Arthur Head Lighthouse
There have been two lighthouses on Arthur Head, close to the entrance of what is now Fremantle harbour.
Prior to the construction of the first Arthur Head lighthouse, signal fires were lit on the headland, which led to confusion if other fires were burning on the shore. The WA coastline is littered with treacherous reefs, rocks and shoals, and in the early part of the 19th century the coast was unlit. For a struggling colony that relied on imports, the loss of any vessel was a hardship felt by everybody.
Such was the need for a lighthouse on Arthur Head that it was paid for mainly by public subscription, with some government assistance. The lighthouse was made of stone and consisted of rectangular living quarters for the keeper with a round tower protruding from one side. The structure was nearly complete by February 1850, but the placing of the lantern, made locally by a Mr Nairn, was delayed because the contractor had not been paid. The light, with a bank of three silvered parabolic reflectors, is believed to have been finally exhibited in July of that year (sources are contradictory). Certainly, from 1 June 1851 a fixed white light was exhibited. The light was 92ft above high water level. The fuel was whale oil; later mustard oil.
As time went by a more powerful light was needed. A second lighthouse was built 10 yards north of the first and it was lit on 1 October 1879 after some delay caused by a ‘want of supplies of oil’. The second tower was also made of stone but had a lantern and third order lens supplied by Chance Bros. It was also a fixed white light and was 92ft above high water like its predecessor.
The top of the first lighthouse was removed, a conical roof of corrugated iron was added and it was used to store signal flags. It was demolished around 1902.
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continued from above …
The second lighthouse became redundant on 23 August 1902 when the Woodman Point leading light came into use. The apparatus and lantern were removed and sent to Bunbury for the new lighthouse there. The dome and glazing are still in use – see Casuarina Point.
Western Australia had always been poorly defended and by the early 1900s it was considered necessary to build a battery on Arthur Head. A lot of stone had been removed from the headland during the construction of the harbour so there was little room to build the battery. The redundant lighthouse tower was in the way and had to be removed.
There was a plan to move the tower to a park elsewhere in Fremantle where it would become a visitor attraction, ‘as from it, splendid views could be obtained of the surrounding land and seascapes’. The cost was estimated at £370. Although everyone seemed to agree that it was a good idea, neither the Fremantle Council nor the government wanted to pay for it! Discussions rumbled on for a couple of years, but eventually the matter became urgent. In May 1905 CH Carter’s tender of £120 to remove the lighthouse was accepted. The tower was broken up and used for road base.
We need your help in compiling a list of keepers for this lighthouse. If you have any information then send it to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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.
|First Exhibited||July 1850|
|Second Tower||1 October 1879|
|Location||1st . 32° 03" 13´ S 115° 45" 11´ E
2nd . 32° 03" 14´ S 115° 45" 12´ E
|Original Optic||1st. Local manufacture – Catoptric using a bank of three silvered parabolic reflectors.
2nd. Chance Bros 3rd order fixed
|Demanned||Withdrawn from service 23 August 1902, replaced by Woodman Point lighthouse and Mole lighthouses|
|Construction||1st. Stone tower with attached quarters
2nd. Round stone tower
|Height||2nd. 21.6 m|
|Elevation||1st. 28 m
2nd. 28 m
|Range||1st. 30 km
2nd. 16 nm
|Character||Fixed W. 190deg.|
The tower is not open to the public.
The lighthouse grounds are open all year round.
No tours are available.
No lighthouse accommodation is available
Detail to come.
There is no Friends Group
Detail to come.
Detail to come.
- Detail to come