Grassy Hill Lighthouse

Cooktown was established in 1873, but no beacon guided ships through the reef until the lighthouse was built in 1886.


The lantern and 4th order fixed optical apparatus were supplied by Chance Brothers Ltd, England at a cost of 156 pounds. The lighthouses was staffed by a single keeper who announced the arrival of ships by raising a flag. At midday a time ball was dropped from the signal staff. 

Harry Geater was the last employed light keeper at Grassy Hill lighthouse, serving from 1922-1927.  Harry, his wife, Florence, and four daughters enjoyed their happy mainland life. The older girls had attended school with their long walk each day carefully watched over by Harry and his lighthouse telescope and a megaphone to hurry them along!

Florence enjoyed the social life and services that a town provided. With their newly born daughter, the Geater family left their only town posting and moved to Goods Island (Palilag) in the Torres Strait.

In 1927 the light was converted from its original Farquher 2 wick kerosene burner to an acetylene open flame flasher and automated. It remained in this operational configuration into the 1980’s, a testament to the reliability and efficiently of the acetylene system used in many of the smaller lights.

The threat of the losing the lighthouse galvanised the Cooktown community in 1987. Faced with the Government’s plan to decommission the facility, a group of residents believing the Lighthouse to be of great local, national and international significance campaigned for nearly a year to save the Lighthouse for the community and visitors into the future. Receiving substantial media attention, support came from all over Australia.

In 1988 the Lighthouse and the area around it, was “sold” to the Cooktown people for $100. The lighthouse remains operation and is maintained by Queensland Maritime.

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© All images are copyright of their respective photographers and are not to be used without permission.

Title Address Description
Raine Island
Cook, QLD, AustraliaRaine Island
Wharton Reef
Cook, QLD, AustraliaWharton Reef
Grassy Hill
Hope St, Cooktown QLD 4895, AustraliaGrassy Hill
Archer Point
Archer Point Rd, Cooktown QLD 4895, AustraliaArcher Point

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We need your help in compiling a list of keepers for this lighthouse. If you have any information then send it to

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 Exhibited1886
Permanent Tower1886
LocationLat. 15 27 S, Long. 145 15 E
Original OpticChance Bros 4th Order fixed
Current Optic
Automated12 th of July 1927
ConstructionTimber frame clad with corrugated galvanised steel sheet on a concrete base.
Range9 NM
CharacterGrp. Fl. White (2) 6.0 sec
Intensity890 cd
Light Source
Power SourceMains supply
OperatorQueensland Maritime
NotesTransferred to QLD state Gov on the 1/11/87
  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.


No lighthouse accommodation is available