HISTORY & INFORMATIONThe 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 1.5º.
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.
Photographed by K. Eggleston, 13 April 2001 © Kristie Eggleston
Photographed by K. Eggleston, 22 May 2000 © Kristie Eggleston
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Page last updated: 28 December 2003
Copyright © 1999-2003 Kristie Eggleston. All rights reserved.