Shortland Bluff (Queenscliff Black) Lighthouse

Queenscliff’s famous Black Lighthouse is one of only a handful in the world that are unpainted black stone. It is the only black lighthouse in the Southern Hemisphere.

Also know as the High Lighthouse it is located inside the historic Fort Queenscliff guarding the entrance to Port Phillip Bay


The lighthouse was built to replace an earlier sandstone 1843 lighthouse that was under powered and the tower had structurally deteriorated.

The new light was built in 1862 in conjunction with the White (Low) Lighthouse and therefore had many similarities in design.

The lantern and optic were manufactured by Chance Brothers in England.

The entrance was 3.5 metres above ground level reflecting the English lighthouses that where built on rocks at sea level. The entrance was later rebuilt at ground level.

There are two greatly disputed stories of the origins of the bluestone used to build the lighthouse.

One version claims that the stone came from Scotland already cut and dressed as ship’s ballast.

The other version which is considered to be the official one is that the stone was quarried in Melbourne and brought by barge to Queenscliff. Proponents of this theory claim that the barging in of the stone is what lead to the misconception over the origin of the stone.

Fort Queenscliff was built around the light after fears that ships carrying gold from the gold rush may be attacked by privateers.

The light was converted to gas in 1890 and later converted to electricity in 1924.

It is believed that the first public telephone service in Victoria was installed in this lighthouse.

The light, now automated, is unmanned.

© All images are copyright of their respective photographers and are not to be used without permission.

Title Address Description
Melbourne Leading Light Rear
66 Beacon Vista, Port Melbourne VIC 3207, Australia

Melbourne Leading Light Rear

Melbourne Leading Light Front
Bay Trail, Port Melbourne VIC 3207, Australia

Melbourne Leading Light Front

Williamstown Timeball
Timeball Tower, Williamstown VIC 3016, Australia

Williamstown Timeball

Point Gellibrand Pile Light
31 Battery Rd, Williamstown VIC 3016, Australia

Point Gellibrand Pile Light

West Channel Pile Light
75 Bluff Rd, St Leonards VIC 3223, Australia

West Channel Pile Light

South Channel Pile Light
2591 Point Nepean Rd, Rye VIC 3941, Australia

South Channel Pile Light

Eastern (McCrae)
658 Point Nepean Rd, McCrae VIC 3938, Australia

Eastern (McCrae)

Cape Schanck
Cape Schanck Access Rd, Cape Schanck VIC 3939, Australia

Cape Schanck

Shortland Bluff (Black)
66 Gellibrand St, Queenscliff VIC 3225, Australia

Shortland Bluff (Black)

Queenscliff (Low) White
66 Gellibrand St, Queenscliff VIC 3225, Australia

Queenscliff (Low) White

Port Phillip Lights
133 Hesse St, Queenscliff VIC 3225, Australia

Port Phillip Lights

Point Lonsdale
9-13 Point Lonsdale Rd, Point Lonsdale VIC 3225, Australia

Point Lonsdale


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 Exhibited
Permanent Tower
LocationLat 38°16'17.78"S Long 144°39'43.03"E
Original Optic
Current OpticChance Bros fixed
Light SourceSealite SL-324 LED array
Power SourceMains supply with battery back up
OperatorPort of Melbourne
CustodianPort of Melbourne

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


The tower is not open to the public.

Site Access

Fort Queenscliff grounds only. Phone (03) 5258 1488 to confirm time and for bookings


No tours of the lighthouse are available.


Queenscliff Maritime Museum External link  has many Lighthouse artifacts

Associated Lighthouse

Point Lonsdale  Internal Link

Queenscliff Low (White)  Internal Link

Port Phillip Heads   Internal Link