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Lighthouses of Western Victoria
the council really needs to improve in this area. we took the opportunity to visit some of the historical lighthouses along the Great Ocean Road and do the tours if possible. located about an hour’s drive west of Mt Gambier. We did this trip once west to east and the second time east to west as the first trip was for a Dutch friend and we were time limited We travelled from Torquay to the east all the way to Mt Gambier in the west. But I digress. This road trip started in Picton where the third member of our party joined us after work. A squat little one.. An amazing 1970’s construction. The new lighthouse is 400m away to the east.. The old lighthouse was demolished.. It was a great shame that we could not fit in the Robe lighthouse. or coffee.. This beautiful lighthouse has no toilets nearby and you have to be psychic to find them. All they say was go back to the car park. Great Ocean Road Arch The Great Ocean Road is recognised as being the world’s largest war memorial. As I was not able to climb the lighthouse I do not have a photo of the arc of the light. a new camera was procured and we continued onwards to Torquay on the Victorian coast. a forth arch was built in the same spot where you can see it today. The other one we missed which is also close to Mt Gambier is Cape Northumberland Lighthouse at Port MacDonnell. The tours cost $12 but as I had the wrong shoes on and the boys were itching to head west.5m) than it is at the top (5m) and hence looks like a fencing spike. The cafe people were surly and almost rude about finding them. The red light 16 Nautical miles. . The original lighthouse only lasted 23 years before the exposed location became unstable. Finally it was converted to mains power in 1972. The signs say 300m to the next toilet sign. The lighthouse is cement rendered and was taken over by the Commonwealth Government in 1919. Many cairns dot the roadway recognising the sacrifice of those who lost their lives fighting in wars. There have been four memorial arches. It’s a funny one as it is narrower at the bottom (3. but the light has a range of 20 Nautical miles. The tours run on weekends and school holidays. The light is a group 4 flash every 20 seconds. just over the South Australian border. An early-ish start and a hearty breakfast at the Angahook Cafe and we were ready to hunt down the first lighthouse of the day. The lighthouse is now operated by the Australian Maritime Safety Authority. The third arch was built in the same location but was burnt to the ground during the Ash wednesday bush fires in 1983.Lighthouses of Western Victoria Brief Introduction of who we are and the ones that got away On our recent drive around the south east of the country. We had travelled down the Hume highway and after a tragic camera death and therefore a side trip into Melbourne. The original light was vapourised kerosene and when it was taken over by the government.. Split Point Lighthouse Split Point lighthouse was originally called Eagles Nest Point lighthouse. A relief to the Road authority. It is known as the White Queen by sailors as they round Cape Otway. we declined. I do understand only for customers but I could have bought a postcard. each light is unique in light pattern and hence immediately identifiable at night from sea. It weighed 50 tonnes and was demolished in 1970 when it was destroyed by a truck crashing into it.. it was converted to acetylene and then automated. Due to public demand. it was the replacement for the one that was located closer to the cliffs and under threat of being undermined. We soldiered on to the gateway of the Great Ocean Road. built in 1891. who had declared it too narrow and a hazard to traffic but the public had been in an uproar about the demolition plans.. The second Arch was built at Eastern View in 1939. The first was near Cathedral rock and was demolished in 1936.
Originally it costs $43 from the author so its certainly rare. It was replaced by a solar light placed in front of the old tower. Mostly hidden in the bushes. :-( Nothing replaces the romance of a lighthouse. after an earthquake hit the area and spilt some of the mercury making the light drop down. A plane gets a warning when it strays too low or two high of the perfect landing path. the whole light sits in a mercury bath and essentially floats.Heading west from the Great Ocean Road Gate.. It’s filled with koalas and hence people stop suddenly in the roadway. Its silly but I was beaming with pride. Once had a 50ft antenna the boys who worked here once saw a Japanese submarine surface!!! .. the lighthouse keepers cottage is now a cafe and the grounds also have some traditional aboriginal sites. he rarely gets sick but this road is hell. made of sandstone. I emailed the author and he has Cape Otway Lighthouse Cape Otway Lighthouse is simply stunning. I have managed to nab a copy that cost me $80. On a side note if you see a book called Australian Lighthouses. LOL Its interesting that they had to take out some of the Fresnel Lens sold out of his copies. You will not regret it. Like me. This lighthouse is the oldest surviving lighthouse on the mainland of Australia. Keep your eyes up and outside. My visit up the tower brought me into contact with a modern keeper. Beautiful and scenic the trees form such a lovely pathway but still very windy and narrow. Hidden to the left of the lighthouse is the RAAF radar station Number 13. He also told me that he will not be updating it and no re-prints so grab it if you see it. The more red