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Lighthouses of Queensland

State Indexes > QLD > Bay Rock Lighthouse

The Bay Rock Lighthouse

The former Bay Rock Lighthouse of Magnetic Island.

Bay Rock Lighthouse at Townsville
Photo: John Ibbotson

Operation (Pre 1920 when automated)

LOCATION: Lat. 19෧ S, Long. 146䶧 E
OPERATOR: Commonwealth Lighthouse Service
CONSTRUCTION: Timber and rolled iron
CHARACTER: Group Flashing every 6 sec
LIGHT SOURCE: Fixed dioptric, 4th Order, Kerosene Mantle
INTENSITY: 1,200 cd
ELEVATION: 29 Metres
RANGE: White Light 14 N Miles; Red Light 7 N Miles
HEIGHT: 8 Metres
CUSTODIAN: Maritime Museum of Townsville


Bay Rock was owned by the government and used solely for lighthouse purposes.

The lighthouse, completed in 1866, was one of the first 4 or 5 to be built in Queensland. It has historical significance as it was initially used extensively by vessels making for the quarantine station anchorage on West Point, Magnetic Island.

The lighthouse was standard white sound timber-framed, zinc anneal-cladded tower with standard equipment.

A lantern and beam projection apparatus was used with an open flame acetylene gas burner.

The original light stood 29 metres above ground.

The last keeper left in 1920 and the light was automated in 1930.

The last occupants were John Albert Edward Lawson and his family. He started his service on Gatcom Head near Gladstone. He was tragically lost at sea while returning to Bay Rock. His descendants still live in Townsville.

The Bay Rock Lighthouse at the Maritime Museum of Townsville [Postcard: Sharon Fielden]
The Bay Rock Lighthouse at the
Maritime Museum of Townsville

Postcard: Sharon Fielden

The Bay Rock Lighthouse in it's original setting [Postcard: CSS]
The Bay Rock Lighthouse in its original setting
Postcard: CSS


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

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.


NEAREST TOWN: Townsville
DISTANCE: (Townsville 1 km (to Maritime Museum of Townsville)
DISTANCE : Brisbane 1359 km
ACCESS: Bay Rock lighthouse is now at the Maritime Museum of Townsville
TOURS: Yes - Maritime Museum of Townsville

The Surrounding Area


Visit to Bay Rock Lighthouse at Townsville Bulletin Feb 02


Bay Rock Lighthouse, Qld Bulletin Apr 03

Special Thanks to:

  • CSS for Postcard
  • Sharon Fielden for Photograph
  • John Ibbotson for Photograph


  • Sharon Fielden for History
  • Vivienne Moran, Townsville Maritime Museum for technical information

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