lamp, Chance 4th Order Lens
POWER SOURCE: Mains Electricity. Battery Standby
INTENSITY: 28,000 cd
ELEVATION: 35 metres
RANGE: 17 nm
HEIGHT: 7 metres
CUSTODIAN: Dept. of Conservation & Land Management

The Richmond River Lens [Photograph: Ian Clifford]
The Richmond River Lens
Photograph: Ian Clifford


A temporary light was first established in 1866 to guide ships into the river port at the mouth of the river which is now East Ballina. 

James Barnet designed the current lighthouse. Tenders were called for it's construction in 1878, it was built in 1879 and exhibited in 1880.

The light is the twin of the ones at Fingal Head, Clarence River, Tacking Point and Crowdy Head.

The first apparatus was a fixed catadioptric light of less than 1000 candelas and was visible for twelve miles. The current light is a 2nd order apparatus.

A ship masthead lantern was raised on a wooden structure 30 metres from this light to act as leading lights into the Richmond River.

It was powered by colza oil, but was automated with conversion to acetylene gas in 1920 then to mains electricity in the 1960s.


The light was run in conjunction with the Pilot Station and there fore only needed one keeper.

The location of records for the Ballina Pilot's Station can be found at State Records of NSW.

We also 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.

Inside the Richmond River Lighthouse [Photograph: Ian Clifford]
Inside the Richmond River Lighthouse
Photograph: Ian Clifford

Inside the Richmond River lantern room [Photograph: Ian Clifford]
Inside the Richmond River lantern room
Photograph: Ian Clifford


DISTANCE: 2.5 km (Ballina)
: 753 km (Sydney)
: 205 km (Brisbane)
ACCESS: Public Reserve

The Surrounding Area


Northern Rivers of New South Wales Trip Bulletin Mar 00
Lighthouses From the Air: Part 7 Bulletin Mar 02
Annette Flotwell's East Coast Lighthouse Trip: Part 2 Bulletin Aug 03

Other Richmond River Sites

The Richmond River Lighthouse, Ballina Grant Maizels
The Ballina Head Lighthouse Garry Searle

The Richmond River Lighthouse from the air [Photograph: Winsome Bonham]
The Richmond River Lighthouse from the air
Photograph: Winsome Bonham

Special Thanks to:

  • Annette Flotwell for Photograph
  • Ian Clifford for Photographs & Technical Data
  • Winsome Bonham for Photograph


  • From Dusk Till Dawn by Gordon Reid
  • Ian Clifford
  • Mary Shelley Clark and Jack Clark

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