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Cape Cleveland Lightstation Precinct, Cape Cleveland via Townsville, QLD, Australia

Photographs None
List Register of the National Estate (Non-statutory archive)
Class Historic
Legal Status Registered (27/10/1998)
Place ID 100383
Place File No 4/05/244/0012
Statement of Significance
The Cape Cleveland Lightstation Precinct, including the Lightstation, the two residences, the old and new powerhouses, remnants of the flying fox and tramway, landscape elements and all associated structures, is significant because it contributes to an understanding of the functional requirements of a lightstation operating between 1879 and 1987. The precinct is also significant for its association with Queensland's earliest phase of coastal safety expansion, which resulted from an increase in maritime trade along a coast accessible only through the dangerous waters of the Great Barrier Reef (Criterion A.4 and D.2) (Historic Themes: 3.7 Moving goods and people and 7.5 Developing administrative structures and authorities). The Lightstation is also significant as an intact representative example of a timber framed, cast iron clad lightstation (Type B), a successful solution for the building of towers on sandy sites and a design unique to Queensland (Criteria D.2). The remnants of the Observation Platform and the Old Power House are significant for their association with World War Two activities on the site. During the Pacific campaign of World War Two Townsville was one of the biggest Allied bases and the site of the Lightstation at Cape Cleveland provided a good vantage point for viewing operations (Criterion A.4) (Historic Theme: 7.5 Developing administrative structures and authorities).
Official Values Not Available
The main lightstation buildings are arranged around the summit of a steep, rocky hill. The alignment and layout of the buildings are designed to fit in with the contours of the site and, therefore, the site does not have the linear layout which is common for pre-planned lightstations. The site contains a number of features associated with the operation of the lightstation. They include: remnants of a railway, which would once have gone down the eastern cliffs, remnants of a tram track, two residences, lush gardens containing tropical vegetation to the south of the residences, a garage/workshop, an old power house, a new power house, a winch house which was used for the now removed flying fox, a helipad, a flagpole, rainwater tanks, clothes hoists and a solar power plant. Landscape elements include: paved steps, a narrow concrete path and a variety of trees. The areas immediately surrounding the buildings are cleared and grassed or paved, with natural vegetation and rocky ground surrounding the station. The Cape Cleveland Lighthouse is timber framed, galvanised iron clad and relatively short, at eleven metres high. In 1894 it was recorded as being visible from a distance of twenty nautical miles. Positioned at the extremity of the Cape it has a main light which is white with a red sector revolving every twenty seconds and of D 4th Order. The red sector marked the particularly treacherous Salamander Reef. The height of the light above sea level is approximately 64m. The two houses at Cape Cleveland appear to have been built to a general government design and are similar in design and construction. They are raised on concrete piers with fibro clad walls and hipped corrugated fibro roofs.

It is possible that the precinct contains indigenous cultural values of National Estate significance. As yet the Australian Heritage Commission has not identified, documented nor assessed these values.
Following separation from New South Wales in 1859, the dramatic expansion of Queensland's coastal trade after 1870 required that it add to its only existing lightstation, at Cape Moreton (1857) to facilitate navigation of its 5,000km of dangerous coast. The Marine Board Act was passed in 1862 and provided for the establishment of light and beacon dues along the Queensland coast. In 1865, Cleveland Bay was proclaimed as a Port of Entry and Clearance and Townsville developed into an important Australian Port. In relation to late nineteenth century developments in shipping safety along the Queensland coast, Cape Cleveland was considered to be a significant headland requiring a lightstation as soon as practicable. The development of the Cape Cleveland lightstation is very closely linked with that of Dent Island and their construction was carried out simultaneously. The Cape Cleveland lightstation appears to have been the fourteenth lighthouse to be built in Queensland. Cape Cleveland Lightstation was designed by Queensland's colonial architect of the time, A D G Stanley and its construction was started by contractor W P Clark and, following personal difficulties, completed by J Clark. W P Clark also built the Bustard Head (1868), Double Island Point (1884) and Pine Islet (1885) lightstations. The pre-fabricated cast iron construction method, adopted for the Cape Cleveland Lighthouse, proved to be useful for erecting lighthouses on sandy and/or remote sites. However, it was also relatively expensive to build them out of solid cast iron and, therefore, Queensland developed a unique method of construction. The use of an internal timber frame clad with non-structural cast or corrugated galvanised iron was developed as an alternative to the heavy and expensive use of solid cast iron which had been used at Bustard Head and Sandy Cape. This method is unique to Queensland. In 1924 a telephone line was installed providing linkage by telephone to Townsville via Clevedon. In 1926 the original lens was replaced, the power of the main light was increased to 50,000 candle power and the front lead of the light was converted to acetylene operation. During World War Two Townsville became a war zone and was one of the biggest allied bases during the Pacific campaign. The Cape Cleveland lightstation's position at the northern end of the Peninsula meant that it provided a good vantage point for viewing operations. An official observation post and a radar were set up on high ground near the lightstation. Of the buildings constructed during the War the power house remains, but is disused and in a dilapidated condition and only the foundations of the observation post and the radar hut remain. In 1953 the two residences were constructed, replacing the original residences, as well as other sheds and workshop buildings. In the 1980s a new power house was built to house the generator powering the lightstation. The Australian Maritime Safety Authority de-staffed the Cape Cleveland lightstation in December 1987.

Condition and Integrity
The integrity of the lightstation is very high. With the exception of the addition of aerials and other small equipment on the external balcony there have been no alterations. Some older elements including the Old Power House, the Observation Post, the Radar, the tramway and the flying fox are dilapidated. The complex in general is in good condition.
About 10ha, on the northern point of Cape Cleveland, about 22km east-north-east of Townsville, comprising that part of the Cape above Low Water lying north of AMG northing: 7878400mN.
Danvers Architects, Conservation Plan, Cape Cleveland Lightstation Qld.

Report Produced  Tue Sep 23 09:04:46 2014