Pine Islet Lighthouse

The Pine islet Lighthouse, now relocated to Mackay was the last kerosene powered lighthouse in Australia.

Now restored and in full working order it is now the last fully functional kerosene lighthouse in the world. It was relocated from Pine Islet in the Percy Isles. The restoration of the lighthouse to full operational status on its present site was completed in late 1995, and formally opened on 20 January 1996.

History

The lightstation was situated on Pine Islet in the Percy Group, south-east of Mackay. It consisted of a second-order apparatus and the building were prefabrication and erected on the island in 1885.

The structure is one of the eight typical Queensland iron clad prefabricated hardwood towers of the late nineteenth century. The original lamp was an oil wick burner run on whale or vegetable oil.

The light had a red shade to mark the direction of Normanby Rock, 1.6 km south-west of the lighthouse.

In 1923 the apparatus was converted from oil wick to incandescent kerosene vapour burner. This kerosene vapour burner was upgraded in 1934 with the installation of a refurbished lantern from North Reef. The lamp was driven by a clockwork mechanism which had to be wound every 2 hours.

The original keepers cottages were replaced in 1927, with 3 fibro-clad cottages. The houses were electrified in 1950 when a 110v charging system was installed. A 240v system was installed in 1965.

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Flat Top Island

Flat Top Island

Flat Top Island
Unnamed Road, Mackay Harbour QLD 4740, Australia

Flat Top Island

Direction

Mackay Harbour

Mackay Harbour

Mackay Harbour
44 Mulherin Dr, Mackay Harbour QLD 4740, Australia

Mackay Harbour

Direction

Pine Islet

Pine Islet

Pine Islet
The Percy Group QLD 4707, Australia

Pine Islet

Direction

North Reef

North Reef

North Reef
Gladstone, QLD, Australia

North Reef

Direction

continued from above …

After 104 years of service the lighthouse was replaced by a fully automatic solar-powered light in 1985. It was the last kerosene powered light in Australia.

On completion of the dismantling in 1986, the work crew inscribed on the cement base:

Pine Islet Lighthouse
Built 18/07/1885
Dismantled 12/11/1986
‘REST IN PIECES’

After much lobbying by locals the lighthouse was reassembled on a new site at the Port of Mackay. The restoration of the lighthouse to full operational status on its present site was completed in late 1995. It therefore remains the last operational kerosene powered light in the world.

The ghost of Pine Islet

In 1895 one of the keepers wives died of cancer and was buried on the island.

When the new cottages were built in 1927 the grave site was relocated by 30 metres to make way for for the new cottage.

The new residents of the new cottage would report answering knocking on the door but no-one there.

Another resident told of hearing footsteps entering the house and going into the lounge.

After this the ghost was never heard from again. It is believed the lounge is over the grave site and the ghost was returning to that grave.

Keepers

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

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
CurrentTower
Architect
Status
Location
Original Optic
Current Optic
Automated
Demanned
Construction
Height
Elevation
Range
Character
Intensity
Light Source
Power Source
Operator
Custodian
Notes

  NB: Information is historical data and is not for navigational purposes.

Access

The lighthouse has been relocated to the marina area at Mackay. The grounds are open all year round. The tower is not open to the public.

Tours

No tours are available.

Links

Have your say on Mackay’s 130-year-old lighthouse – Daily Mercury 10 Nov 2015

Sources

  • AMSA
  • From Dusk Till Dawn, Gordon Reid
  • Lighthouses: Do We Keep the Keepers?
  • Pine Islet Lighthouse Preservation Society
  • Pine Islet Light 2006  Burkhard Westphal  External link
  • Gathering at lighthouse keeper’s residence Pine Islet  External link
  • Hoisting supplies Pine Islet ca1906 State Library of Queensland External link
  • Pine Island lighthouse 1931 State Library of Queensland External link
  • Pine Islet Grave Dorothea McKay State Library of Queensland External link
  • Pine Islet Tower Plans 1915 National Archives of Australia External link
  • Pine Islet Lantern  – The Pine Islet Lighthouse Preservation Society External link
  • Relocating the tower to Mackay 1993  Mackay Daily Mercury External link
  • The new Pine Islet light – Winsome Bonham
  • Pine Islet Before Relocation – The Pine Islet Lighthouse Preservation Society
  • Pine Islet 1986 – The Pine Islet Lighthouse Preservation Society