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State Indexes > VIC > Queenscliff Black Lighthouse

The Black Lighthouse is located Inside of Historic Fort Queenscliff [Photograph: Ed Kavaliunas]
The Black Lighthouse is located inside historic Fort Queenscliff
Photograph: Ed Kavaliunas

The Black Lighthouse at Fort Queenscliff

Queenscliff's famous Black Lighthouse is one of only ahandful in the world that are unpainted black stone. It is the only black lighthouse in the Southern Hemisphere.

Also know as the High Lighthouse it is located inside the historic Fort Queenscliff guarding the entrance to Port Phillip Bay


LOCATION: Latitude 38° 16' S, Longitude 144° 39' E [map]
OPERATOR: Port of Melbourne Corporation
EXHIBITED: 1843 first tower; 1862 current black tower
CHARACTER: Continuous White Light
LIGHT SOURCE: 250 watt, 120 volt globes
POWER SOURCE: Mains Power, Battery Backup
ELEVATION: 40 metres
RANGE: <<>>
HEIGHT: 25 metres
CUSTODIAN: Port of Melbourne Corporation


The lighthouse was built to replace an earlier sandstone 1843 lighthouse that was under powered and the tower had structurally deteriorated.

The new light was built in 1862 in conjunction with the White (Low) Lighthouse and therefore had many similarities in design.

The lamps and housings were manufactured by Chance Brothers in England.

The entrance was 3.5 metres above ground level reflecting the English lighthouses that where built on rocks at sea level. The entrance was later rebuilt at ground level.

There are two greatly disputed stories of the origins of the bluestone used to build the lighthouse.

One version claims that the stone came from Scotland already cut and dressed as ship's ballast.

The other version which is considered to be the official one is that the stone was quarried in Melbourne and brought by barge to Queenscliff. Proponents of this theory claim that the barging in of the stone is what lead to the misconception over the origin of the stone.

Fort Queenscliff was built around the light after fears that ships carrying gold from the gold rush may be attacked by privateers.

The light was converted to gas in 1890 and later converted to electricity in 1924.

It is believe that the first public telephone service in Victoria was installed in this lighthouse.

The light, now automated, is unmanned.

Erecting the Black Lighthouse with the old sandstone
lighthouse in the background
Courtesy Queenscliff Historical Society: Painting R Wilson RA 1861

The Black Lighthouse Looking Towards the Rip [Photograph: Ed Kavaliunas]
The Black Lighthouse looking towards the Rip
Photograph: Ed Kavaliunas


NEAREST TOWN: Queenscliff
DISTANCE: 600 m (Queenscliff)
: 103 km by road (Melbourne)
ACCESS: Restricted Area
TOURS: Fort grounds only. Weekdays at 1pm, Weekends 1.00 pm and 3.00 pm. Phone (03) 5258 3403 to confirm time and for bookings

The Black Lighthouse from the air
Photograph: Rod Cairns

The Surrounding Area

The Black Lighthouse before the establishment of Fort Queenscliff (1882)
Courtesy Queenscliff Historical Society: Fred Kruger 1882


Pauline O'Brien Visits from Western Australia Bulletin Jul 02
US Lighthouse Society Tours Australia - Part 2 Bulletin Jun 02
Lighthouses From the Air: Part 3 Bulletin Nov 01
Australian Lighthouse Tour Bulletin Dec 00

Aerial view of the Black Lighthouse at Queenscliff
Photograph: Winsome Bonham

Letters & Notices

International Lighthouse and Lightship Weekend (ILLW) 2003 Bulletin Aug 03
Looking for Alfred Henry Stephens of Queenscliff Bulletin Sep 02
Looking for James Dimond, was Keeper at Queenscliffe Bulletin May 01
Revisiting the haunts of Ernest Gustof Fritz Johansson Bulletin Feb 01

The Black Lighthouse - Fort Queenscliff [Photograph: Ed Kavaliunas]
The Black Lighthouse at Queenscliff
Photograph: Ed Kavaliunas

Other Queenscliff Black Sites

The Queenscliff Black Lighthouse Garry Searle
The Queenscliff Black Lighthouse Rod Cairns
The Queenscliff Black Lighthouse Grant Maizels

Special Thanks to:

  • Ed Kavaliunas for Photographs
  • Queenscliff Historical Society for Historical Photos
  • Rod Cairns for Photograph
  • 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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