Lighthouses of Australia

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Gabo Island

Ref: 2558 Built: 1846 Elevation: 55 Tower: 47 Range: 30 Lat: 37-34.3 Long: 149-55.2

There were a number of attempts made to build a lighthouse on Gabo Island. The first in 1846 failed. Next a prefabricated wooden tower was built in 1853. The current red granite tower was completed in 1862. Quarrying the granite for the tower was a painstaking process. Holes, 3cm in diameter, 8cm deep and 10 cm apart were drilled by hand, with a star drill, into the rock. One option was to drive wooden stakes into the holes. These were soaked with water and as the wood expanded it caused the granite to split. The other, and most likely, option was the 'feather and plug' method. This involved a steel tube that had been cut vertically in two (the feather) that was inserted in the hole and a tapered steel plug. Pounding the plug into the feather caused the rock to split. Once blocks were obtained they were chipped into the final shape required. Gabo Island tower is the second tallest classical light in Australia after Cape Wickham on King Island. Initially it had a fixed first order lens, but when it was converted to electrical power in 1935, this lens was removed and installed in the Wollongong Head lighthouse. The keeper was withdrawn when the light was converted to solar power in 1992.

Tanner Island, Derby WA
Gabo Island, Mallacoota Vic


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