Cape Borda Lighthouse
The Cape Borda Lighthouse on Kangaroo Island was isolated and the scene of tragedy in its early years. It is the only square stone lighthouse in South Australia.
The lighthouse was built in 1858, and is the third oldest remaining in South Australia. It is also the only square stone lighthouse in South Australia.
It was built to guide sailing ships arriving in to South Australia off the Roaring Forty trade-winds and into the Investigator Straits and on to Adelaide.
In the early days supplies had to landed by boat and hauled up long steel railway at nearby Harvey’s Return.
The small cannon was put in place to be fired during fog to signal ships of danger before the introduction of radio. It was also believed that due to the Russian scare the placement of the cannon was symbolic of a small military presence, and therefore seen as a deterrence to invasion from possible enemy ships! Indeed one of the reasons for building the lightstation in that position was to be a lookout for Russian ships.
In late 1999, NPWSA restored the cannon and test-fired it at Midnight 2000 as part of a global exercise of time-signals at maritime locations around the world. The cannon was found to be Y2K compliant and has since fired every day at the traditional hour of 1pm
It is only one three lighthouses in Australia to retain a Deville lantern room.
The light was converted to automatic operation in 1989.
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Visiting the small cemetery, at Harvey’s Return, where there are 16 headstones, is a solemn reminder of the hardship endured by early lighthouse keepers and their families. One keeper died a slow agonising death after having his eye pierced in a fall. Children died of diseases with no access to medical treatment. One child was found at the bottom of a steep cliff, killed in the fall. Other children simply disappeared in this rugged scrubby terrain.
|Family members buried at Cape Borda (Harveys Return)|
|WOODWARD||Capt. G||1858||1st Head keeper (infection of eye injury)|
|JOHNSON||Unknown||1862||Daughter of Lightkeeper Charles and Mary Johnson (aged 3 weeks)|
|WELLS||Unknown||1873||Son of Lightkeeper, Thomas Wells (stillborn)|
|MAIN||William||1875||Son of Headkeeper Capt. George Main (scarlet fever, aged 7 1/2 yrs)|
|MAIN||Arthur||1877||Son of Headkeeper Capt. George Main (fell off cliffs, aged 3 yrs 4 mths)|
|JENNESON||Lilly||1884||(aged 9 years)|
|WILLS||Augusta||1884||Wife of Lightkeeper Wills (childbirth)|
|KOPP||Irene||1895||Daughter of Jane Elizabeth Kopp|
|KOPP||Jane Elizabeth||1903||Wife of Lightkeeper|
Source: Captain Dan Grieve, NPWS – SA
We need your help in compiling a list of keepers for this lighthouse. If you have any information then send it to email@example.com.
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.
|Location||Latitude: 35° 45.1680' S
Longitude: 136° 35.6010' E
|Current Optic||Chance Bros. 250mm f.r. Quad flashing catadioptric.|
|Construction||White square stone tower and lantern
Deville, 100'' diameter (flat panels)
|Range||Nominal: 21 nm Geographical: 30 nm|
|Character||Fl. W. (4) in 20 s|
|Light Source||LED Array Sealite|
|Power Source||240V AC|
As at Nov 2016
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.
Tours are available – conducted by National Parks
Accommodation is available in the original keepers cottages
There is a small museum on site.
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