Montague Island Light

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Montague Island Light
Phare de l'ile Montague.jpg
Montague Island Light
Montague Island Light is located in New South Wales
Montague Island Light
Location Montague Island, New South Wales, Australia
Coordinates 36°15′7.15″S 150°13′35.19″E / 36.2519861°S 150.2264417°E / -36.2519861; 150.2264417Coordinates: 36°15′7.15″S 150°13′35.19″E / 36.2519861°S 150.2264417°E / -36.2519861; 150.2264417
Year first constructed 1881
Automated 1986
Construction dressed granite
Tower shape round, lantern, gallery
Markings / pattern gray, white lantern
Height 69 feet (21 m)
Focal height 262 feet (80 m)
Original lens 1st order Fresnel lens
Intensity 120,000 cd
Range 20 nautical miles (37 km; 23 mi)
Characteristic white flash every 15s[1]
Admiralty number K2576
NGA number 111-6568
ARLHS number AUS-110

Montague Island Light is an active lighthouse on Montague Island, an island 9 kilometres (5.6 mi) offshore from Narooma on the south coast of New South Wales, Australia. The lighthouse is located at the highest point of the island.


Original plans for the Montague Island lighthouse, 1878

The building of a "First Order Fixed and Flashing Light" was first decided 1873, with finance approved in 1877 and tenders called in October 1878. The lighthouse is one of many designed by James Barnet along the New South Wales coast.

The original constructor did not complete the construction due to finance problems. Problems started with an unauthorized blasting by the contractor that damaged the granite boulder selected as base. As a result, the tower was repositioned several feet. After more difficulties and delay the contractor gave up the contract. In 1880 a temporary light was set up, and a new tender was given, with construction completing a year later in October 1881, 4 months early. The official lighting was on 1 November 1881. The light characteristic was a steady flare for 30s, then an eclipse for 13s, then a flash for 4s, then another eclipse of 13s, a total cycle of one minute. The power source was oil, though some reports say kerosene, and the light intensity was 45,000 cd.

The light was upgraded once in 1910 to an intensity of 250,000 cd, with the installation of a Douglas incandescent kerosene burner, and a second time in 1923 to an intensity of 357,000 cd.

A Mercury bearings were installed in 1926 and the characteristic changed to a flash every 7.5s

In 1969 the light was electrified, with a diesel generator supplying the power, and the light intensity was raised to 1,000,000 cd. Four panels from Green Cape Lighthouse were fitted, changing the characteristic to one flash every 4.5s.

Original lens - current display[edit]

The original lens was last used on November 9, 1986. It was replaced with an array of lightweight solar powered 12 V quartz halogen lamps radiating two beams of 120,000 cd, and a total power consumption of 75 W.[2]

The original Fresnel lens was packed prism by prism in individual cases surrounded by expanding foam and sent to Sydney for storage. After public volunteering and fund collection for constructing a proper display, the lens was officially transferred back in 10 August 1990 to be displayed in the Lighthouse Museum at Narooma (36°12′59″S 150°07′39″E / 36.2165°S 150.1275°E / -36.2165; 150.1275), where the lens and mechanism are currently displayed in a 5 metres (16 ft) tower. Visitors can coin-operate the display.

Light keepers[edit]

Name Rank Years
John Burgess Head 1881–1898
Charles Townsend Assistant 1894
Jock Cameron Assistant 1920–1923
Head 1933–1935
Tom Paddon Assistant 1932–1934
Albert Cottee  ?? 1942 - ?
Jack Carmody Head 1960–1967
Bruce Conley Head 1973–1980
John Short Head  ? - 1986


The tower is constructed from interlocking granite blocks which were quarried on the island. It is fitted with a bronze handrail.

There are at least two single-storey lighthouse keeper's houses.

Site operation[edit]

The light is operated by the Australian Maritime Safety Authority. The site is managed by the Department of Environment, Climate Change and Water as part of the Montague Island Nature Reserve.


Access to the island is restricted. Access is available only through guided tours from Narooma, and reservations is required. Overnight stays for up to 11 people are available at the keeper's house.[3]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ According to List of Lights. The Lighthouse Directory and "Lighthouses of Australia" list 7.5s
  2. ^ According to "SeaSide Lights". 35 W according to "Lighthouses of Australia".
  3. ^ "Montague Island Tours NSW, information, bookings". Retrieved 1 September 2010.