The lighthouse at Green Cape NSW dates from the 1880’s when the safety of coastal shipping depended on reliable navigation signals from the shore. Many of our NSW lighthouses were built during a single decade, 1875-1885, on designs drawn by James Barnet (1827-1904), who held the post of Colonial Architect from 1862 to 1890. The lanterns and galleries of Barnet’s lighthouses have a distinctive and elegant style.
The Lighthouse Keeper’s cottage and two smaller cottages for his assistants were built at the time, and are now available for holiday rental. Our bookclub group hired both smaller cottages (a National Parks Ranger uses the main cottage) for the weekend. Some us arrived early Friday afternoon, hot and sunny, others came much later, but all thirteen were in time for dinner. We had fun, reading lighthouse books of course, and a Famous Five adventure as well. Does anyone remember Five go to Demon Rocks?
All lighthouses in NSW have been closed to visitors since a group of young vandals scratched one of the precious old Fresnel lenses with a diamond ring. I guess they thought it was a chance for some graffiti. Luckily the ranger was available and we were able to go into the lighthouse with his permission. Other photos will come in another post.
This inscription is on the main cottage, reminiscent of the days of sail. Sadly there have been many wrecks off the coast of Green Cape, hence the need for the lighthouse. Disaster Bay lies to the south of the Cape, named for the wrecks that ran into rocks there, trying to hug the shore on the main shipping route north from Melbourne to Sydney. During one violent storm the Ly-ee-Moon ran aground at Green Cape, with the loss of 70 persons, most of whom are buried on the Cape. Amongst the dead was the mother of Australia’s only ‘saint’ (according to the Vatican), Mary McKillop.
There is a new light now. In 1992 a solar powered lens on a modern lattice skeletal steel tower was constructed right next to the historic tower, and the light was officially turned off in 17 March 1992. The new light operates a 36 W lamp with an intensity of 37,500 cd. You can see it in the earlier photographs. At night the beam shone into our bedroom, a gentle rhythmic brightening and dulling that was not too disturbing!
During our visit the winds howled and a fierce sun shone! It was quite harsh, but remarkably remote and beautiful. With white-painted buildings that accentuated the brightness and nowhere much to shelter from the wind I found myself indoors quite a bit, when I was not out clambering about on the rocks or exploring the heathland. I woke at dawn on Saturday morning and went out to soak up the softness of the early morning light.
It was a wonderful adventure, lots more to share with you soon. Have you ever stayed at a lighthouse?
PS I was frustrated with the small size of images in my last theme, twentyfourteen, so I am on the hunt for something more suitable, expect some changes!