Lighthouses on the Victorian Coast

Victoria is the smallest and most southern state on the mainland of Australia, but it probably is the site for the greatest number of maritime disasters around the entire coast of our nation. Particularly along the rugged coastline of western Victoria which stretches from Port Phillip Heads westwards to the South Australian border, to be known as the Shipwreck Coast.

A number of Lighthouses have been built on both sides of Port Phillip Bay which sits almost in the centre of the total coast line that delineates this state.

The narrow entrance to Port Phillip Bay is guarded by the Heads, on one side is Port Lonsdale and on the other Queenscliff, the small opening through which the tide may race both inwards and outwards to and from the Bay is called the Rip. In the early days of this Colony, when travel mainly from Europe was by means of sail, the welcome beam of a Lighthouse was not available, and subsequently many ships did not reach port, but became stranded on rocks, or the rugged cliffs that abound along this dangerous Victorian Coast.

This small work seeks to both list and illustrate the Lighthouses that were built along the coastline of Victoria in an endeavour to bring the sailor, his ship, passengers, and cargo safely into port at the end of their long journey.

Victorian Lighthouses from West to East.
We will start our list from the Western end of the Victorian coastline commencing with:

Cape Nelson Light.
This lighthouse, white with a red tower, was first lit in 1884, it has a height of 32 metres, and a range of 21 nautical miles.

It shows a white light, group flashing 4 every 20 seconds.



Cape Nelson Lighthouse


Whaler's Bluff Lighthouse at Portland.
this lighthouse was established at Battery Point in 1859, but was dismantled stone by stone to be rebuilt at Whaler's Bluff in 1889, so that gun emplacements might be built on its old site. This light is white with a red tower, 41 metres high and a range of 15 nautical miles.

It shows a group flashing white and red every 10 seconds.

 Whaler's Bluff Lighthouse

Griffith Island Lighthouse at Port Fairey.
Constructed from bluestone in 1859 the lighthouse is 12.5 metres high with a range of 12 nautical miles.

The light is group flashing white twice every 10 seconds.


Griffith Island Light


Lady Bay Upper Lighthouse atop Flagstaff Hill at Warrnambool.
Firstly located on Middle Island in 1859, but was moved stone by stone over 1871-72 to the top of Flagstaff Hill. This white lighthouse has a red top, is 33 metres high with a range of 6 nautical miles.

The light flashes for 1 second every 5 seconds.


Lady Bay Upper Light


Lady Bay Lower Lighthouse at Warrnambool.
The Beach Lighthouse was moved to the top of the Lower Obelisk to become known as Lady Bay Lower Light, when the Upper Lady Bay light was moved in 1871-72. To steer a course into Lady Bay it is necessary to line up both the Lower and Upper Lady Bay lighthouses. This white rectangular lighthouse has a square red top, its height is 27 metres and its range 5 nautical miles.

It shows a fixed light with red and green sectors.


Lady Bay Lower Light


Cape Otway Lighthouse.
Until it was taken out of commission in 1994, this lighthouse was the longest operational one on the coast of the Australian mainland. A low powered solar light replaced it, situated in front of the original light house tower. The light first operated in August of 1848. The light stands at 20 metres although its elevation is a commanding 91 metres, and its range was 26 nautical miles.

The light showed a triple flash every 18 seconds.

 Cape Otway Lighthouse

The Split Point Lighthouse at Airey's Inlet.
Originally rejoicing in the name of Eagles Nest light, it was built in 1891. It stands at 34 metres and has a range of 20 nautical miles for its white light and 16 nautical miles for the red light.

The light has a group flash white/red 4 every 20 seconds.


Split Point Lighthouse


White Lighthouse at Queenscliff.
The lower of the two lights at Queencliff was Built out of bluestone in 1862, it stands at 22.2 metres, and exhibits a continuous white and red light. To enter the Rip safely, it is necessary to enter in the centre of the channel at Port Phillip Heads by lining up the lower White light house with the upper Black Lighthouse.

The light exhibits a continuous white and red light.


White Lighthouse at Queenscliff


The Upper Black Lighthouse at Fort Queenscliff.

Black Lighthouses.
Reportedly there are but 3 lighthouses world wide painted black, 2 in the Northern hemisphere, and this one at Queenscliff the only black lighthouse south of the equator.

Ballycotton Lighthouse County Cork Ireland.
Originally a natural stone colour, it was built in 1851, but in 1892 a broad black band was painted around the middle of the tower. In 1902, the total tower was then painted black to give it a uniqueness only found in two other lighthouses around the world. United States Lighthouses with black painting added. There are any number of lighthouses around the US coastline painted black and white, some look quite exotic with black candy stripes, some have black diamonds. Out of the 5 major lights on the North Carolina coast, 4 of them are a combination of black and white.

Bolivar Point Light in Galveston Bay Texas.
Built in 1872, and deactivated in 1933. It is a conical brick tower sheathed in iron plates. (Thanks to Tim Harris for helping find this one.)


Ballycotton Light County Cork Ireland

One of three Black Light Houses world wide, Ballycotton Light County Cork Ireland

Bolivar Point Light in Galveston Bay Texas one of 3 black lighthouses

Bolivar Point Light in Galveston Bay Texas


Fort Queenscliff Black Lighthouse.
This lighthouse was constructed in 1843, and stands 39.6 metres high, with an elevation of 110 metres.

The light shows a continuous white light.


Black Lighthouse Fort Queenscliff


Point Lonsdale Light.
This is the third operating lighthouse within Port Phillip Bay, built in 1902, its height 21.31 metres, with a range of 12 nautical miles.

It has a horizontal beam flashing twice every 15 seconds.


Point Lonsdale Light


Cape Schanck Lighthouse.
Built in 1859, at a height of 21 metres, it throws its light 21 nautical miles.

Shows a fixed white sector, with a flashing red light in the danger arc.


Cape Schanck Lighthouse


Cape Liptrap Lighthouse.
Established in 1913, at a height of 9.25 metres, and a range of 18 nautical miles.

Its light flashes three times every 15 seconds.


Cape Liptrap lighthouse


Wilson's Promontory Lighthouse.
It was 1889 when this lighthouse first saw service, it stands on the promontory 19 metres high, and its range is 18 nautical miles.

The light has a .2 second flash every 7.5 seconds.


Wilson's Promontory Lighthouse


Cliffy Island Lighthouse.
Local granite was used to build this lighthouse back in 1884, it is but 12 metres high with a range of 19 nautical miles.

When raising this light you are looking for a flash every 5 seconds.


Cliffy Island Lighthouse


Gabo Lighthouse.
Was at first a wooden structure put together in 1853, then red granite quarried on the spot was used to built the lighthouse in 1862. The light stands at 46.9 metres with a range of 16 nautical miles.

It is group flashing every 20 seconds.


Gabo Lighthouse


Point Hicks Lighthouse.
Built in 1890, it is a concrete tower, and has a cast iron staircase internally with 162 steps. The lighthouse is some 37 metres high, and is now lit by solar power. From 1843-1970, this point was called Cape Everard , but at the latter date it reverted once more to the name of Point Hicks, it was here that in 1770, Captain James Cook made his first landfall on the eastern coast of Australia.


Point Hicks Lighthouse



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