Tacking Point Lighthouse

Tacking Point is one of five similar NSW lights designed by Colonial architect James Barnett who held this role for 25 years from 1865 to 1890. Taking Point was established to serve the growing Port Macquarie. 


In the early to mid 19th Century the main contact for the coastal towns of the north coast of New South Wales was sea transport. There were no roads and the railways were only just beginning.

There were few lights and in the Tacking Point area more than 20 wrecks occurred, the first being the schooner Black Joe in 1823, and the steamer Sumatra in the same year.

In 1879 a fixed 4th order catadioptric light of approximately 1000 candelas was erected on Tacking Point. The structure is built of cement-rendered bricks and because of the elevation only needed to be 8 metres high.

The apparatus was converted from wick burner (kerosene) in 1919 to automatic acetylene operation. As a result of automation the keepers were withdrawn after 40 years of service. The light was converted to mains electricity in 1974. Conversion to LED light source was completed in early 2021 with the removal of the rotating VRB-25 beacon and installation of a fixed high intensity LED beacon. 

The foundations of the keeper’s cottage can still be seen.

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Title Address Description
Smoky Cape
Lighthouse Rd, Arakoon NSW 2431, Australia
Tacking Point
Lighthouse Rd, Port Macquarie NSW 2444, Australia

Tacking Point

Crowdy Head
1 Elizabeth St, Crowdy Head NSW 2427, Australia

Crowdy Head

continued from above …


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 Exhibited1879
Permanent Tower1879
Current Tower1879
LocationLat. 31° 28.7 S. Longitude 152° 56.2 E.
Original OpticChance Bros 4th order Fixed catadioptric
Current OpticSealite SL-300 single tear high intensity LED beacon
ConstructionCement-rendered Bricks
Height8 m
Elevation34 m
Range16 NM
CharacterGrp. Fl. (4) W 20 secs
Intensity12,800 cd
Light SourceHigh efficiency LED's
Power SourceMains Electricity, battery backup
OperatorNSW Transport Maritime Services
CustodianNSW Department of Industry Crown Lands
NotesFA-251 rotating beacon replaced 2021

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


The lighthouse reserve is open all year. Access via Lighthouse Road just south of Port Macquarie. The tower is closed to the public.






The Mid North Coast Maritime Museum has some lighthouse artifacts.
6 William Street, Port Macquarie NSW

Associated Lighthouses

Crowdy Head Lighthouse

Fingal Head Lighthouse

Richmond River Lighthouse

Clarence River Lighthouse (old tower demolished)


  • Annette Flotwell for Photograph
  • Brian Lord for Photographs
  • Cyril Curtain for Photographs
  • Ian Clifford for Photographs
  • Winsome Bonham for Photograph
  • Averil Legg
  • Dept of Transport
  • From Dusk Till Dawn by Gordon Reid
  • Mary Shelley Clark and Jack Clark
  • Sydney AFLOAT
  • W. Lippingwell, Coastal Lighthouses of NSW, 1938