Lighthouses: Coastal


Macquarie Lighthouse
Outer South Head, Sydney Harbour
Australia's First Lighthouse, The Macquarie Lighthouse, stands on the coastal side of South Head at Watsons Bay. It replaces an earlier structure, completed in 1818 that itself replaced a wood and coal fired beacon, a basket on a tripod established in 1793 that would be the only guiding light for the next 25 years.
The first lighthouse structure in Australia was built on the site of a flagstaff erected in 1791, within one year of the First Fleet arriving to settle New South Wales. The lighthouse was the work of convict Francis Greenway. Governor Macquarie was so impressed with the construction, he granted Greenway emancipation and appointed him colonial architect. The Hyde Park Barracks is one of the many significant buildings designed by Greenway. Australia's first lighthouse keeper was Robert Watson, a Quartermaster on the First Fleet vessel HMS Sirius and later Harbour Master at Sydney who gave his name to Watsons Bay.
As Greenway had warned, the quality of sandstone used to build the lighthouse was poor and large iron bands had to be placed around it. Construction of the current Macquarie Lighthouse was begun in 1881 and the light was first exhibited in 1883. Colonial Architect James Barnet's design replicated the original tower, but stronger materials and a more stable design was used. The lighting apparatus at the time was described by the builder, Chance Brothers, of Birmingham as the most efficient in the world. It was electric in operation, with the power being produced by two De Meritens magnetos weighing two and a half tons. The power generators for the new light proved too expensive to run and in 1912 the apparatus was converted to a vapourised kerosene incandescent mantle system.
With the connection of the city power supply in 1933 the light was converted back to electricity. At the time a smaller lens was installed and this is basically the mode of operation we see today. The lighthouse was fully automated in 1976.

Character: Group Flashing (2) every 10 seconds
Light source: 120V, 1,000 Watt, Quartz Halogen Lamp
Power source: Mains electricity, Stand-by Diesel
Intensity: 800,000 cd
Elevation: 105 metres
Range: 25 nautical miles
Height: 26 metres
UBD Map 238 Ref C 2
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  • Barrenjoey Lighthouse


    Barrenjoey headland, Palm Beach
    The third light on the headland, it was completed in 1881. The lighthouse stands on the site of a customs station erected in 1843 to both mark the entrance to Pittwater and discourage a flourishing smuggling trade. In 1855 a fire was raised in a basket to guide coastal coal carriers into Pittwater and Broken Bay during heavy seas and storms. Later, in 1868, two wooden lighthouses known as the Stewart Towers were built to give the marker a little more permanency.
    The current lighthouse began operations in 1881, its first keepers being the George Mulhalls, father and son, who had tended the lamps of the wooden Stewart Towers. The original apparatus in the new tower was a fixed RED dioptric of 700 candlepower with four oil wick burners. In 1932 the light was converted to automatic operation with the installation of an acetylene gas apparatus. The acetylene gas apparatus was efficient, however access to the tower for re-supply caused problems and in 1972 the light was converted to electric operation.
    Access to the lighthouse and lightkeeper's cottages is by a one kilometre walk from the Palm Beach car park.
    v Character: Group Flashing 4 times every 20 seconds
    Light Source: 120V, 1,000 Watt, Quartz Halogen Lamp
    Power source: Mains electricity, Stand-by Diesel
    Intensity: 75,000 cd
    Elevation: 113 metres
    Range: 19 nautical miles
    Height: 29.75 metres
    UBD Map 78 inset Ref P 2
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    • Endeavour Light


      Erected in 1955, the Endeavour Light on Henry Head at the northern side of the entrance to Botany Bay is a guide to shipping entering and leaving the Bay. It consists of a white square masonry tower. The lighthouse is named for Captain James Cook's flagship; Botany Bay was Cook's first point of contact with the Australian continent, in April 1770. UBD Map 297 inset Ref J 15

      Power source: Mains electricity, Stand-by Diesel
      Elevation: 27 metres
      Height: 4 metres
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      • Cape Bailly Lighthouse


        South of Kurnell
        First mooted in 1931 the light was eventually established in 1950. Its function is to allow north bound shipping to hug the coast and avoid the strong southerly currents further out to sea. Standing in Botany Bay National Park, the lighthouse looks across the coastal heath of Kurnell Peninsula. It is surrounded by significant Aboriginal sites, sandstone cliffs and gorges, and several important wetland areas. Access is via a walking track from Kurnell.

        Character: Flashing (3) in 9 Seconds
        Power source: mains electricity
        Intensity: 1,200 cd
        Elevation: 54.9 Metres
        Range: 10 Nautical Miles (18.5 Kilometres)
        Height: 9.1 metres
        UBD Map 336 Ref L 4



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Macquarie Lighthouse

Cape Baily Light

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