1901: The Introduction of Australia’s Brightest Lighthouse

December 1, 1901

A newly built lighthouse made its formal debut at Cape Byron in the Australian state of New South Wales (NSW) to help protect ships traveling through that area of the Pacific Ocean. Cape Byron Lighthouse, which remains in service today and can be found approximately two miles (3.2 kilometers) northeast of the town of Byron Bay, is situated at the easternmost point of the mainland of Australia. With a luminous intensity of 2.2 million candelas, Cape Byron Lighthouse also has the distinction of being the brightest lighthouse in all of Australia. 

The official opening of Cape Byron Lighthouse was originally scheduled to take place on November 30, 1901. NSW Premier John See and other dignitaries planned to travel aboard the steamship Victoria from NSW’s capital city of Sydney that day to participate in the festivities, but bad weather delayed the trip. A celebratory banquet at a hotel in the Cape Byron region still occurred on November 30, but the inaugural ceremonies for the lighthouse were postponed until See and his party arrived the following day. These ceremonies were extensively covered by the Australian press, and the first regular display of the new structure’s light took place that evening after sunset.

This lighthouse was operated by resident keepers until 1989, when it became fully automated. It is maintained by the Australian Maritime Safety Authority. 

Photo Credit: Andrea Schaffer (licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic license at https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/deed.en)

For more information on Cape Byron Lighthouse, please check out https://lighthouses.org.au/nsw/cape-byron-lighthouse/ and https://byronbayhistoricalsociety.org.au/history-trail/lighthouse/

Additional information on the inauguration of this lighthouse is available at https://trove.nla.gov.au/newspaper/article/72080223

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