Sometimes we add an extra post to the weekly regularity.
The extra post is usually photographic in nature and is about things we see on our travels and there are enough of them to create their own subject.
This post subject is all about LIGHTHOUSES, hence the introduction about light. Most lighthouses these days are little more than a tourist attraction and do not operate at all. Others are automatic and need no routine maintenance just a checkup by a visiting lighthouse keeper or even a volunteer group to cut the grass, paint walls and fences and perhaps polish a lens.
So lets get the trip started…
An interesting piece of historical lighthouse keeper lore was about…
“The keeper at Split Point at Airey’s Inlet in Victoria did not exactly sleep on the job but he did not see why he should be deprived of his social life at night. He scratched a small hole in the black paint on the back of the lantern, which prevents the light shining inland and annoying residents. This keeper, Richard Joy Baker, scratched the hole to line up with the Airey’s Inlet Hotel. Each time the lenses rotated, the light winked through the hole, assuring the keeper (who had retired to the hotel) that all was well.”
It is accessible by foot, although with 500,00 visitors a year, car parking can be a problem. Guaranteed.
There are reports the lighthouse is 224 foot above sea level. It seems these reports are incorrect as it is actually 121 feet above sea level.
The lighthouse was strongly mooted by local landholder Edward Hargraves (who is credited with starting the first Australian gold rush in 1851) because of his concern over the number of wrecks in the area. These included the Gwydir with three lives in 1894 and earlier a boat with 20 Chinese seamen whose bodies where washed ashore.
Point Danger is home to the Captain Cook Memorial Lighthouse. It lays claim to being the first in the world to experiment with laser technology (1971). I oprefer the older traditional style of lighthouse design.
Fort Queenscliff was built around the light after fears that ships carrying gold from the gold rush may be attacked by privateers.
The structure is built of cement-rendered bricks and because of the elevation only needed to be 8 metres high.
The first lighthouse official keeper was William Walker who came to Yamba as a member of the Pilot’s crew and remained in the job until 1886 at least.
He was a widower for many years and lived by himself in rooms attached to the lighthouse.
Evidently a man of some education he accepted the job as teacher of the first provisional school but, as explained in the section on the Public School he resigned in 1870 because he couldn’t hold two jobs in the Public Service and he had never given up his employment in the boat crew..
A reporter of the “Sydney Mail” (24th Oct., 1885) called him “an old sailor … whose absence would now be regretted almost as much as that of his light. His bachelor quarters are snug and comfortable, and a perfect pattern of neatness and cleanliness, while the lamp and reflectors shine like polished gold and silver work under his attentive care”.
Australia’s most significant lighthouse.
CAPE Otway Lightstation is the oldest, surviving lighthouse in mainland Australia. The light, which has been in continuous operation since 1848, is perched on towering sea cliffs where Bass Strait and the Southern Ocean collide. For thousands of immigrants, after many months at sea, Cape Otway was their first sight of land after leaving Europe.