Green Cape Lighthouse

Green Cape cottages and lighthouse

Green Cape cottages and lighthouse

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.

plans for Green Cape Lighthouse

plans for Green Cape Lighthouse

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?

looking up

looking up

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.IMG_0277

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.

bushfire coloured skies over Green Cape Feb 2014

bushfire coloured skies over Green Cape Feb 2014

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!

evening light

evening light

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.

lighthouse at dawn

lighthouse at dawn

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!


43 thoughts on “Green Cape Lighthouse

  1. What a perfect setting for a bookclub weekend. I have read Famous Five books but I don’t recall any details 😦 Haven’t stayed next to a lighthouse either. I would like to.

    • I am sure I had not read Five Go to Demon Rocks, but we only got to chapter four on the weekend so I am still ‘in the dark’ …. but the Five books were a highlight of my childhood. It was marvellous to experience the history and drama of the setting, but I would prefer to return at a gentler time of year, although Green Cape is notoriously windy!

      • Is Green Cape far from you? Is it easy to return? The last Cape and lighthouse I visited were on NZ’s West Coast. The Cape, although exceedingly beautiful, was aptly named Cape Foulwind 😀 The Famous Five were certainly a famous part of my childhood days. What about Seven Little Australians? That was a classic too.

  2. Another memory tweaked, Christine- I loved the Five! Think I was George in another life 🙂
    Lovely lighthouse shots and the blue is the prettiest background, but I do find the text hard to read in the grey.

    • thanks Jo, I am still trying things out! I used to love the Famous Five and George was my favourite role model too 🙂

      On Sun, Feb 9, 2014 at 7:58 PM, dadirridreaming wrote:


  3. What an amazing adventure!!! To be able to stay at the lighthouse cottages … what fun. So remote! Imagine all the things that have gone on there. I’ll bet you can “feel” the history. 🙂 Your pictures are beautiful.

    • yes I am sure we did ‘feel’ the history … there is supposed to be a ghost in the cottage where we stayed, apparently one internal room was used as a morgue after the wreck of the Ly-ee-Moon … bbrrrrr!

  4. Beautiful visit, Christine. Nice images and background. Thanks for sharing. We too live near the coast, and Barnegat Lighthouse is in view. Most lighthouses here in the states were de-activated quite a bit earlier than your Green Cape. Barnegat was a second generation structure, tall at 172′ and completed in 1859. We treasure our lighthouses here as well. It must have been a wonderful experience to spend time at the cottages. M

    • Hi MV, I had a quick look at Old Barney, he does look tall! What is it about lighthouses that so attracts us? They are not all as remote as Green Cape, but I guess they connect us back to the days of our ancestors when dangerous sea voyages were the order of the day 🙂

      • They mostly are just so majestic.. along with all their wonderful history of warning us against shoreline dangers. I find it strangely re-assuring to see that icon and it’s restored beacon out there day after day – storm after storm… -:)

  5. Was Virginia Woolf’s To the Lighthouse on the reading list? I read a bunch of her works maybe two years ago, and can’t remember much of it in particular, but I do remember liking it.

    • It was debated, but no, the set book was The Lighthouse by PD James, which I enjoyed, a classic PD James. Some of us read other lighthouse books, of which there are quite a few!

    • so sad that we as a society cannot help those people when they are younger, so they don’t need to throw their rubbish on the road and wreck things … maybe they need an exciting life at sea in the days of sail!

  6. Gorgeous photos of a gorgeous setting! I especially like the evening light photo. I would love to spend a weekend here in such a serene setting with so much history all around me.

    • the colours are lovely, sadly some are due to bushfires in Victoria (we were close to the border), but it is not really serene … it is known as one of the windiest sites in Australia my kite-boarding son tells me!

      On Mon, Feb 10, 2014 at 2:14 PM, dadirridreaming wrote:


  7. No i’ve never stayed in a lighthouse – what fun! Do you have photos of your room? The landscape and the light is stunning.
    I’m not sold on Twenty Fourteen either yet, but it’s so time consuming to change.

    • this theme I am trying now is easy, it only took minutes to change over and another twenty minutes fiddling with colours … Fotofolia I think it is called … tempted? I saw another one I loved but it was more for writers, maybe that would suit you … now I can’t remember what it was called … silly me!

      On Mon, Feb 10, 2014 at 8:36 PM, dadirridreaming wrote:


  8. What a wonderful setting! The perspective in your photos is really excellent, too, Christine, beautifully showcasing the lighthouse. And the skies are a lovely color. I’ve seen that same phenomena before, too. When we have our wildfires the sunsets are simply gorgeous. It can be a bit unsettling. Beautiful photos!

  9. i have never stayed at a lighthouse – sounds delightful. urk, pardon the pun.
    love the perspective on ‘looking up’ and the lighting in your dawn image. what a beautiful place. thanks for sharing.

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