you see. Its almost exactly like the ILS with Aircraft. He asked me as few questions to which I was delighted that I could answer. Sadly this light was extinguished in 1994. The first being Macquarie lighthouse in Sydney. Hey! Its Victoria just wait 10 minutes. This lighthouse has a triple flash every 18 seconds. Eventually he fell asleep and so with no protests from the rear seat. This road passes through Great Otway national park. Weather cleared up and we got some lovely photos of this amazing place.. Poor Drue made the mistake of putting his head down to read his twitter and made himself ill. The red light was installed in 1881. The light was lit in 1848. being the second lighthouse to be lit in Australia. The light was isolated and hence lighthouse keepers only got supplied every 6-12 months! The complex was not accessible until 1930s by road. Well obviously this predates so I should say the ILS is based in the lighthouse system. LOL so today you can see the panels missing. Things like “The light is able to be pushed with one finger. it is higher than the lighthouse and hence gives you great view of the light.a visitors guide then snap it up. Well what is left of it. Access costs $17 for adults and if you time it right. So you can see it is very different from Split Point. It was built from 1846 to 1848. How is this possible?” I actually knew the answer. you get catch a guided tour of the lighthouse. The structure we see today is the 1883 lighthouse. No wonder they breathed a sigh of relief when they rounded the Cape and saw the Split Point lighthouse. We ate at the Cafe whilst the heavens opened and we ate lovely winter food during Victorian winter weather watching people run from the lighthouse looking for cover.5 tonnes. the closer to the cliff you are. BUT Macquarie lighthouse was re-built and hence not the oldest lighthouse. the grounds cover the telegraph station. its weight around 2. Only 84km and in bad weather many ships were wrecked in King Island. we turned off to Cape Otway. So by taking out some Crystal panels it lifted up again back into place. Alas I was too late for one and too early for the next. Situated in a complex now. The museum employee was polishing the crystal of the old light. the road gets extremely windy. Like Split Point lighthouse it has a red light system that tell a ship if it has strayed off course. The light shows the way through the “Eye of the Needle” which is the gap between Cape Wickham and Cape Otway.
lighthouse. A shame. Amazing alas no access is available to the lighthouse itself and no tours are offered. The light flashes twice every 10 seconds. ing past. Its predecessor was ineffective due to its lack of height.. This lighthouse and its neighbour Lady bay lower lighthouse are both part of the Flagstaff Hill Maritime Museum complex. It flashes 1 second every 5 seconds. Lady bay Lower lighthouse. The lower lighthouse shows a fixed light with red and green sections. Both lighthouses were powered originally by oil. So off we trudged.. I am told that the stairway is built into the wall.au and the walk was stated to be 400m from the car park. Both lighthouses work together to guide ships into the harbour. is now on top of Flagstaff hill. interesting time at Cape Otway but eventually the weather got the better of us. The lighthouse guides ships into Port Fairy which was once a whaling port and up until the 1980’s housed Australia’s largest fishing fleet. it was very apparent that this was not quite right.. Lady Bay Upper and Lower Lighthouses Warrnambool had two lighthouses. The lighthouse keeper’s cottages were demolished around 1956. it was moved in 1872 to replace an obelisk on top of the hill. I would certainly recommend you come here but only in the summer months. It would be scenic if it wasn’t blowing a gale. inside the museum complex is also still in use. The lighthouse was on the most excellent lighthouse resource http://www. Our next lighthouse was Griffiths Island lighthouse. the Gannets didn’t seem to mind. I am certain that Tiger snakes haunt these holes too but it’s far too cold for them. we saw a sign that said 1750m to go to the lighthouse. we bedded down in Warrnambool. Griffiths Island Lighthouse This lighthouse is located on an island just off Port Fairy.net. . It was moved as the light was obscured by heavy seas and hence quite pointless.We headed off after a long. It was also moved stone by stone at the same time as the Upper lighthouse. After 800m. Moving west along the Ocean Road. The Island is a terrific place for watching the wildlife. The tower is 11m high. But as you can see. The website said a scenic 400m walk but as we headed off into the wind and cold. wallabies and Gannets. Our next day was going to be more relaxed. EEP. The walk to the lighthouse is along the nature reserve that houses mutton birds. Over the sands and along the waterline. Originally on Middle Island on the Merri River. Lady Bay Upper lighthouse is still in use.. TWO! Alas neither are functioning. A solar light operates on the verandah. You see the wallabies on the beach and they don’t worry too much about you walk- The lighthouse was built in 1859 out of bluestone by Scottish Stone masons. employed by John Griffiths who owned the island. but not with the original light. It is built from part of an old obelisk and part of an older lighthouse. The first. It is now called Lady Bay Upper Lighthouse. The foundations are still there but overgrown. To visit you need to go into the museum. Talk about bleak! I was here in early March and we had a week of gale force winds and grey skies.
