Crowdy Head Lighthouse

The Crowdy Head Lighthouse is one of five similar NSW lights designed by Colonial architect James Barnett who held this role for 25 years from 1865 to 1890. Crowdy Head was established to serve the entrance to the Manning River. 


A pilot station was established in 1860 at nearby Harrington to assist ships navigating the entrance of the Manning River with cargoes of timber, livestock and limestone.

In 1878, a fixed 4th order catadioptric light was erected on Crowdy Head. The light exhibited white (1,000 candelas) with a red (250 candelas) sector through a 16 deg arc over Mermaid Reef  through to Indian Head, 201 deg to 217 deg. The red sector remains in place.

The Crowdy Head tower was made of stone and painted white. It was originally manned by one lightkeeper. The original light source was a two wick burner. The light had a range of 12 nautical miles in the white sector with red visible for 6 nautical miles in clear weather.

In 1928 the apparatus was converted to automatic acetylene operation providing 1500 candelas and the keeper withdrawn. The light was converted to mains electricity in June 1972. Conversion to a LED light source was completed in early 2021 with the replacement of the VRB-25 rotating beacon with a fixed high intensity LED beacon. The fixed beacon allowed the removal of the parasitic suppression screens evident in the lantern which was designed originally as a fixed lantern by Chance Brothers. Out of the four similar NSW lights remaining Richmond River is the only light to retain its original Chance Bros optic.

The decline of the coastal shipping industry saw the closure of the pilot station in the 1960s.

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Title Address Description
Tacking Point
Lighthouse Rd, Port Macquarie NSW 2444, AustraliaTacking Point
Crowdy Head
1 Elizabeth St, Crowdy Head NSW 2427, AustraliaCrowdy Head
Sugarloaf Point
1 Kinka Rd, Seal Rocks NSW 2423, AustraliaSugarloaf Point
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Please include this lighthouse’s name, the keepers full name and what years they were keepers. Also include the same information for any other lights they were on.

Technical Details

First Exhibited1878
Permanent Tower
Current Tower
Location Lat. 31°50'36.45"S Long. 152°45'12.50"E
Original OpticChance Bros 4th Order fixed
Current OpticSealite SL-300 single tear high intensity LED beacon
CharacterGrp Fl. (2) 10 secs
IntensityWhite 28,000 cd, Red 7,000 cd
Light SourceHigh efficiency LED's
Power SourceMains Electricity
OperatorNSW Transport Maritime Services
CustodianNSW Department of Industry Crown Lands
NotesVega FA-251 replaced
  NB: Information is historical data and is not for navigational purposes.


The site is open 24 hrs, but there is no access to the tower.







Associated Lighthouses

Fingal Head

Richmond River

Clarence River

Tacking Point


  • Crowdy Head – Roxford Bree
  • Brian Lord for Photographs
  • Ian Clifford for Photographs
  • Dept of Transport
  • From Dusk Till Dawn by Gordon Reid
  • Mary Shelley Clark and Jack Clark
  • Sydney AFLOAT