Booby Island Lighthouse

Booby Island, located about 50 km (30 miles) west northwest of Cape York, marks the western entrance to the difficult navigation channel through the Torres Strait.

So many ships were wrecked here in the nineteenth century that provisions were kept stocked on the island for wrecked seamen.

The lighthouse is located at the highest point of the island.

Accessible only by boat or helicoptor, special permission is required to land on the island.


Post Office Cave

“A port of refuge on Booby Island for survivors of shipwrecks was suggested early in the 1800s. It is arguable who first suggested the idea, but Captain Bligh, who became Governor of New South Wales Colony in 1806, officially suggested the establishment of a refuge.

Captain Hobson of the “Rattlesnake” which was engaged in botanic observations, proposed that a form of post office operate on the island and placed a logbook with writing materials there for that purpose. Passing ships made entries in the log and passed on information about the ships that had passed. Mail was also dropped off to await a vessel passing in the opposite direction for eventual delivery. Both the post office and provisions were well patronised and saved the life of many a sailor in distress.

continued below …

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Title Address Description
Cape Wessel
Cape Wessels Airport, East Arnhem NT 0822, Australia

Cape Wessel

Goods Island
Esplanade, Torres Strait QLD 4875, Australia

Goods Island

Booby Island
Torres, QLD, Australia

Booby Island

Raine Island
Cook, QLD, Australia

Raine Island

continued from above …

MacGillivray, naturalist on the “Rattlesnake” wrote:- “that this supply will be renewed from time to time is most likely, as the Legislative Council of New South Wales, last year voted the sum of fifty pounds for provisions to be left at Booby Island for the use of shipwrecked people. It seemed that the practice of provisioning Booby Island continued until the latter part of the nineteenth century. Passers-by also left food, rum and other useful items.

Both the original logbook placed there in 1835 by Captain Hobson, and the replacement log in 1857 had disappeared by the 1880s. A sad loss indeed when one considers the great wealth of irreplaceable historical information gone forever.”

Booby Island was a port of call by Captain William Bligh in April 1789, on his epic 6000 kilometre voyage to Timor in a seven metre open boat after the infamous mutiny on his ship the “Bounty’. Interestingly, Captain Bligh named the island Booby Island as well.


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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 Exhibited1890
LocationLat: 10° 36.2528 'S Long: 141° 54.6820 'E
Original Optic
Current OpticVRB-25
ConstructionWhite circular wooden frame n iron clad tower and lantern
Height16 m
Elevation37 m
RangeNom: 20 nm Geo: 17 nm
CharacterFL. W. 10 secs
Intensity104,630 cd
Light Source12V 75W C8 Halogen
Power SourceSolar Conversion 23/11/91
NotesAs at June 2015

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


The lighthouse is accessible only by air or sea. The tower is not open to the public.


Is the lens at Green Hill Fort


  • Booby Island Lighthouse and Cottages – Ray Berkelmans  External link
  • Booby Island Lighthouse – J Warnes  External link
  • Booby Island Lightstation from the sea – J Warnes  External link
  • Booby Island aerial – wal.cray  External link
  • Booby Island Lighthouse ca.1918 – SLQ  External link
  • Booby Island  – John Ibbotson