Historical Photographic Collections
MV Cape Don
Admiralty Reference # 1790
1904 - present
to the Public
First lit 21/04/1904
Celebrating a Centenary 18/04/2004
Even though the building
of the lighthouse was completed in 1903, it was not lit until the Lighthouse
Keepers' Cottages were completed in April of 1904. The eighth lighthouse
built in the state and only the third landfall light at a time when there
was a rush of lighthouses being built around the coast of Australia.
Celebrating a Century of Service
Separated by 100 years,
children still find Lighthouse's fascinating.
Alexandra had made a Birthday
card for the Lighthouse's 100th Btirthday and brought it out to give to
the custodian of the light Leon Chidlow.
on the Centenary Celebrations and Details
|WA Engineer in Chief CSR
First Lit :
|Short, circular, conical
masonary tower. Originally unpainted
|25 n miles
|Chance Bros 4.6 m lantern
floating in a bath of mercury, originally driven by clockwork mechanism.
1904 Whale oil
1924 Vapourised Kerosene
|2 flashes every 10 seconds
with intervals every 2.5 seconds and 7.5 seconds
| 33 32S
Open to the
|Yes, Tours are conducted
daily - 9.30 to 4.30; School hols & Long w/ends 9.30 to 5.00 (last
entry 1/2 hour befroe closing)
|The Keepers' cottages are
currently not available.
1996 saw the last Lighthouse Keeper
in Western Australia replaced by fully automatic operation at Cape Naturaliste.
|The 4.6 metre
diameter Prism Crystal lantern and a first order 920mm focal radius lens,
were made by Chance Bros. in Birmingham, England. It is now conservatively
valued at over $5 million.
Currently lit by a 120volt
1000watt tungsten halogen globe, the 12.5 tonne lens magnifies the globe
to just under 1 million candlepower which is visible for 25 nautical miles
The original light and turntable
which still floats on a bath of mercury, was turned by a clockwork mechanism,
which needed rewinding every 50 - 60 minutes at night.
Now fully automated (July
1978) the lens continues turning all day.
Hydrographic excerpt of Chart 756 - 1985
used for both the tower and the cottages, was quarried near Bunker Bay.
Prior to the building of
the Lighthouse, some 12 ships had become wrecked among the strong currents
and dangerous reefs surrounding the sharp point.
Baudin, an early 19th
century French explorer named both Cape Naturaliste and Geographe Bay after
his two ships.
Located on a 100 metre cliff,
the 19 metre high tower has become a valued tourist attraction and prime
whale watching site.
The staircase curves around
the central column in which the clockwork driven weight would have travelled.
The steps inside the
lighthouse are unique in that they are made from teak blocks dowelled together
and set end grain up for greater durability.
Internal fittings still
in prime condition.
View of the three cottages
and outbuildings from the top of the Lighthouse. The closest to the Lighthouse
is used as the custodian's residence.
Identical in shape and layout,
some changes have been made to individual cottages over time. The middle
cottage is used as a Museum and visitor centre.
celebrated the Lighthouses of Australia with a series of four stamps featuring
the historic Macquarie, Troubridge Island, Cape Bruny and Cape Naturaliste
Opposite is the first day
of issue postcard dated 12 March 2002, which was franked with a stamp from
Beacon 6472, a wheatbelt town in WA - far from the coast.
The Vlamingh Head Lighthouse
at Exmouth, WA, (photos by John Ibbotson), was also used in the promotion
of the stamp issue.
Other Maritime History
to be found at Cape Naturaliste
The original Jarman
Island light and mechanism are on show in the Museum which is housed in
the middle cottage.
In the grounds of the museum
cottage you can also see the original self contained acetylene beacon from
Great Sandy Island. The photo on the left (pre 1971) showing the light
in its original location, was taken by Ralph Meakins, a mechanical engineer
on the MV Cape Don, which travelled the coast of WA to service the lighthouses
and deliver supplies to the Keepers and their families. The MV Cape Don
is currently undergoing renovation in Newcastle with volunteer help provided
by the MV Cape Don
Cummings, Glasson & McCarthy,
on the Western Australian coast and off-shore islands Publ: 1995
Admiralty List of Lights and
Fog Signals Vol K Publ: 1999
Register of the National Database
- Cape Naturaliste Lighthouse - Database # 016693
Brochures from the Tour Guides/
Australia Post publications
of Australia Publ: 2002
also the following sites which feature Cape Naturaliste
Goegraphe Bay Tourism
Association - including information on the various walk trails around the
West Life - featuring stories of the Keepers.