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The Port Melbourne Lights consist of the Rear Light, located about 600 metres inland, and the Front Light, located 500 metres offshore. The Port Melbourne Lighthouses have been preserved as part of the Beacon Cove housing estate that has transformed the old industrial port area.

The concrete lights were built in 1924, as the scale and tonnage of ships coming to Melbourne increased. The channel was dredged to a navigable depth of 10 metres and the two lights were built to replace earlier navigational aids. The sea-based tower is 16 metres in height and the rear tower 26 metres. By lining up the lights in these towers, a ship could steer a direct course along the centre of the Port Melbourne Channel.

Today, the channel is marked by red & green buoys, including the Fawkner Beacon, which is located 6 nautical miles from the Port Melbourne lights. However, the rear tower is still in operation, and now flashes a white light which is visible for 20 nautical miles, and a tri-colour light which is visible for 15 nautical miles, which shows red to mark the west of the channel, green to mark the east, and white to mark the centre. Ships proceeding up Port Phillip Bay still rely on the light from the historic Rear Tower to steer a course to Melbourne. The rear light is unusual in that it has a particularly narrow arc of 1.5.

The lights have become a feature of a new boulevard within the Beacon Cove estate, as the design of the streetscape allows perfect line-of-sight of each light at either end of the street.

Location: 3750'S 144 56'E (rear)
3757'S 144 56'E (front)
Nearest Town: Melbourne
Operator: Port of Melbourne Authority
Built: 1924
Structure: Round concrete towers
Open to public: Grounds only (rear)
Access: Road
Accommodation: No
Character: White flashing every 6 seconds (rear)
Lens: -
Light source: -
Power source: Mains power (rear)
Height: 26 metres (rear), 16 metres (front)
Elevation: 24 metres (rear), 14 metres (front)
Range: 37 kilometres

* "Leading Lights - Celebrating the history of Port Phillip Bay's main shipping channel and the development of Beacon Cove" display, Port Melbourne foreshore, commissioned by the Department of Infrastructure, Office of Major Projects, City of Port Phillip and the Mirvac Group, in association with Friends of Port Melbourne Foreshore & the Port Melbourne Historical & Preservation Society, September 2000
* Lighthouses of Australia Inc
* Ibbotson, J. (2001) "Lighthouses of Australia: Images from the End of an Era", Australian Lighthouse Traders


Photographed by K. Eggleston, 13 April 2001 Kristie Eggleston

Front light

The view to the front light from the rear light

Rear light

The view from the foreshore looking back at the rear light

Photographed by K. Eggleston, 22 May 2000 Kristie Eggleston



Both the front and rear Port Melbourne lights are accessible via parkland at the rear of the housing estate, or via the public access at the foreshore.


Lighthouses of Australia Inc Grant Maizels

Garry Searle's Lighthouses Australia

Page last updated:  28 December 2003

Copyright 1999-2003 Kristie Eggleston. All rights reserved.
Email: kristie_eggleston@hotmail.com