Carpentaria Light Ship CLS2

The lightships filled a need to place beacons in areas where it was impossible to build a lighthouse. Two lightships were anchored off the Queensland coast. One at Sandy Cape on the northern end of Fraser Island and the other in the Torres Straits.


4 identical lightships, designed by Messrs D & C Stevenson of Edinburgh, Scotland and built at Cockatoo Island Dockyard, Sydney in 1917 for the Commonwealth Lighthouse Service.

The flashing light was powered by a six month supply of acetylene gas, carried in four A-300 size acetylene cylinders. The flow of gas, which was ignited by a pilot flame, was controlled by an automatic mechanism to produce the characteristic code of flashes. A “sun valve” turned on and off the flow of gas to the burner at dusk and dawn, respectively. Nominal range of the light was 10 nautical miles (18.5 km). A warning bell tolled with the rolling of the ship to warn mariners during periods of reduced visibility such as in rain or fog.

The lightships were maintained as a pair. While one was in use the other was in port for maintenance. On a yearly basis the refitted ship would be towed out into position and the other towed back for service. They were checked every 3 months while in use.

CLS 2 (together with CLS 4) spent much of its time in the Gulf of Carpentaria, hence the name CARPENTARIA emblazoned along the side, but was last stationed in the Bass Strait oilfields serving as a traffic separator. The Light Ship was retired from service in 1985. Later in the decade it became part of the collection at the Queensland Maritime Museum, where it is on display with Diamantina in the Dry Dock. Currently, she is being restored by Museum volunteers.

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Title Address Description
Caloundra Lighthouses
8/10 Canberra Terrace, Kings Beach QLD 4551, AustraliaCaloundra Lighthouses
Moreton Bay Pile Light
Curlew St, Port of Brisbane QLD 4178, AustraliaMoreton Bay Pile Light
Cape Moreton
Cape Track, Moreton Island QLD 4025, AustraliaCape Moreton
Cleveland Point
238 Shore St N, Cleveland QLD 4163, AustraliaCleveland Point
Bulwer Island (Relocated)
412A Stanley St, South Brisbane QLD 4101, AustraliaBulwer Island (Relocated)
Carpentaria LV CLS2
30 Sidon St, South Brisbane QLD 4101, AustraliaCarpentaria LV CLS2


The CLS lightships were not manned.

Technical Details

First Exhibited1917
BuiltCockatoo Island Dockyard Sydney
ConstructionRiveted steel
Length (Overall)21.94 m
Length (Waterline)21.51 m
Beam7.82 m
Draft2.74 m
Displacement164 tonnes
Power SourceAcetylene Gas
Intensity1500 cp
Range10 NM
  NB: Information is historical data and is not for navigational purposes.


The lightship is docked at the Queensland Maritime Museum in Brisbane.


No tours of the lightship are available. But it can be viewed close up from the Museum grounds.


The Queensland Maritime Museum.

Associated Lighthouses

Carpentaria CLS4


Commonwealth Lightship Service – ANMM


  • Interpretative materials
  • Queensland Maritime Museum