Grassy Hill Lighthouse

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


The light was supplied by Chance Brothers Ltd, England, and for years was one of only four along the Queensland coast. Small lighthouses were staffed by a lone 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. In 1927, the Office of Lightkeeper was abolished when the lighthouse was fully automated with the original apparatus replaced by an open flame acetylene gas burner. 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.

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.

continued below …

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Title Address Description
Raine Island
Cook, QLD, Australia

Raine Island

Wharton Reef
Cook, QLD, Australia

Wharton Reef

Grassy Hill
Hope St, Cooktown QLD 4895, Australia

Grassy Hill

Archer Point
Archer Point Rd, Cooktown QLD 4895, Australia

Archer Point

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More history.


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 Exhibited
Permanent Tower
Original Optic
Current Optic
Light Source
Power Source

  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