Australia's most southerly light
Maatsuyker Island was named by Abel Tasman in 1642, after a member of the Dutch Council of India.
The site for Australia's most southern light, was chosen for a lightstation in May 1888 after a visit by the Hobart Engineer, Mr Meech.
Construction began in January 1890 under contact to J & R Duff of Hobart. The schedule allowed 18 months to build, 400 metres of double haulage way, 400 metres of single trolley line, 75 chains of roadway, and the erection of the tower and three houses from brick shipped from Oyster Cove. The tower was designed by Huckson and Hutchison of Hobart.
The first head keeper, RW Garroway, lit the six-wick burner for the first time on 1 June 1891.
In the early part of the century the only method of communications with Hobart was by carrier pigeon. It is said that the pigeons delivered their messges to Hobart in about 3 hours. In 1938 a pedal wireless was installed on the island.
In 1924 the light was converted to kerosene mantle and in June 1976 to 1000 watt electric bulb run by diesel generators giving 240 volt power.
On 11 August 1977 the rotating prism changed from clockwork to electric motor and the station went from a 3-man continuous watch to 2-man non-watch keeping.
The tower was demanned and handed over to the Tasmanian Government in 1998. It is now staffed by a volunteer caretaker program.
|See also : Maatsuyker Island at Lighthouses of Australia|