Carpentaria LV CLS4

Australia had several lightships (or Lightvessels) as navigational aids where lighthouses could not be built. Many were older ships that could be towed into position and anchored. Early lightships were manned but CLS4 was built as an unmanned vessel.


When the Commonwealth Lighthouse Service took over responsibility for lighthouses in 1915 they set about building four purpose built lightships in 1916 and 1917. CLS4 spent most of its working life marking the Merkara Shoals in the Gulf of Carpentaria, hence the name along its side.

It was also periodically moved to Sandy Cape in Queensland. CLS4 was towed to Bass Strait in 1983 to serve as a traffic separator for ships working in the oilfields. It was retired in 1985.

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Title Address Description
Robertsons Point
Athol Wharf Rd, Cremorne Point NSW 2088, AustraliaRobertsons Point
Fort Denison
1d Mrs Macquaries Rd, Sydney NSW 2000, AustraliaFort Denison
Carpentaria LV CLS4
20 Murray St, Sydney NSW 2000, AustraliaCarpentaria LV CLS4


The CLS lightships were not manned.

Technical Details

First Exhibited1917
BuiltCockatoo Island Dockyard Sydney
ConstructionRiveted steel
Length21.94 m overall
21.51 m waterline
Beam7.82 m
Draft2.74 m
Displacement164 tonnes
Power SourceAcetylene Gas
Intensity1500 cp
Range10 NM (18.5 km)
  NB: Information is historical data and is not for navigational purposes.


The lightship is docked at the Australian Maritime Museum in Darling Harbour, Sydney.


No tours of the lightship are available.


The Australian National Maritime Museum.

Associated Lighthouse

Carpentaria CLS2 – Qld Maritime Museum


  • Interpretative materials