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Lady Elliot Island Lightstation, Lady Elliott Island via Burnett Heads, QLD, Australia

Photographs None
List Commonwealth Heritage List
Class Historic
Legal Status Listed place (22/06/2004)
Place ID 105415
Place File No 4/00/192/0004
Summary Statement of Significance
Lady Elliot Island Lightstation is significant as a lighthouse built in 1873, using a timber framed substructure and cast iron external cladding. The use of timber framing for the staircase is a rare example of this construction method in lighthouses in Australia (Criteria B.2, D.2 and F.1). The lightstation is significant as portraying the historical development of the complex over time, with the changes made in lighthouse technology, accomodation and the addition of other service buildings (Criterion A.4). The Lady Elliot Island Lightstation is significant as a landmark feature which, along with the island, marks the southern end of the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park (Criterion E.1). The Lady Elliot Lightstation is significant as an important element in the establishment of navigational aids along the Queensland coast, which reflects the development of the coastal regions of Queensland after its separation from New South Wales (Criterion A.4).
Official Values
Criterion A Processes
The Lady Elliot Lightstation is significant as an important element in the establishment of navigational aids along the Queensland coast, which reflects the development of the coastal regions of Queensland after its separation from New South Wales. The lightstation portrays the historical development of the complex over time, with the changes made in lighthouse technology, accommodation and the addition of other service buildings.

Attributes
The lighthouse, adaptations to the light, and all associated structures.
Criterion B Rarity
The use of timber framing for the staircase is a rare example of this construction method in lighthouses in Australia.

Attributes
The timber framed staircase.
Criterion D Characteristic values
Lady Elliot Island Lightstation is significant as a lighthouse built in 1873, using a timber framed substructure and cast iron external cladding.

Attributes
The use of cast iron external cladding.
Criterion E Aesthetic characteristics
The Lady Elliot Island Lightstation is significant as a landmark feature which, along with the island, marks the southern end of the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park.

Attributes
The prominence and location of the lighthouse.
Criterion F Technical achievement
Lady Elliot Island Lightstation is significant as a lighthouse built in 1873, using a timber framed substructure and cast iron external cladding.

Attributes
All of the original fabric and in particular the use of a timber frame with external cast iron cladding.
Description
The Lady Elliot Lightstation is located on the western side of a small, flat and low lying island located at the southern end of the Great Barrier Reef. The lightstation is a reasonably compact lightstation comprising the lighthouse, a group of three fibro clad residences and associated structures, four fibro clad and brick service and store buildings, boat shed, and miscellaneous items such as solar panels and weather recording apparatus. The relationship between the lighthouse and residences follows the usual practice of locating the residences at some distance from the lighthouse. At the time of construction of the lightstation, Lady Elliot Island had been completely cleared of the majority of its vegetation. No protection was offered in any way to the residences or lighthouse by vegetation or topographical features. Originally only one residence was built as the keeper was assisted when necessary by a member of the guano mining company. A second cottage was built soon after the mining ceased on the island.
In the late 1920s these cottages were replaced with three new houses to accommodate three keepers. The lighthouse is surrounded by its associated buildings : Old Power House; Workshop (former Radio Room); Fuel Store; Powerhouse and lighthouse being located within a fenced compound. The three keepers cottages form a neatly aligned row 50m to the north of the lighthouse. These buildings are similar in plan and form as originally built in 1927, although there have been some modifications to each. It appears that the earlier cottages were slightly offset. The Lady Elliot Lighthouse was the third prefabricated iron lighthouse to be built in Queensland. Apart from the Queensland lighthouses, at least two other iron lighthouses had been constructed prior to this: Troubridge Shoal, South Australia, in 1856; and the first Breaksea Island lighthouse, Western Australia, in 1858. The first use of cast iron in lighthouse construction in Australia was made at the Troubridge Shoal Lighthouse which had been designed by Alexander Gordon and consisted of bolted segments of cast iron. The Breaksea Island lighthouse was built in a similar manner, but was replaced with a stone tower in 1895. Unlike these and the Sandy Cape and Bustard Head lighthouses, Lady Elliot Island lighthouse was the first where the cast iron was mounted on a timber frame. In other words, the iron was solely used as a cladding and became a non structural element of the lighthouse. This method of construction was cheaper than that at Sandy Cape and Bustard Head and the system employed at Lady Elliot Island became the new construction technique in Queensland.
Timber frames were prefabricated in Brisbane and then erected on site. The iron plate, lens and apparatus were imported from England, but the lighthouses were designed and built by the Queensland Government. Lady Elliot Island Lighstation is no longer manned. The light with its associated solar panels is automatic and Australian Maritime Safety Authority require only service access to the tower and power to the tower and power house, now located within a fenced compound.
History Not Available
Condition and Integrity
The integrity of the lighthouse is good, although additive intrusions such as the construction of later service buildings has detracted from the original layout of the station. The residences have been replaced twice: the original cottages replaced in the 1900s and again in the late 1920s. The integrity of the structure of the lighthouse is high, although the lens and apparatus have been removed. No major architectural elements have been added to, or removed from the building internally or externally, with the exception of the small skillion roofed structure at the base of the tower (entrance porch), aerials and a new light at balcony level. The added porch is not relevant to the historical significance of the lighthouse. The houses generally have a fair integrity. Principal changes to these buildings have been the enclosure and subdivision of verandahs, the replacement of original casement windows with awning sash windows, the partitioning of the second bedroom to create a corridor and alterations to bathrooms, presumably to accommodate an internal wc (earlier access to bathrooms was from Bedroom 2). House 3 has been recently upgraded internally and externally and painted. Houses 1 and 2 are suffering from reduced maintenance although they are in sound order. The general landscape around the lightstation has altered considerably since the construction of the station, and later construction of the existing residences. The station was built towards the end of the guano mining operations on the island. This had left the island devoid of substantial vegetation and it is only in more recent years that vegetation has been regenerated on the island.
Location
About 80km north-north-east of Burnett Heads on Lady Elliot Island, comprising the light tower and all associated structures.
Bibliography
DANVERS, ARCHITECTS. Conservation Plan for Lady Elliot Island
Lightstation. Prepared for AMSA JAN.1993.

Report Produced  Sat Sep 20 22:41:17 2014