Cape Forestier (Lemon Rock) Lighthouse
One of the very first lights built by the fledgling Commonwealth Lighthouse Service after it came into being in 1915 was erected in Tasmania on precipitous Lemon Rock, off Cape Forestier. The Lemon Rock light was one of only a few lights which were just a lantern, without the usual lighthouse tower.
In a letter to the Consolidated Light Board of Tasmania in April 1907, Captain J.L.B. Hunter, Master of the S.S. Durham, said that there were not sufficient lights on the East Coast of Tasmania. In his opinion, he said, “there should be a light in the vicinity of Cape Forestier, as it would be a great boon to vessels coming from Tasmania.” In fact, a light at this location had been one of the recommendations by Commander C.R.W. Brewis, R.N., in his Preliminary Report on the Lighting of the Coast of Tasmania and the Islands in Bass Strait to the Commonwealth Government in April 1912. At that time, he said that the ratio of lights per coastal mileage was one light to each 62.5 miles, whereas he recommended this be increased to one light for each 47.6 miles.
It was not until May 1914 that provision was made for lighthouse works for the financial year 1914-15. Lemon Rock, the site of the light at Cape Forestier, is a very small granite islet, about 80 metres high, connected to Cape Forestier by rocks which are submerged at high tide. Although never surveyed, the rock is about 1 acre in size, steep-sided and roughly dome-shaped. Vegetation is sparse, being confined to low costal scrub on the more sheltered ledges.
There was a lot of confusion over the light’s actual name. Located on top of Lemon Rock, the light was officially known as the Cape Forestier light but was known, locally, as ‘The Lemons’ while the Cape is variously spelt Forestier, Forester or Forrestier.
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Access to the rock was extremely weather dependent with a ladder up the near vertical face of the rock. Supplies such as acetylene gas cylinders were hauled to the top by a flying-fox system.
When first lit on Friday 5 October, 1917, the Group Flashing white light with a Red sector was powered by a bank of 28 acetylene gas cylinders, the white light visible for 20 miles and red, 10 miles.
Because of the extreme difficulty of access, the light was discontinued in May 1971. The Lemon Rock lantern, manufactured by Chance Brothers of Birmingham, England was dismantled and put in storage at the Tasmanian Maritime Museum in 2012 but was returned to AMSA the same year. It is now with the Queensland Maritime Museum in Brisbane which hopes to eventually put it on display.
A replacement lighthouse was built at Cape Tourville, just north of Lemon Rock.
This light was never manned.
|First Exhibited||5 October 1917|
|Permanent Tower||7'1" dia. Chance Bros lantern, no tower|
|Status||No longer in situ|
|Location||Lat. 42° 11'S, Long. 148° 230'E|
|Original Optic||400 mm Focal Radius AGA lens|
|Automated||Built as an automated light|
|Range||W. Nom: 13 NM Geo: 23 NM|
|Character||Grp Fl. (4) W.R. every 20 secs|
|Intensity||W. 4500 candela R. 1100 candela|
|Power Source||Acetylene 23 A50 plus 26 spare changed annually|
|Current when discontinued||3 May 1971|
NB: Information is historical data and is not for navigational purposes.