Cape Bruny Lighthouse

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Cape Bruny Lighthouse
Location Bruny Island, Tasmania
Coordinates 43°29′S 147°08′E / 43.483°S 147.133°E / -43.483; 147.133Coordinates: 43°29′S 147°08′E / 43.483°S 147.133°E / -43.483; 147.133
Year first constructed 1838
Year first lit 1838
Deactivated 1996
Construction Rubblestones
Tower shape Conical
Markings / pattern White, with lantern and gallery
Admiralty number K3654
NGA number 6868
ARLHS number AUS-024

Cape Bruny Lighthouse at the southern tip of Bruny Island, Tasmania, is the second oldest extant lighthouse tower in Australia, as well as having the longest (158 years) history of being continuously manned. It was first lit in March 1838 and was eventually decommissioned on 6 August 1996. [1]

The project was commissioned by Governor George Arthur in 1835 after a series of shipwrecks south of Bruny Island and construction began in April 1836. The lighthouse was built by convict labour using locally-quarried dolerite over two years. When first lit in March 1838 it was Tasmania's third lighthouse and Australia's fourth. [2]

Cape Bruny was initially illuminated by a Wilkins lantern, consuming one pint of sperm whale oil per hour. In 1892, sperm oil was replaced by the better quality colza oil. In 1903 the original staircase was replaced and a cast-iron staircase was installed and the Wilkins lantern was replaced with a Chance Brothers lantern, which both remain in the tower today. [2]

In December 2000 the light station area, including the lighthouse, became part of the South Bruny National Park.[3] The lightstation was maintained by a permanent caretaker until 2011 when the Parks & Wildlife established a rotational volunteer caretaker program. Volunteers live on-site in the caretakers cottage for four-week periods, assisting with repairs and general maintenance. [4]

In June 2012, the Tasmanian Government sought expressions of interest from commercial operators wishing to take over the operation and management of the Cape Bruny Light Station. No tender was awarded [5] and the site remains managed by the Parks & Wildlife Service with assistance from volunteers. Following the tender process, two companies began tours of Bruny Island that take tourists to visit the Cape Bruny Lightstation - Bruny Island Safaris and Bruny Island Traveller. The latter, Bruny Island Traveller, also operates tours inside the lighthouse tower. [6]

An active light tower is located nearby on a fiberglass construction of 4 metres (13 ft) height. Its light characteristic is "Fl. 10 s", i.e. a white flash every 15 seconds. The lightsource emits from a focal plane at 93 metres (305 ft) above sea level.[7]


  1. ^ Tasmanian Parks & Wildlife Service. "Cape Bruny Lighthouse". Retrieved 17 March 2013. 
  2. ^ a b Lighthouses of Australia Inc. "Cape Bruny Lighthouse". Retrieved 17 March 2013. 
  3. ^ Parks & Wildlife Service, Tasmania. "Guide to Tasmania's Historic Places - Cape Bruny Lighthouse". Retrieved 29 November 2007. 
  4. ^ Australian Broadcasting Corporation. "The light on Bruny Island's Cape". Retrieved 17 March 2013. 
  5. ^ Tasmanian Government Tenders. "Expressions of Interest - Cape Bruny Light Station - South Bruny National Park". Retrieved 17 March 2013. 
  6. ^ Tourism Tasmania. "Bruny Island Traveller - Discover Tasmania". Retrieved 17 March 2013. 
  7. ^ Rowlett, Russ. "Lighthouses of Australia: Tasmania". The Lighthouse Directory. University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Retrieved 21 July 2008. 

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