. Our tour guide turned up and he took us through the assistant lighthouse keepers’ cottages. I do hope it is open for inspection one day. As we had time to kill we had lunch in Portland. The cottages are set up for hotel accommodation except the lighthouse keeper’s cottage which the cafe owner lives in at the moment. and hence we missed our planned tour of Cape Nelson Lighthouse. this was a very long way. Wear long pants if you go. An idea for next trip . By quicker I mean it was paved and only 1160m not the 1750m that we had just walked. We arrived at the base of the lighthouse in time for the 2pm tour. This certainly reminds you of the gale force winds that rage round the building. The point it sits on is close to the CBD of Portland and very easy to get to. You need at least 20 minutes notice.. Portland is home to Whaler’s Bluff Lighthouse. Whaler’s Bluff Lighthouse Whaler’s Bluff lighthouse was built in 1859 on Battery point by John Hughes and known as Portland Bay lighthouse. The open stairwell made him nervous. We were under the impression that there were two tours a day at Cape Nelson. It was here that I discovered that Drue doesn’t like heights. Still well worth the walk and Cape Nelson Lighthouse Cape Nelson lighthouse is stunningly beautiful.1m long! Next was the tower itself.The walk on Griffiths Island took much longer than our itinerary had allowed for. choosing to get out of the wind and rain at the pub. The sign at the cafe said tours were 11am and 2pm. The light flashes white and red every 10 seconds. The light flashes 4 then a 20 second break. You just stare at it. North Bluff was renamed Whaler’s bluff. A great place to photograph the ships that enter Portland harbour. Our enquiries at the cafe revealed no standard tours anymore you have to ring in advance and the tour guide drives out for groups of more than two. so we headed inside to make inquiries.. The lighthouse one is almost 2m high! Entering the lighthouse is via an airlock. Its not well marked and so you may have to check at the Maritime Museum on the harbour. This tower was lit in 1884. Yes plural. The bluestone was quarried nearby but this ran out prior to the completion of the building. The lighthouse is operated by the Victorian Channels Authority and there is no tours of the little building. There were two assistant lighthouse keepers in addition to the lighthouse keeper himself. After lunch we headed for Cape Nelson lighthouse. The building of this lighthouse was slow due to the location. It was relocated stone by stone to where it is now on North Bluff in 1889 to make way for Guns on battery point and keep the light safe from enemy fire. A very pretty lighthouse. and the windbreak wall draws your eye to the lighthouse. On our return trip. we discovered a ‘quicker’ walk. D’oh! So we hiked back in the rain feeling rather silly. In the 1880’s where else do you see mutton bird nesting sites? Silly birds tend to crash into the ground when they land so well worth going to see. Clean white lines wider at the base than the top. The original light was changed in 1907 and electrified in 1934 when the clockwork machinery was also installed. So we hung around Griffiths Island lighthouse. All the flags are set up here and originally the flag pole was next to the hut but is now farther down the cliff. The guide explained that grooves of the wagons were found in the rock near the lighthouse keeper’s house. The signal hut has the telescope that they used to spot the ships and the tour guide showed us the signal flags and explained their use. Up we went to the top of a 32m tower. to wait and take photos but the huge flies were bothering David. Now David and I had been there two weeks before so on his trip we did not return. Still a lovely and romantic idea. More stone was sourced close by but had to be carted via Portland which is over 20km away. Lovely houses set up for two couples. The long white wall the leads your eyes to the lighthouse and surrounds the cottages are made of rubble and form rather efficient wind breaks. lol I think it’ll always be out of my price range.. The staff lived in relative luxury and the lighthouse keeper earned around £150 a week which was a fortune at the time. Our next stop was to the signal hut. I was happy maybe. In 1987 the light was connected to the mains power. The telescope is 2. The wife of the last assistant lighthouse keeper said that they considered a holiday and they stayed there for 20 years before retiring.
the different bulbs and even the AIS. Alas I have never been to Tasmania so it is one for the list.Poor thing. I do hope you enjoyed my trip across the coast. OOPS. I Cape Nelson Lighthouse marks the end of our Western Victorian lighthouses. Cape Wickham. Just as well he ran back. it is also the tallest in the Southern Hemisphere. The next two are over the border. don’t blame him. Without this lighthouse and Cape Otway many more lives would be lost on the rocks of King Island. returning with his glasses and his phone. Then again looking straight down. One last look and we headed down the tower. Cape Wickham deserves a mention as it is not only the tallest lighthouse in Australia. the companion to Cape Otway. . The only missing lighthouse that goes with this set of lighthouses is actually in Tasmania. We spent ages at the top of the lighthouse discussing lights and arcs of sight. (Ship identifying and locating system) BUT as with all things we had to move on and find a bed for the night and still other things to see on this road before entering South Australia. It was half way down that David realised that he has left his glasses at the top and hence he ran all the way up again.
Many Thanks to my travelling companions David and Drue. my husband and organiser of TJC tours. To David. without whom this trip would ghave been a chore. we love your trips and look forwards to the next lot of adventures where you take us. xoxo Woosang All photos are taken by the Author and may not be copied without express permission ©YKirk2011 .