Kiama Lighthouse

The light was established in 1887, 10 years after the creation of the Robertson Basin, a manmade harbour to service Kiama.

 

History

Continuous local commercial pressure especially after the construction of Robertson Basin led to tenders being called for the construction of the lighthouse in 1886. The manmade harbour serviced Kiama’s supply of crushed blue metal and paving blocks for the streets of Sydney.

The tower, built on Blowhole Point, is constructed of brick and rendered outside with concrete.

The total cost for the tower and apparatus was £1,350.

The original apparatus was an oil burner with a catadioptric fixed lens producing a 600 candela green light that was visible for nine miles.

This was upgraded to the local town coal gas in 1908 with an intensity of 1,500 candelas and a range of fifteen miles.

This was further upgraded to acetylene gas and group flashing in 1920. At this point the light was demanned, though Brewis stated in 1913 that the light was unwatched, the keeper’s cottage being vacant.

In 1969 the light was converted to 240v mains electricity with battery back up.

continued below …

© All images are copyright of their respective photographers and are not to be used without permission.

Wollongong Harbour

Wollongong Harbour
2 Endeavour Dr, Wollongong NSW 2500, Australia
Direction

Flagstaff Point (Wollongong Head)

Flagstaff Point (Wollongong Head)
lot 2500, LOT 2 Endeavour Dr, Wollongong NSW 2500, Australia
Direction

Kiama

Kiama
Kiama
Blowhole Point Road, Kiama NSW 2533, Australia
Kiama
Direction

Crookhaven Heads

Crookhaven Heads
Prince Edward Ave, Culburra Beach NSW 2540, Australia
Direction

continued from above …

The establishment of the light was a big event as noted in the Kiama Independent of 10 August 1886:

Situated on the round apex of Blowhole Point, the Kiama lighthouse stands from sea level to the light at a height of 224 feet. The foundation is concrete, 14 feet in depth and 12 feet in diameter; from the bottom of the foundation to the top of the entrance is 16 feet. The height of the building from the floor to the coping is 36 feet, to the light is 40 feet, and to the top of the weather vane is 50 feet.

The building is of brick, cemented outside and plastered within. The ascent is accomplished by means of three iron ladders, leading from one storey to another, the staircase being lighted by side lights.

The top of the structure is surrounded by a very artistic railing; and the light, which will be of a similar magnifying power to the Hornby light, near Watson’s Bay, is very shortly expected to arrive from England.

The lighthouse is now quite finished, so far as the contractors are concerned, with the exception of receiving two or three coats of paint, which is now being done.

A neat hexagonal fence is being erected round the building which will give it the trim and neat appearance and so closely associated in our minds with all lighthouses.

(Note: that the reference to the tower being 224 ft above sea level is quite erroneous as it was actually 121 ft)

Keepers

Once the light was automated and demanned in the 1920’s the lightkeepers cottage closest to the lighthouse was soon demolished by vandals

However the other cottage remains and is still in use as a museum and visitors centre. This cottage was the residence of the local harbour pilots from 1881 to 1981. It is typical of houses designed by the the office of the colonial architect to house public officials in country areas.

Local materials were used such as basalt for the outer walls, ironbark for the floors and cedar for the fittings. Extensions were made in 1881 and again in the 1930s. Despite much of the original character having been lost it was restored and renovated in the 1980s by the Kiama Historical Society.

We need your help in compiling a list of keepers for this lighthouse. If you have any information then send it to keeper@lighthouses.org.au.

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 Exhibited1st January 1887
Current Tower1886
ArchitectEdward Moriarty
StatusActive
LocationLat. 34°40'18.41"S   Long. 150°51'45.43"E
Original OpticIn use. Chance Bros 250mm fixed
Automated1920
Demanned1920
ConstructionRendered Brick
Height15.5m
Elevation36m
Range15 NM
CharacterOrig: Fixed Green light
Current: Grp. Fl. White (4) 20 secs
Intensity28,000 cd
Light SourceSealite SL216 LED array
Power Source1887: Oil
1908: Coal gas
1920: Acetylene
1969: Electricity
Current: Mains supply with battery back up
OperatorNSW Roards & Maritime
CustodianNSW Department of Industry
NotesLight source converted to LED array June 2018

  NB: Information is historical data and is not for navigational purposes.

Access

The tower is not open to the public.

Site Access

The lighthouse grounds are open all year round, just a short drive from the town of Kiama.

Tours

No tours are available.

Accommodation

No lighthouse accommodation is available

Museum

The Kiama Pilot’s Cottage Museum External link  is in one of the former keepers cottages and is close to the tower.

Friends Group

There is no Friends Group

Associated Lighthouse

Lighthouse

Links

Link

Sources

  • Dirk Selderyk
  • Garry Searle – Seasidelights  External link
  • David Kelleher – Flickr  External link
  • Ian Clifford
  • AMSA
  • Dept of Transport
  • From Dawn Till Dusk
  • Brian Lord
  • Walkabout
  • White Towers – The Illawarra Lighthouses