Table Cape Lighthouse

The Table Cape Lighthouse is set on a sheer cliff edge surrounded by scenic farmlands.

Its beginning was marked with the tragic death of the headkeeper’s 14 month old son.

History

Table Cape area first settled and developed by the Van Dieman’s Land Company in the 1820’s.

A marine board was established for the nearby Port of Wynyard in 1868. The port had grown during the 1850′ to cope with the burgeoning timber trade.

Mr C.B.M. Fenton, a former mariner, kept a light burning in the front window of his house to guide mariners during the night.

The board established two iron beacons at the mouth of the Inglis River in 1870. These were constructed by Mr William Peart, who later became Harbour Master.

After several shipping incidents in the area, Table Cape was examined by Mr J.C. Climie, a railway engineer, for its suitability for a lighthouse.

Table Cape is a spectacular flat topped promontory with a sheer drop to the sea.

Construction began and the tower and cottages were completed and in service in 1888. The tower was constructed of brick then, painted white. It has a circular steel stairway and a steel fly-over gangway to the door which is set above the below ground level base. The keeper’s cottages were built of stone.

The design was by Huckson and Hutchinson of Hobart and built by a local builder, Mr. John Luck. The bricks came from Victoria as ballast.

Materials were brought to the site, from Wynyard 7 kilometres to the south, by bullock wagon.

continued below …

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Blinking Billy

Blinking Billy

Blinking Billy
Blinking Billy Point Reserve, 652 Sandy Bay Rd, Sandy Bay TAS 7005, Australia

Blinking Billy

Direction

John Garrow Shoal

John Garrow Shoal

John Garrow Shoal
Blinking Billy Point Reserve, 652 Sandy Bay Rd, Sandy Bay TAS 7005, Australia

John Garrow Shoal

Direction

Derwent Lighthouse Iron Pot

Derwent Lighthouse Iron Pot

Derwent Lighthouse Iron Pot
Iron Pot, Tasmania, Australia

Derwent Lighthouse Iron Pot

Direction

Tasman Island

Tasman Island

Tasman Island
Tasman Island, Tasmania, Australia

Tasman Island

Direction

Cape Bruny

Cape Bruny

Cape Bruny
Cape Bruny Lighthouse Tours, Lighthouse Rd, South Bruny TAS 7150, Australia

Cape Bruny

Direction

Maatsuyker Island

Maatsuyker Island

Maatsuyker Island
Unnamed Road, Tasmania, Australia

Maatsuyker Island

Direction

Cape Sorell

Cape Sorell

Cape Sorell
Unnamed Road, Macquarie Heads TAS 7468, Australia

Cape Sorell

Direction

Entrance Island

Entrance Island

Entrance Island
Unnamed Road, Macquarie Heads TAS 7468, Australia

Entrance Island

Direction

Bonnet Island

Bonnet Island

Bonnet Island
Macquarie Harbour,, TAS, Australia

Bonnet Island

Direction

Bluff Hill Point

Bluff Hill Point

Bluff Hill Point
Bluff Hill Rd, Marrawah TAS 7330, Australia

Bluff Hill Point

Direction

West Point

West Point

West Point
Unnamed Road, Marrawah TAS 7330, Australia

West Point

Direction

Sandy Cape

Sandy Cape

Sandy Cape
Unnamed Road, West Coast TAS 7321, Australia

Sandy Cape

Direction

Stokes Point

Stokes Point

Stokes Point
Unnamed Road, Surprise Bay TAS 7256, Australia

Stokes Point

Direction

Currie Harbour

Currie Harbour

Currie Harbour
LOT 1 Lighthouse St, Currie TAS 7256, Australia

Currie Harbour

Direction

Cape Wickham

Cape Wickham

Cape Wickham
687 Cape Wickham Rd, Wickham TAS 7256, Australia

Cape Wickham

Direction

Councillor Island

Councillor Island

Councillor Island
Councillor Island, Tasmania, Australia

Councillor Island

Direction

Highfield Point

Highfield Point

Highfield Point
Unnamed Road, Stanley TAS 7331, Australia

Highfield Point

Direction

Highfield Point Old

Highfield Point Old

Highfield Point Old
Marine Park, 14 Wharf Rd, Stanley TAS 7331, Australia

Highfield Point Old

Direction

Rocky Cape

Rocky Cape

Rocky Cape
Rocky Cape Rd, Rocky Cape TAS 7321, Australia

Rocky Cape

Direction

Table Cape

Table Cape

Table Cape
Lighthouse Rd, Table Cape TAS 7325, Australia

Table Cape

Direction

Round Hill Point

Round Hill Point

Round Hill Point
Chasm Creek Lighthouse, 1A Bass Hwy, Chasm Creek TAS 7321, Australia

