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Smoky Cape Lighthouse Group, Lighthouse Rd, South West Rocks, NSW, Australia

Photographs View Photo Database Record
List Register of the National Estate (Non-statutory archive)
Class Historic
Legal Status Registered (21/10/1980)
Place ID 3478
Place File No 1/18/142/0001
Statement of Significance
Smoky Cape Lightstation, built in 1891, is significant as an intact example of a late Victorian lightstation designed by James Barnet and one of only two such mass concrete constructions built in New South Wales in the 19th century (Criteria B.2, H.1). The Lightstation is significant as an important element in the establishment of navigational aids along the New South Wales coast, which reflects the economic development of the surrounding region (Criterion A.4). The Lightstation, with its well-constructed tower and cottages, is in direct contrast to the exposed, dramatic and remote location and is significant for the considerable aesthetic value of its setting in the landscape (Criterion E.1). The lighthouse tower is significant for containing the original Chance Bros. First order flashing optic and cast-iron and copper lantern house. The whole of the lantern is a beautiful example of nineteenth century industrial technology and remains quite intact. (Criteria B.2).
Official Values Not Available
Smoky Cape was named by Captain Cook during his voyage of discovery in 1770. Earliest European contact with the area was not until 1816, when the brig, Trial, hijacked by convicts, was wrecked at Trial Bay in 1816. Subsequently explorer John Oxley visited the bay in November, 1817. The early coastal trade in the region was predominantly timber (cedar) gathering. The conference of Principal Officers of the Maritime Departments of the Australian Colonies of 1873 reported the need for a lighthouse at Smoky Cape. However, no further action seems to have been taken until when in 1886 Alexander Kethel, the member for North Sydney in the New South Wales Legislative Assembly, called upon the Government to erect a lighthouse on Smoky Cape. The reasoning being the increased coastal trade on the northern seaboard on New south Wales. The Colonial Architect, James Barnet, and members of the Marine Board subsequently surveyed the recommended site and prepared the necessary specifications. Tenders were called in January 1889. The contractor, Mr Oakes, unfortunately died during the course of construction, but the project was still completed. The cost of construction, including tower, optical apparatus and ancilliary buildings, amounted to 16,800 pounds. The light was first exhibited on 15 April 1891. The light is situated in a 32.8ha reserve approximately 10km from Jerserville. The reserve adjoins Hat Head National Park. Access to the station is by road. The 17.4m white octagonal tower and attached service annexe are constructed of concrete blocks using local granite aggregate. The tower is surmounted by a 12ft 1in (36.65mm) diameter first order lantern manufactured by Chance Brothers of Birmingham, England. The optical apparatus consists of a a Chance Bros. First order 920mm focal radius revolving lens mounted on a roller bearing pedestal driven by an electric motor. The light source is a 120 volt 1,000 watt tungsten halogen lamp. The apparatus gives a character of Group Flashing three every twenty seconds with an intensity of 1,000,000 candles resulting in a nominal visible range of 26 nautical miles. The signal house is a detached building and original to the lighthouse. The Head Keeper's Quarters and the duplex cottage which serves as the assistant keepers quarters and relief staff. Other associated buildings include a brick stable/shed, a four car concrete garage and a fibro cement workshop.The station is connected to mains electricity with a 2.5 kva standby diesel generator. The tower and houses are constructed of poured concrete with an aggregate of locally quarried granite, cement rendered inside and outside. The lantern room floor of the lighthouse consists of voussoir blocks supported by cast in-situ corbels.
History Not Available
Condition and Integrity
The lightstation is in good condition. Various alterations have taken place such as modifications to kitchens, replacement of roofing and other structures added to the lightstation complex.
Situated approximately 6km south east of South West Rocks. Comprising: Lighthouse and generator annexe, two residences, coach house and stables, ancillary structures.
Lucas, Stapleton and Partners Pty Ltd. (1993). Smoky Cape Lightstation
Conservation Management Plan. Prepared for the Australian Maritime
Safety Authority, Canberra.

Reid, G.,(1988). From Dawn to Dusk. A History of Australian
Lighthouses. Department of Transport and Communications. MacMillan,

Report Produced  Sat Apr 19 20:36:23 2014