Woodman Point Lighthouse
The Woodman Point Lighthouse is also known as the Gage Roads Leading Light. It was first lit on 23 August 1902 and has guided shipping into Fremantle Harbour ever since.
Before Fremantle Harbour opened in 1897, the port of Fremantle had a reputation for adverse weather conditions, shallow water and difficulties with landing cargo. As a result, many ships, in particular mail steamers, called at Albany in the state’s south-west instead of Fremantle.
The Western Australian government wanted mail steamers, particularly British mail steamers, to call at Fremantle because it was close to the seat of government in Perth. Some steamer captains who had called at the new harbour noted the need for a leading light. It was not until the P&O company sent Capt. Angus to inspect the new harbour and report on its suitability that the idea was taken seriously.
After some debate about the site and nature of the leading light, it was decided that a tower would be built on the Fish Rocks off Catherine Point, south of Fremantle. Once work on the foundations began, it became clear that the site was unsuitable and the leading light was built on the mainland on a hill inland from Woodman Point instead.
A 9.7m tower made of locally quarried limestone was topped by a Chance Bros first order lantern. Two keepers cottages, also of local limestone, were built below the hill. The cottages are now private residences.
On 19 December 1901 a preliminary Notice to Mariners was issued:
‘…a Dioptric, Fixed, Occulting Light of the 1st Order is in course of erection near Woodman Point, Cockburn Sound…‘Three rays will be shown—the centre one white, with a coloured ray on either side, one green, and the other red.’
© All images are copyright of their respective photographers and are not to be used without permission.
|Leeuwin Rd, Augusta WA 6290, Australia||Go to Cape Leeuwin|
|Unnamed Road, Nanarup WA 6330, Australia||Go to Breaksea Island|
|Unnamed Road, Torndirrup WA 6330, Australia||Go to Cave Point|
|The Gap Rd, Torndirrup WA 6330, Australia||Go to Eclipse Island|
|Bunker Bay Walk Trail, Naturaliste WA 6281, Australia||Go to Cape Naturaliste|
|1 Bennett Way, Bunbury WA 6230, Australia||Go to Casuarina Point|
|15 Captains Ln, Fremantle WA 6160, Australia||Go to Arthur Head|
|1 Fleet St, Fremantle WA 6160, Australia||Go to South Mole|
|N Mole Dr, North Fremantle WA 6159, Australia||North Mole|
|597 Cockburn Rd, Munster WA 6166, Australia||Go to Woodman Point|
|Wadjemup Rd, Rottnest Island WA 6161, Australia||Go to Wadjemup (Rottnest)|
|Lancier St, Rottnest Island WA 6161, Australia||Go to Bathurst Point|
|5 Tank Road, Guilderton WA 6041, Australia||Go to Guilderton|
|Escape Island, Western Australia, Australia||Go to Escape Island|
|Houtman Abrolhos WA 6530, Australia||Go to Pelsaert Island|
|481-485 Marine Terrace, West End WA 6530, Australia||Go to Point Moore|
|118A Kempton St, Bluff Point WA 6530, Australia||Go to Bluff Point|
|Unnamed Road, Dirk Hartog Island WA 6537, Australia||Go to Cape Inscription|
|13 Annear Pl, Babbage Island WA 6701, Australia||Go to Babbage Island|
|Unnamed Road, Macleod WA 6701, Australia||Go to Point Quobba|
|Cardabia-Ningaloo Rd, Ningaloo WA 6701, Australia||Go to Point Cloates|
|Yardie Creek Rd, North West Cape WA 6707, Australia||Got to Vlaming Head|
|Reader Head Rd, Cossack WA 6720, Australia||Go to Jarman Island|
|Lurujarri Walk, Minyirr WA 6725, Australia||Go to Gantheaume Point|
|Cape Bossut, Lagrange WA 6725, Australia||Go to Cape Bossut|
|Broome-Cape Leveque Rd, Dampier Peninsula WA 6725, Australia||Go to Cape Leveque|
|Caffarelli Island, Western Australia, Australia||Go to Caffarelli Island|
The lighthouse was controversial. There had been spirited debate, mostly divided along political lines, about whether it was necessary. The Minister for Public Works, Cornthwaite Rason, performed the official lighting of the lamp. In his speech he made the extraordinary statement that he had the honour of opening the lighthouse, but was not sure himself that it was needed.
The lighting of Woodman Point made the Arthur Head lighthouse redundant and it was discontinued. There had been a lighthouse on Arthur Head since 1851.
Woodman Point was manned by one keeper and one assistant.
The lamp was powered by kerosene. It was converted to electric operation and demanned in 1955. At around this time, an additional light covering the Woodman Channel to the south-west was exhibited from the lantern.
A steep dirt track winds up the hill behind the lightkeepers cottages to the lighthouse. It is accessible on foot.
The lighthouse is surrounded by a tall fence with barbed wire. It is a fine example of stone lighthouse construction and is worth a visit.
William Thomas Efford, Lightkeeper, Aug 1902 to 1906. John Joseph Lyons, Assistant keeper, June 1902 to 1910. Herbert Smith, Lightkeeper, 1 Mar 1906 to July 1910. Arthur Dray, Assistant keeper, 16 June 1910 to 1918. David Anderson Mitchinson, Lightkeeper, 16 July 1910 to Feb 1925. Reginald Yaldwyn, Assistant keeper, 1 July 1919 to 1925. Carl Johan Hansen, Lightkeeper, 1 July 1925 – Oct 1938. Ernest Dicks, Asst keeper from 1/4/26 to 10/38, became lightkeeper when Hansen retired, 1 April 1926 to 6 May 1944. Albert Ernest Leslie Livesey, Assistant keeper, 31 March 1944 to demanning in July 1955. Laurence Wallace McBride, Asst lightkeeper from 22/4/38 to 31/3/44, became lightkeeper when Dicks retired. 22 April 1938 to demanning in July 1955.
Relief keepers between 1932 and 1939 covering annual leave: Arthur Dray (most frequent), William Laurence Forsyth and JP Maguire (Woodman Point Lighthouse Journal – State Records Office).
This list compiled from WA Government Gazettes and Post Office Directories. 1930s verified by lighthouse journal.
|Architect||W T Douglas|
|Location||Lat. 032° 07.9' S. Long. 115° 46.2' E|
|Original Optic||Chance Bros 1st Order Fixed with sectors|
|Current Optic||WM 380 LED array|
|Automated||19 July 1955|
|Demanned||19 July 1955|
|Construction||Round stone tower, seaward side painted white|
|Range||W. 22 nm
R. 8 nm
G. 8 nm
|Character||Oc.W.R.G. period 30s lt. 20s, ec. 10s
Oc.G. period 5s lt. 3s, ec. 2s
|Light Source||WM 380 LED array|
|Power Source||Mains supply, battery backup.|
|Operator||Fremantle Port Authority|
The lighthouse grounds can be accessed by foot. The tower is fenced and is not open to the public.
Lighthouses on the Western Australian Coast and Off-Shore Islands
Author/s D.A. Cumming, M. Glasson and M. McCarthy 1995