Lighthouses of Australia Inc
Home State Indexes Bulletin About LoA Membership Resources & Links Contact LoA Search Sitemap

Lighthouses of Torres Straight - Queensland

State Indexes > QLD > Booby Island Lighthouse

Booby Island Lighthouse

The Cape Moreton Lighthouse on Moreton Island [Photograph: John Ibbotson]
Booby Island Lightstation
Photograph: Peter Braid


LOCATION: Lat. 10° 36.14'S, Long. 141° 54.40'E (map)
OPERATOR: Australian Maritime Safety Authority
CONSTRUCTION: White conical Iron tower with red lantern dome. Second order Fresnel lens (now located in Thursday Is Fort Museum)
CHARACTER: White Flash every 7.5 sec
LIGHT SOURCE: 12V 35W C8 Halogen LP PR30s
POWER SOURCE: 240V Generator
INTENSITY: 1, 000,000 cd
ELEVATION: 37 metres
RANGE: 25 N Miles
HEIGHT: 18 Metres
CUSTODIAN: National Parks and Wildlife
HERITAGE: Register of the National Estate

The Cape Moreton Lighthouse on Moreton Island [Photograph: John Ibbotson]
Head Keepers cottage on the left - Booby Island
John Ibbotson


Booby Island, located about 50 km (30 miles) west northwest of Cape York, marks the western entrance to the difficult navigation channel through the Torres Strait.

So many ships were wrecked here in the nineteenth century that provisions were kept stocked on the island for wrecked seamen.

The lighthouse is located at the highest point of the island.

Accessible only by boat or helicoptor, special permission is required to land on the island.

Post Office Cave

"A port of refuge on Booby Island for survivors of shipwrecks was suggested early in the 1800s. It is arguable who first suggested the idea, but Captain Bligh, who became Governor of New South Wales Colony in 1806, officially suggested the establishment of a refuge.

Captain Hobson of the "Rattlesnake" which was engaged in botanic observations, proposed that a form of post office operate on the island and placed a logbook with writing materials there for that purpose. Passing ships made entries in the log and passed on information about the ships that had passed. Mail was also dropped off to await a vessel passing in the opposite direction for eventual delivery. Both the post office and provisions were well patronised and saved the life of many a sailor in distress.

MacGillivray, naturalist on the "Rattlesnake" wrote:- "that this supply will be renewed from time to time is most likely, as the Legislative Council of New South Wales, last year voted the sum of fifty pounds for provisions to be left at Booby Island for the use of shipwrecked people. It seemed that the practice of provisioning Booby Island continued until the latter part of the nineteenth century. Passers-by also left food, rum and other useful items.

Both the original logbook placed there in 1835 by Captain Hobson, and the replacement log in 1857 had disappeared by the 1880s. A sad loss indeed when one considers the great wealth of irreplaceable historical information gone forever."

Booby Island was a port of call by Captain William Bligh in April 1789, on his epic 6000 kilometre voyage to Timor in a seven metre open boat after the infamous mutiny on his ship the "Bounty'. Interestingly, Captain Bligh named the island Booby Island as well.



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.



NEAREST TOWN: Thursday Island
DISTANCE: 18 nautical miles to the East
: 3040kms (Brisbane)
ACCESS: Boat (Difficult Landing) Helicoptor (Rough Pad Available)
TOURS: Rarely

The Wharton Reef Lighthouse now located in the middle of a traffic round-about [Photograph: John Ibbotson]
Booby Island Aerial
Photograph: Peter Braid

The station landrover at the Cape [Photograph: Ray Hudson]
The three cottagesCape
Photograph: Peter Braid

The station landrover at the Cape [Photograph: Ray Hudson]
Booby Tower
Photograph: Peter Braid

The Cape Moreton Lightstation is perch high on the island's northern tip [Photograph: Grant Maizels]


Special Thanks to:

  • John Ibbotson for Photograph


  • Harbours & Marine 1859-1873

Page last updated:
Page created:

Site constructed by: 
Malcolm S Macdonald t/as Lighthouse Computer Training & Development (1997-2001)
Copyright All rights reserved.
1997-2001 Malcolm S Macdonald and individual contributors as acknowledged.
2002-2007 Lighthouses of Australia Inc (LoA Inc) and individual contributors as acknowledged. & Lighthouses of Australia Inc (2002-2007)