Fitzroy Island Light
|Year first constructed||1943|
|Year first lit||1973|
|Construction||concrete tower, tile covered|
|Tower shape||octagonal tower|
|Markings / pattern||white tower|
|Height||56 feet (17 m)|
|Location||Little Fitzroy Island
|Year first constructed||1992|
|Tower shape||cylindrical tower|
|Markings / pattern||white tower|
|Height||4 feet (1.2 m)|
|Focal height||33 feet (10 m)|
|Light source||solar power|
|Characteristic||F I(3) WRG 15s.|
|Managing agent||Australian Maritime Safety Authority|
Fitzroy Island Light is an inactive lighthouse on Fitzroy Island, a continental island 29 kilometres (18 mi) southeast of Cairns, Queensland, Australia. It was only active between 1973 and 1992, though a light station at the area is active since 1926 and to these days. It now serves as a visitor centre of the Fitzroy Island National Park.
The first station in the area was established in 1929 on the nearby Little Fitzroy Island, with the purpose of warning ships in the Grafton Passage of the reefs around the island. The station on Fitzroy Island was established in 1943, during World War II to supplement the Little Fitzroy Island Light.
The light characteristic shown by the 1943 light was unique in Australia, and perhaps in the world, in that the characteristic seen (and not just the light colour) was dependent on the direction, corresponding to different Morse code signals. On the direction 217°, the middle of the channel, it showed a group of four flashes every 16 seconds. North of this direction, the first two flashes looked like a single long flash, resulting in one long flash followed by two short flashes, i.e. a Morse code "D" (go down). South of 217° it would show two short flashes followed by a long flash, i.e. a Morse code "U" (go up). This was achieved using two synchronised rotating bullseye lens panels, which were taken from the Cape Northumberland Light first order lens.
In 1973 the current Fitzroy Island Light was constructed, the fifth of a group of seven concrete towers erected between 1964 and 1979 in Queensland, in order of erection Cape Capricorn Light, New Caloundra Light, Point Danger Light, New Burnett Heads Light, itself, Point Cartwright Light and Archer Point Light. At that same time the Little Fitzroy Island Light was deactivated. The light source was an array of sealed beam lamps.
In 1992 the lighthouse was deactivated, and Little Fitzroy Island Light was made active again. The lighthouse on Fitzroy Island now serves as a visitor centre for the Fitzroy Island National Park.
Site operation and visiting
Fitzroy Island is accessible by ferry from Cairns, and the lighthouse is a 3.6 kilometres (2.2 mi) hike from the ferry landing. The site is open, but the tower is closed to the public. It is operated by the Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service as part of the Fitzroy Island National Park. The unique 1943 light is on display in the lighthouse office. The lamp from the last lighthouse is on display at the Cairns historical Society Museum.
- Buchanan 2000.
- Ibbotson 2000.
- "Far northern history in good hands « The Rock News: A Force for South Cairns". therocknews.com.au. Retrieved 7 January 2011.
- Rowlett, Russ. "Lighthouses of Australia: Queensland's Far North". The Lighthouse Directory. University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Retrieved 14 November 2010.
- "Caloundra Lighthouses (entry 602746)". Queensland Heritage Register. Queensland Heritage Council. Retrieved 13 July 2015.
- Ibbotson, John (November 2000). "Around Australia Chasing Lighthouses". Lighthouses of Australia Inc Bulletin (11).
- Buchanan, Stuart (August 2000). "Old Fitzroy Island Lens to Return Home". Lighthouses of Australia Inc Bulletin (8).
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