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Lighthouses of Victoria

State Indexes > VIC > Point Lonsdale Lighthouse

The Point Lonsdale Lighthouse

A vigil is kept by the still manned Point Lonsdale Lighthouse over the narrow entrance to Port Phillip Bay. The Rip, as it is known, is one of the most notorious entrances to any bay in the world.

Point Lonsdale Lighthouse Overlooking the Rip
The Point Lonsdale Lighthouse overlooking the Rip
Photograph: Ed Kavaliunas


This lighthouse is one of the few left that is staffed 24 hours a day. The base has an signal and observation room for the control of shipping through the Heads.

LOCATION: Latitude 38° 17' 6" S, Longitude 144° 36' 8" E (Map)
OPERATOR: Port of Melbourne Corporation
CHARACTER: Horizontal Beam Flashes twice every 15 seconds
LIGHT SOURCE: 250 watt, 120 volt globes
POWER SOURCE: Mains Power, Battery Backup
ELEVATION: 36.6 metres above sea level
RANGE: 12 nautical miles
HEIGHT: 21.31 metres

The original relocated Shortland Bluff Lighthouse
Photograph courtesy: Queenscliff Historical Society


Point Lonsdale received a signal station in 1852 to help ships negotiate its dangerous waters.

Four years later, a red pillar beacon was built to warn of Lonsdale Rock.

A wooden lighthouse from Shortland Bluff was then dismantled and re-erected at Point Lonsdale in 1863.

The present lighthouse was built in 1902, but the earlier wooden lighthouse was not cut up for firewood until 1912.

In 1915 the light passed from the Victorian State Government to Commonwealth control. It was handed back in 1934 and classified as a harbour entrance light rather than a "Coastal Highway Light".

The base was altered in 1950 to provide an observation and shipping control room.

This is possibly the last manned lighthouse in Australia.

The lighthouse celebrated its centenary in 2002.

The Point Lonsdale Lighthouse before
the signal station was added

Photograph courtesy: Queenscliff Historical Society

The Point Lonsdale Lighthouse from the air
Photograph: Winsome Bonham

Preservation Issues

In 1997, the Point Lonsdale Lighthouse was given a facelift - the lighthouse was sandblasted, sealed and re- painted.

Lonsdale hides its light under a bushel for now

The Point Lonsdale Centenary celebrations in April 2002
Photograph: Laurie Sharp

Denise Shultz and Malcolm Macdonald at the centenary celebrations
Photograph: Laurie Sharp


The lighthouse is a public reserve accessible by road and walking to the south of the Point Lonsdale township. The Lighthouse was being opened regularly on Sundays. Check with the Queenscliff Maritime Centre.

The Point Lonsdale Lighthouse and signal station
Photograph: Ed Kavaliunas

The Surrounding Area

The staircase in the Point Lonsdale Lighthouse
Photograph: Cyril Curtain

Special Thanks to:

  • Ed Kavaliunas for Photographs
  • Mrs Laurie Sharp for Photographs
  • Queenscliff Historical Society
  • Winsome Bonham for Photograph


  • Brian Lord
  • Lighthouses at Port Philip Heads by ET (Ray) Raison
  • From Dusk Till Dawn by Gordon Reid
  • The Lighthouses of Victoria by Dacre Smyth

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