South Channel Pile Light

After 125 years, the South Channel Pile Light has been restored and relocated to a safer location to assure its preservation as a piece of our maritime history.

History

This remnant of 19th century channel markers that lead Melbourne bound ships through the South Channel was established in 1874. It was the front light, with the Eastern Light at McCrae the rear light.

It is a single story octagonal structure, about 9 metres across and standing on timber piles in the water. The structure is the only one of its kind still intact in Australia.

The structure included a living room with a fireplace and chimney, a bedroom with 4 bunks and an inspector’s office, which was also used as a store room. All this in a space only six metres in diameter. A hole in the floor served as a toilet.

Rainwater was collected from the roof and stored in tanks. Keepers would wait for a passenger ferry to pass each morning to receive the newspaper, which was tossed to them from the deck.

The light powered by a kerosene lantern that had to be kept alight by the keepers until the introduction of bottled acetylene gas in 1925.

The light operated for 111 years until 1985 when it was turned off for a trial period. It was never turned back on.

The structure quickly deteriorated due to lack of maintenance and vandalism. The wood was rotting, the steel was rusting and the piles were becoming unsound. The light was overrun with birds nesting inside and out.

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Melbourne Leading Light Rear

Melbourne Leading Light Rear

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

Melbourne Leading Light Rear

Direction

Melbourne Leading Light Front

Melbourne Leading Light Front

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

Melbourne Leading Light Front

Direction

Williamstown Timeball

Williamstown Timeball

Williamstown Timeball
Timeball Tower, Williamstown VIC 3016, Australia

Williamstown Timeball

Direction

Point Gellibrand Pile Light

Point Gellibrand Pile Light

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

Point Gellibrand Pile Light

Direction

West Channel Pile Light

West Channel Pile Light

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

West Channel Pile Light

Direction

South Channel Pile Light

South Channel Pile Light

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

South Channel Pile Light

Direction

Eastern (McCrae)

Eastern (McCrae)

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

Eastern (McCrae)

Direction

Cape Schanck

Cape Schanck

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

Cape Schanck

Direction

Shortland Bluff (Black)

Shortland Bluff (Black)

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

Shortland Bluff (Black)

Direction

Queenscliff (Low) White

Queenscliff (Low) White

Queenscliff (Low) White
133 Hesse St, Queenscliff VIC 3225, Australia

Queenscliff (Low) White

Direction

Port Phillip Lights

Port Phillip Lights

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

Port Phillip Lights

Direction

Point Lonsdale

Point Lonsdale

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

Point Lonsdale

Direction

continued from above …

Restoration & Relocation

In 1998, Parks Victoria, who was then responsible for the historic pile light, lifted the light structure off its original piles. It was transported to Melbourne where it was faithfully restored then returned to a new location on new piles adjacent to the Rye Channel and three kilometres away from its original location.

There is no operating light in the restored structure, although it is still used as a day mark by small boats.

Between 1905 and 1913 the lighthouse keeper painted murals of sailing ships on the interior walls of the house.

These were removed in 1979 and are now on display in the Polly Woodside Melbourne Maritime Museum.

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 Exhibited
Permanent Tower
CurrentTower
Architect
Status
Location
Original Optic
Current Optic
Automated
Demanned
Construction
Height
Elevation
Range
Character
Intensity
Light Source
Power Source
Operator
Custodian
Notes

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

Access

The tower is not open to the public.

Tours

No tours are available.

Associated Lighthouse

West Channel Pile Light  Internal Link

Point Gellibrand Pile Light  Internal Link