Plaque unveiled to commemorate South Solitary Island lighthouse keepers
13 November 2015
The difficult and isolated work of lighthouse keepers at one of Australia's older lighthouses will be recognised with the unveiling of a plaque today at the Coffs Harbour Regional Museum.
The South Solitary Island Lighthouse, located off the Coffs Harbour coast, first became operational in 1880 and is one of Australia's 55 heritage lighthouses under Australian Government management.
The plaque will be unveiled by Acting Prime Minister and Minister for Infrastructure and Regional Development Warren Truss and Federal Member for Cowper Luke Hartsuyker, together with the Friends of South Solitary Island group.
The plaque commemorates 100 years of Australian Government management of Australia's major coastal lighthouses. The Commonwealth Lighthouse Service was established in 1915 and the Australian Maritime Safety Authority has held responsibility for managing these lighthouses since 1990.
Mr Truss said the South Solitary Island Lighthouse was a significant part of the local community.
“For 135 years, the South Solitary Island Lighthouse has warned mariners of the hazard of the island. It was part of a series of lighthouses that lit up the shipping lanes of New South Wales' coast,” Mr Truss said.
“South Solitary Island was selected as the site of the lighthouse over North Solitary Island because of its location and more suitable boat access.
“South Solitary Island was an isolated place for lighthouse keepers and their families and this plaque also commemorates and honours the lighthouse keepers and their families who served on South Solitary Island Lighthouse from 1880 until 1975.”
The South Solitary Island Lighthouse is constructed of concrete and its light has a range of 20 nautical miles. The lighthouse stands 20 metres tall and has an imposing cliff top location 42 metres above the Pacific Ocean.