North Reef Lighthouse

Because of the harsh conditions of living on the North Reef Lighthouse only men without families were allowed to be keepers there.


The North Reef Lighthouse was completed in 1878.

The structure was placed on a small sandbank on a coral reef. Therefore the building of the lighthouse was a challenge.

The tower and dwellings, a cylinder 12 metres across and 15 metres high, were constructed of timber sheathed in galvanised iron.

It was anchored to solid coral reef bed with a hollow base of cast concrete thus giving it resistance to the shifting nature of the sand bar.

The hollow base also served as a tank for fresh rainwater that was caught from the roof.

There are no details of the original apparatus, but is is known that the light was upgraded in 1923 and again in 1929.

The light was converted to electric operation in 1977 after which is was demanned in 1978.

The light was one of the first stations to receive equipment that enabled the automatic transferring of operating and fault information to a monitoring station.

The light was converted to solar energy in 1987.

Great deprivations were suffered by families who lived on lightstation built over water or or on a small sandbar.

Because the keepers lived in cramped quarters in the base of the tower only single men were allow to go to North Reef as keepers.

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Title Address Description
Pine Islet
The Percy Group QLD 4707, Australia

Pine Islet

North Reef
Gladstone, QLD, Australia

North Reef

Cape Capricorn
Unnamed Road, Curtis Island QLD 4680, Australia

Cape Capricorn

continued from above …

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 Exhibited1878
Permanent Tower
LocationLat: 23° 11.1010'S Long: 151° 54.1780'E
Original Optic
Current OpticVRB-25 (Mounted inside lantern)
DemannedJan 1978
ConstructionCircular iron clad timber frame tower with Chance 10'9" dia. lantern and red cupola
Height24 m
Elevation23 m
RangeNominal: 17 nm Geographical: 14 nm
CharacterFl. W. (2) every 15 secs
Intensity35050 cd
Light Source12V 35W C8 Halogen LP PR30s
Power SourceSolar conv 28/7/87
NotesMajor Refurbishment 2010/11
As at April 2012

  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


A postcard from North Reef – Peter Marquis-Kyle 13 October 2011