Moreton Bay Pile Light

Relocated after a new channel was cut, struck by a barge in 1945, the Moreton Bay Pile Light came to its end when the British tanker Wave Protector crashed through the light in 1949.


Moreton Pile light at the mouth of Brisbane River was built in 1882. The river, obstructed by a shoal before, became open when a channel was dredged through the bar.

The lighthouse fulfilled two functions. The first was to mark the seaward entrance to the port of Brisbane through the newly dredged Francis Channel. The channel was also marked by two other lighthouses on Fisherman Islands, by beacons along its whole length and by a light boat at its port end. The lighthouses were manned by keepers who lived in adjacent living quarters.

The second function was to keep the record and signal the state of the tides to the passing ships. Different colours were designated to specific levels of the tide and changed manually. Floats in tubes attached to graphs recorded the tides and when replaced every 31 days, the results were sent to Greenwich for keeping.

When the bar became blocked once again, a new cutting was opened in 1912 and the pile light had to be moved to a new position. The original platform was left where it stood with a new small light attached to it. It was eventually destroyed in the 1960s. The 4th order light was moved with the lighthouse and continued to signal the state of the tides; red during ebb and flashing during flood tides.

continued below …

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

Title Address Description
Caloundra Lighthouses
8/10 Canberra Terrace, Kings Beach QLD 4551, Australia

Caloundra Lighthouses

Cape Moreton
Cape Track, Moreton Island QLD 4025, Australia

Cape Moreton

Moreton Bay Pile Light
Curlew St, Port of Brisbane QLD 4178, Australia

Moreton Bay Pile Light

Cleveland Point
238 Shore St N, Cleveland QLD 4163, Australia

Cleveland Point

continued from above …

On 3 March 1945, the pile light was severely damaged when a US refrigerated barge in tow of a tug collided heavily with the pile. Though some damage remained on the steel structure, the lighthouse was soon repaired and returned to service. Its end came about four years later on 17 October 1949. The 15,000 ton British tanker Wave Protector failed to stop and crashed through the lighthouse. Its three inhabitants were thrown into the sea but escaped drowning when they were saved by the tanker’s crew. The damaged structure remained at its place until 1966/67, when it was removed by a barge Hammerhead.

Both are now gone but the original locations were:
Pile light: S27.18.45 E153.12.36
Old Pile Light: S27.19.28 E 153.10.12


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 tower is no longer in situ.


Queensland Maritime Museum  External link


  • Pile Light in Moreton Bay, ca. 1895  External link
  • Pile Light in Moreton Bay, ca. 1909  External link
  • Rowing out to the Moreton Bay Pile Light ca1910  External link
  • University of Queensland for Photographs
  • Egbert Koch for information
  • Thierry Tomczak for information