I have been going to Point Lonsdale all my life, as have my parents and grandparents before me, so I consider this little coastal town my second home.
Walking up to the lighthouse has always been a regular event, and once there, we always walk around the base clockwise and touch the walls for luck.
It’s a family thing!
Anyway, in all those years, I have never set foot inside the lighthouse…until yesterday!
The Point Lonsdale Lighthouse stands on a headland, overlooking the Rip which is considered one of the ten most treacherous navigable passages in the world.
Navigating the Rip is the only way to enter and leave Port Philiip Bay, and therefore is the only route for sea vessels to get to the Port of Melbourne.
The concrete structure of the lighthouse was built in 1902, with the signal tower and observation room added around the bottom in 1950.
I recently discovered an old postcard from 1959, sent to my mother by my uncle, and it gives an insight into how little the area has changed since then…
The Queenscliff Maritime Museum runs tours on Sunday mornings so after talking about it for years, my husband and I fronted up at 10.30am to do one!
This lighthouse is unusual in that it is one of the last manned lighthouses in Australia, although many of it’s functions, such as the fog horn, are now controlled by a tower in the Port of Melbourne.
Sadly, you don’t actually get go into the area where the lighthouse keepers work during the tour…you can peep through the window to their office though…how’s that for a view!
However, you do get to climb the 121 stairs right up to the top, and walk around the light!
Hard to believe that this little bulb projects all that light with the aid of the glass prisms…it is on 24 hours a day, and there are spare bulbs so if one dies, it immediately switches to another…
We learned heaps of facts that we didn’t know about the lighthouse and surrounding area…like if you can see the red in the light (see photo above), then you are heading for trouble!
And I didn’t know that little house near the end of the pier was built to store the rockets they used to help rescue people of ships that had come to grief on the reef…they used the rockets to shoot a rope over to the ship, and then people were brought back on a bosuns chair..
I don’t know which sounds worse…stuck on a reefed ship, or being winched to shore in a flimsy chair…
Once you get to the top, it is really is an amazing view…this is looking towards Ocean Grove and Barwon Heads…
It’s an awful long way up though….
Climbing the lighthouse does involve a narrow staircase, and is not recommended if you are scared of heights or have claustrophobia, but it is definitely worth it!
I can now tick this off my bucket list and add it to my list of climbed lighthouses…I even have a certificate to prove it!
Open for tours every Sunday morning from 9:30 am until 1:00 pm (last tour)