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Heritage lighthouse survey

The Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA) sought advice on the condition and maintenance requirements of 58 light­houses on the Commonwealth Heritage List as part of a service and maintenance contract with Australian Maritime Systems Ltd (AMS). AMS engaged me to inspect the lighthouses and prepare reports, in collaboration with AMS staff.

The oldest lighthouse in the survey was Swan Island in Tasmania (built 1845) and the youngest was the 1984 tower at Guilderton, WA. They are spread around Australia​—​north to Booby Island, east to Cape Byron, south to Tasman Island, west to Cape In­scrip­tion. They are all marked on this Google map.

Inside the enormous rotating lens assembly at Eddystone Point Lighthouse, Tasmania. This lens was built in 1909 in England by Chance Brothers & Co for the Cape Du Couedic lighthouse on Kangaroo Island, and moved to Eddystone Point in 1961. It is one of six 1st order rotating lenses on mercury float pedestals in the survey.

The lighthouses included a variety of structural types​—​brick, stone and concrete masonry towers, cast and wrought iron structures, and composite timber and iron towers.

Some of the conservation issues were challenging, because of the age and significance of the structures, and their constant ex­po­sure to wind, water, and salt. As a group they were impressive in the quality of their initial design and construction. Most of them demonstrated a continuity of maintenance and adaptation to accommodate changes in the technology of navigation aids.

Deterioration of the reinforced concrete tower of Cape Don Lighthouse in the Northern Territory. The AMSA lighthouses were generally in sound condition​—​this is one of the few instances where I found severe problems. Work is under way to make the necessary repairs.

I communicated the results of the survey in a set of electronic hypertext reports designed for on-screen reading and integration with the maintenance management software used by AMSA and AMS. There was a report on each of the 58 sites, plus a summary report and a glossary. The reports were delivered as Acrobat (pdf) documents with high resolution digital images.

A selection of pages from the reports. Altogether there were 1179 pages and 2750 images.

project details

Client: Australian Maritime Systems

Collaborators: Daniel Bocking, Graeme Harrington, Glen Pitt, Peter Satchell

filed under  Industrial site + Survey

Project types
Award winning
Government building
Industrial site
Timber building

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