Goods Island Lighthouse
The first navigation aid on Goods Island was a signalling station, established 1877.
The first Europeans to inhabit Goods Island were E. Powell, the signalman, and his family. A signal station and quarters were established there in 1877. Powell used a flash lamp and flags to signal ships approaching Prince of Wales Channel or Normanby Sound, and then signal the Police Magistrate on Thursday Island. Shortly afterwards, a pilot station and associated living quarters were also established, on the eastern side of the island. Also at this time, Hockings, one of the Strait’s most prominent pearling businesses, established a pearling station there.
In 1882 Torres Strait pearl fishers requested that the Queensland government install a light at the western entrance of the strait. The request was strongly endorsed by George Heath, chairman of the Queensland Marine Board, who directed that it be constructed on Goods Island, to point out the entrance to Normanby Sound. A temporary light was at first installed on the verandah of the signalman’s quarters. This was followed in 1886 by the construction of a proper lighthouse using government labour.
The lighthouse was a small iron clad, timber framed building, with a white, cylindrical body and red cupola roof. It was installed with a dioptric light of the Fourth Order, with a totally reflecting glass mirror. Although it only stood around five metres high, it was located at the highest point on the island, reaching a height of 115 metres. The Goods Island lighthouse was probably the only lighthouse in Queensland to have been constructed by government workers instead of private contractors.
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Telegraphic communication with Thursday Island was provided for the Lightstation in 1894. Goods Island, along with all State owned lighthouses, was transferred to the control of the Commonwealth shortly after Federation.
During World War 2, Torres Strait assumed great strategic importance in protecting Australia from a northerly invasion. Goods Island lighthouse was taken over by the Royal Australian navy at this time. The island’s civilian inhabitants were evacuated to the mainland, while defensive batteries and facilities were constructed at strategic points around the island.
The Goods Island lighthouse was transferred to automatic control in 1973, then solar power in 1988, but remains in use today, as it has been for over 110 years.
The Goods Island lightstation is situated on the highest point of the island, at a height of 115 metres. It has clear views over Prince of Wales Channel to the north and Normanby Sound to the south, as well as Hammond, Friday, Prince of Wales and Thursday Islands.
The lighthouse is a five metre high timber framed cylindrical lighthouse with a white iron-clad body and a red zinc cupola roof. It is accessed via concrete steps to the rear. A lead light exists on the rock platform below. The original light source was a manually operated dioptric light of the fourth order, but this was converted to automatic operation in 1973, and solar powered from 1988.
Buildings associated with the lighthouse include the lightstation complex, featuring a timber storage shed and the lighthouse keeper’s quarters. The keeper’s quarters, originally a timber, iron-roofed house, now appears to be clad in fibro-cement. Both auxiliary buildings are white with green-painted galvanised iron roofs.
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|Location||Lat: 10° 33.9070'S
Long: 142° 09.1290'E
|Current Optic||Chance 250 mm focal radius|
|Construction||White round tower with Stone Chance. lantern and red cupola|
|Range||Nominal: 14 nm Geographical: 25 nm|
|Character||Fl. W. 2.5 Sec (Synchronized with Goods
Island Front Lead)
|Light Source||12V 100W C8 Halogen LP PR30s|
|Power Source||Solar Conversion 25/05/88|
|Notes||As at Sept 2014|
NB: Information is historical data and is not for navigational purposes.
The lighthouse grounds are open all year round. The tower is not open to the public.
No tours are available.
- Australian Heritage Database
- Goods Island – Syd Pipe Queensland Places
- Goods Island – The Lighthouse Directory
- Goods Island Tower – John Ibbotson
- Goods Island Aerial 1999 – Marty Rock
- Goods Island Lighthouse ca.1909 – SLQ