Port Phillip Heads Lights
The entrance to Port Phillip Bay is graced by three lighthouses, the Black Lighthouse at Queenscliff, the White Lighthouse at Queenscliff and the Point Lonsdale Lighthouse.
Operation of High and Low Lights
About the original operation of the high and low lights, ET Raison in his book, “Lighthouses at Port Philip Heads”, states:
The new high light was continuous white light as was shown in the old sandstone lighthouse, but the new lower light had white and red sectors to assist mariners to determine their position. As ships approached the Heads, a white light showed below the white, upper light, and as the ship advanced, it moved into the red sector of the lower light. While the red light was visible below the white light, the ship was in the channel and could safely enter the bay.
The operation was enhanced in 1924, and again in 1974, as a result of the widening of the channel and Raison goes on to say:
… a steel structure, known as the Hume tower, was erected to the west of the lower light which indicated the western extremity of the new channel when viewed in line with the upper light. In May 1974 another steel structure, known as the Murray Tower, was erected to replace the obelisk (on the eastern side) which was demolished soon after. The lights on both towers operate in unison with the lower light.
This is demonstrated on Rod Cairns’ excellent page, Leading Lights at Port Phillip Heads.
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