Six of the best lighthouses
Australia’s waters would be all the more treacherous without these brilliant beacons.
1. Bunbury, Western Australia
The 27 m high lighthouse at Point Casuarina is one of the country’s most unusual in appearance. Its black-and-white chequered design is said to have been recommended by a local Scots sailor who loved Black & White whisky and Scottish terriers. The steel structure was officially completed in 1972.
2. Point Malcolm, South Australia
Australia’s only riverine lighthouse is located between Lake Alexandrina and Lake Albert. It was lit in 1878 to guide paddle-steamers plying the River Murray. It’s so dry at The Narrows now that you’d be lucky to get a tinnie through.
3. Cape Wickham, King Island, Tasmania
Towering 48 m over the northern tip of King Island, this is the tallest lighthouse in Australia. Built in 1861, it and the Cape Otway Lighthouse in Victoria frame the 88 km wide “eye of the needle” that eastbound ships needed to find to make it to Melbourne unscathed.
4. Maatsuyker Island, Tasmania
Australia’s southernmost lighthouse, which cops the full brunt of the Roaring Forties, was built in 1891. In 1996 an automated, solar-powered light, placed further up the hill, took over the job of warning mariners of the jagged Needle Rocks.
5. Macquarie Lighthouse, New South Wales
This light station, perched on Sydney Harbour’s southern headland, is the country’s longest operating – there’s been a beacon here since 1818, although the present, more solid replica of the original was built in 1883.
6. Cape Byron, New South Wales
Flashing once every 15 seconds from a 1000-watt, 120-volt tungsten halogen, this is the brightest lighthouse signal in Australia, with a light intensity equal to more than 2 million candles. It can be seen up to 27 nautical miles (50 km) out to sea.
Source: Australian Geographic Issue 96 (Oct – Dec 2009)
Feature: Lights on at Tasman