Round Hill Point

Direction

Mersey Bluff

Mersey Bluff

Mersey Bluff
39 Bluff Access Rd, Devonport TAS 7310, Australia

Mersey Bluff

Direction

Devonport Leading Lights

Devonport Leading Lights

Devonport Leading Lights
6 Victoria Parade, Devonport TAS 7310, Australia

Devonport Leading Lights

Direction

Devonport Leading Lights

Devonport Leading Lights

Devonport Leading Lights
26 Best St, Devonport TAS 7310, Australia

Devonport Leading Lights

Direction

Low Head

Low Head

Low Head
496 Low Head Rd, Low Head TAS 7253, Australia

Low Head

Direction

Middle Channel (Tamar Rear Leading Light)

Middle Channel (Tamar Rear Leading Light)

Middle Channel (Tamar Rear Leading Light)
180 Low Head Rd, Low Head TAS 7253, Australia

Middle Channel (Tamar Rear Leading Light)

Direction

Sheoak Point (Tamar Front Leading Light)

Sheoak Point (Tamar Front Leading Light)

Sheoak Point (Tamar Front Leading Light)
199 Low Head Rd, Low Head TAS 7253, Australia

Sheoak Point (Tamar Front Leading Light)

Direction

Swan Island

Swan Island

Swan Island
Unnamed Road, Tasmania, Australia

Swan Island

Direction

Goose Island

Goose Island

Goose Island
Flinders, TAS, Australia

Goose Island

Direction

Eddystone Point

Eddystone Point

Eddystone Point
Eddystone Light Station, 2986 Eddystone Point Rd, Eddystone TAS 7264, Australia

Eddystone Point

Direction

Deal Island

Deal Island

Deal Island
Unnamed Road, Tasmania 7255, Australia

Deal Island

Direction

Cape Tourville

Cape Tourville

Cape Tourville
Cape Tourville Rd, Coles Bay TAS 7215, Australia

Cape Tourville

Direction

Cape Forestier (Lemon Rock)

Cape Forestier (Lemon Rock)

Cape Forestier (Lemon Rock)
Freycinet National Park, Coles Bay Rd, Coles Bay TAS 7215, Australia

Cape Forestier (Lemon Rock)

Direction

Point Home

Point Home

Point Home
Unnamed Road, Triabunna TAS 7190, Australia

Point Home

Direction

continued from above …

Less than three weeks after the opening of the light the headkeeper’s son, Bertie died at the age of 14 months.

The cause is not known, but it is the cause of a sad entry in the lighthouse log book.

“Wind south. A strong breeze and misty weather. Employed in the lighthouse and cleaning up about station. At 5.10 p.m.

Bertie Jackson, son of the head lightkeeper, departed this life aged one year and two months.”

The undertaker struggled up from Wynyard on horse back with the small casket and after consultation with the clergy recommended that Bertie be buried near the lighthouse were his family could tend to his grave.

He was placed in a grave marked by a fuchsia bush. The bush has long since disappeared, but locals who knew the place have recently constructed a memorial.

The light was originally powered by an oil burner and had to be manually tendered.

Bertram Jackson (the younger), son of first keeper Robert Jackson remembers those days:

“The lamp had to be lit every day, as soon as the sun dipped into the sea, and it had to be kept alight all the time until the sun rose again.

There were always three of them as I remember it, and they each took a turn to watch the light.

They used a special oil called mineral colza, which used to be carted up in big drums by bullock wagon.

It was a very clear, white light, and better than kerosene because it caused less soot.”
He went on to state that by day, the keepers used to pull heavy curtains round the light house windows, to protect the reflecting lenses from damage by the sun.

The light was converted to vapourised kerosene in around 1913. At this time the manning was reduced from three to two keepers.

Converted to automatic acetylene operation in 1920, the lightkeepers were withdrawn in 1923.

The cottages were demolished in 1926 due to rapid deterioration.

In 1979 major works were undertaken. The lantern room was rebuilt and mains electricity was connected with an electric lamp and standby battery bank being installed.

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 Exhibited1888
Permanent Tower
CurrentTower
Architect
StatusActive
LocationLat: 40° 56.7957' S Long: 145° 43.7439' E
Original Optic
Current OpticChance Bros. 700mm focal radius Catadioptric drum with catadioptric centred reinforcing mirrors.
Automated
Demanned
ConstructionWhite round masonry tower with Chance Bros. 2nd Order lantern
Height25 m
Elevation180 m
RangeNominal: White: 16 nm Red: 13 nm
Geographical: 32 nm
CharacterFl. WR (2) in 10 secs
IntensityWhite: 26,500 cd Red: 5557 cd
Light Source12V 100W C8 Halogen LP PR30s
Power Source12V
OperatorAMSA
NotesMains Conversion 1979
As at April 2015

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

Access

The lighthouse reserve is open to the public. There is a good viewing area about a kilometre to the east.

From Wynyard follow the signs north towards the Cape along windy narrow sealed country lanes. The distance is 7 kilometres.

Tours

Tours are closed for the winter but should be available in September.
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Accommodation

No lighthouse accommodation is available