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HISTORY & INFORMATION

The Black Lighthouse at Queenscliff (1862) is one of four leading lights at Queenscliff which are used by ship's masters and pilots to align their vessels with the appropriate channels to make a safe passage through the rip and into Port Phillip Bay. The Black Lighthouse is one of only three of this colour in the world, and it is the only black lighthouse in the Southern Hemisphere.

The Black Lighthouse is the high light, and when aligned with the the low light - the White Lighthouse (1862) - a vessel is on a line 30m to the east of the centre line of the deepest channel (14.6m) running through the rip. 

The Black Lighthouse was constructed of basalt brought to Queenscliff from the banks of the Yarra River, and stands within the walls of Fort Queenscliff.

The lighthouse was built to replace an earlier sandstone 1843 lighthouse that was under-powered and the tower had structurally deteriorated. The construction was completed in August 1863. The new light was built in conjunction with the White (Low) Lighthouse and therefore has many similarities in design. The lamps and housings were manufactured by Chance Brothers in England. The entrance was 3.5 metres above ground level reflecting the English lighthouses that where built on rocks at sea level.  The entrance was later rebuilt at ground level.

The light was converted to gas in 1890 and later converted to electricity in 1924. It is believe that the first public telephone service in Victoria was installed in this lighthouse. The light, now automated, is unmanned.

Location: 38 16' S  144 39' E
Nearest Town: Queenscliff
Operator: Victorian Channels Authority
Built: 1862
Open to public: Grounds only by tour
Access: Road
Accommodation: No
Character: Continuous white light
Light source: 250 watt, 120 volt globes
Power source: Mains power with battery backup
Structure: Black basalt tower
Height: 25 metres
Elevation: 40 metres
Range: 26 kilometres

Sources:
* Rod Cairns' Leading Lights
* Lighthouses of Australia Inc
* Lighthouses: Australia


PHOTOGRAPHS

Photographed by K. Eggleston, 28 November 1999 Kristie Eggleston


MAP & ACCESS DETAILS


Refer to regional map at Wilmap for greater detail.
Access

The Black Lighthouse is located within the grounds of Fort Queenscliff, which is currently used by the Army as a training facility, so access is strictly by guided tour only.

Guided tours of the Fort are conducted on weekends at regular times in the afternoons, and on occasions during weekdays, and admission is charged.


LINKS

White Lighthouse, Queenscliff Rod Cairns' Leading Lights

Point Lonsdale Lighthouse Bellarine Historical Society
Lighthouses of Australia Inc Great Ocean Road Highlights
Garry Searle's Lighthouses: Australia

Page last updated:  28 December 2003

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















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