Charles Point Lighthouse

Point Charles Lighthouse is the oldest in the Territory, built in 1893.


Since settlement in 1870, the port at Darwin had always been difficult to navigate due to shallow waters, swift currents and many shoals, most of them uncharted.

The South Australian Government had been pressured for years to build a lighthouse by mariners and others, but was loath to spend money for the distant Northern Territory. Nevertheless, construction on the NT’s first lighthouse began in 1892, at Charles Point on the northern end of the Cox Peninsula, 21 kilometres from Darwin.

The wrought iron tower consisted of a central tube, almost two metres in diameter, braced and strutted. A spiral staircase in the tube led to the lanternroom, where a Chance Brothers revolving first-order dioptric optic using a vapourised kerosene burner with incandescent mantle was installed. The light began operating in 1893, showed a green, white and red light.

The focal plane was 26 metres about ground, and 36 metres above sea level, enabling the beam to be seen for 32 kilometres, and from Darwin itself.

Lightkeepers cottages were also constructed, made of galvanised iron, with wooden floors and surrounded by verandahs to help with the heat.

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Title Address Description
Cape Don
Araru Point, Cobourg NT 0822, AustraliaCape Don
Cape Fourcroy
Cape Fourcroy, Tiwi Islands NT 0822, AustraliaCape Fourcroy
Charles Point
Charles Point Light House, Cox Peninsula NT 0822, AustraliaCharles Point
Emery Point
Allen Ave, Larrakeyah NT 0820, AustraliaEmery Point

Technical Details

First Exhibited1893
LocationLatitude: 12° 23.3600' S
Longitude: 130° 37.8560' E
Original OpticChance Bros 16 panel 1st order
Current OpticVRB-25 inside lantern
ConstructionRed and white lattice tower with white Chance Bros. 12'3'' lantern with flat/square glazing.
Height32 m, 22 metres high to base of lantern
Elevation39 m
RangeNominal: 17 nm Geographical: 17 nm
CharacterFL. W. 5 secs
Intensity37,101 cd
Light Source12V 35W C8 Halogen
Power SourceSolarised: 17 Feb 1994
NotesAs at 2016
  NB: Information is historical data and is not for navigational purposes.
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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.


The tower is not open to the public.

Site Access

The lighthouse grounn of Kiama.


No tours are available.


No lighthouse accommodation is available


Theose to the tower.

Friends Group

There is no Friends Group

Associated Lighthouse





  • Gxxxxle – Seasidelights  External link
  • Daxxxxxxeher – Flickr  External link
  • Winsome Bonham for Photograph
  • AMSA for Photographs
  • EJ for Photograph
  • John Ibbotson for Photograph
  • Des Stones for information
  • Thierry Tomczak for information
  • From Dusk to Dawn by Gordon Reid