North Head Lighthouse
Since restoration in 2017, the community have an annual Walk to the Lighthouse day. This coincides with a very low tide and is usually around July-August.
The North Head Lighthouse is on North Head Island, a short distance east of Bowen. The island was solely used for lighthouse purposes consisting of the lighthouse, a cylinder shed, tramway tracks and the remains of a cottage and tank stand. The lighthouse is located on the highest point of the island.
The tower is tapered hexagonal timber tower with a curved extension at the top section, as well as a gallery and lantern room with a dome roof. The timber structure is covered with tin sheeting secured by lead flashing and weatherboard cladding remains intact underneath.
The lantern room is stripped of any windows and equipment. The original Fresnel lens is currently displayed at the Bowen Historical Society and Museum. The lighthouse is secured to the ground by steel cables fastened to the upper part of the tower.
The cylinder shed is located on the lower part of the island and consists of a timber structure with a skillion roof. The walls
and the roof are clad with corrugated iron sheeting. The shed contains some gas cylinders and connection lines which run
up to the lighthouse. Remains of a timber tramway and winch for hauling equipment up the steep slope to the lighthouse
survive running north east from the cylinder shed to the lighthouse. The remnants of a cottage include concrete stumps for
the house and water tank and remnant corrugated iron sheeting and flashings exists to the immediate south east of the
continued below …
© All images are copyright of their respective photographers and are not to be used without permission.
NB: Information is historical data and is not for navigational purposes.
continued from above …
Originally know as Port Denison it was the first port established in North Queensland and the settlement of Bowen, located on its shore, was officially proclaimed on 11 April 1861 (named after Queensland’s first Governor, Sir George Ferguson Bowen).
The colony of Queensland was responsible for all lights along its coastline and within its harbours after separation from
New South Wales in 1859. The colonial government quickly set about constructing lighthouses along the coast and
harbours. Tenders were called for the North Head lighthouse in April 1866 and it was operational by November that year.
The lighthouse was maintained by the pilot boat’s crew, stationed at Dalrymple Point. A severe cyclone prevented the crew
from reaching the lighthouse in 1867, ensuring there was no light. However, due to the relatively light shipping traffic in the
port, a lightkeeper was not stationed on the island to maintain the light. There is no further documentary evidence that a
lightkeeper was stationed on the island; however, an historical photo dating from c1908 clearly indicates what appears to
be a domestic structure on the island. It is believed that the house was removed from the island and relocated to Bowen.
The lighthouse continued in use until 1985 and the original lens is now located at the Bowen Historical Society and Museum
We need your help in compiling a list of keepers for this lighthouse. If you have any information then send it to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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.
The lighthouse grounds are open all year round. The tower is not open to the public.
Around July – August each year coinciding with a very low tide the community put on a “walk to the lighthouse’ day.
Detail to come.
Heritage listed lighthouse receives $100,000 boost – Daily Mercury 27 April 2016
Unveiling of restored north head lighthouse on track – Whitsunday Coast Guardian 28 September 2016
Shining a Light on Queensland’s Lighthouses! – Queensland State Archives 12 April 2016
Hundreds make annual low tide walk to historic lighthouse – Daily Mercury 26 June 2017
Queensland’s timber and iron lighthouses: 19th century colonial innovation – Peter Marquis-Kyle
- Text from North Head Lighthouse Complex