Pine Islet Lighthouse

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

When relocated from Pine Islet in the Percy Isles to its current location at the Port of Mackay the lighthouse was fully reassembled to allow operation of the light making if one of a small number of working kerosene lights in the world. Work was completed in late 1995, and the lighthouse was formally opened on 20 January 1996.


The lightstation was situated on Pine Islet in the Percy Group, south-east of Mackay. The tower structure and keepers quarters were prefabricated in Brisbane before being shipped to the island in October 1884. Iron cladding for the lighthouse was brought from Britain

The lighthouse apparatus is a second-order Chance Brothers lantern and dioptric lens rotating on a chariot wheel pedestal. 

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

The light exhibited a fixed light for one minute, eclipse 25 seconds, flash ten seconds, and eclipse 25 seconds with one revolution of the lens occurring every 8 minutes. The light had a red shade to mark the direction of Normanby Rock, 1.6 km south-west of the lighthouse.

In 1923 the light source was converted from oil wick to an incandescent kerosene vapour burner. This kerosene burner was upgraded in 1934 with the installation of a refurbished unit from North Reef. The optic was rotated by a clockwork mechanism which was wound at approximately 2 hours intervals.

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

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Title Address Description
Flat Top Island
Unnamed Road, Mackay Harbour QLD 4740, AustraliaFlat Top Island
Mackay Harbour
44 Mulherin Dr, Mackay Harbour QLD 4740, AustraliaMackay Harbour
Pine Islet
The Percy Group QLD 4707, AustraliaPine Islet
North Reef
Gladstone, QLD, AustraliaNorth Reef

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


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. While the lighthouse is not currently in operating condition plans are underway to again restore the light to allow its operation.

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.


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 Exhibited18th July 1885
Permanent Tower1885
Original OpticChance Bros 2nd order
Current OpticChance Bros 2nd order
AutomatedAugust 1985
ConstructionTimber with iron cladding
Height7.2 mts to balcony
CharacterFixed 120 sec, flashing 6 sec
Intensity120,000 cd
Light SourceVaporised kerosene
Power Source

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


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.


No tours are available.


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


  • 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