GABO ISLAND LIGHTHOUSE
Island Lighthouse is situated on the East coast
of the State of Victoria at 37 degrees South and
149 degrees East. It is a tiny island only 500
meters from the Victorian coast.
It is the breeding ground and home for the largest colony of "Little" Penguins in the world and as such, it is a highly protected environment owned by the Victorian National Parks and Wildlife Service.
The lighthouse is unique in that it was built with red granite quarried on the island itself. The granite is so hard that the steps leading up to the main door look as though they were only recently constructed. The stone wall leading from the keepers cottages to the light was built to provide shelter from the prevailing wind.
|The island is only 5 kms in circumference and the light tower is in the top left hand corner in this picture. It is practically solid granite with a heavy covering of sand and native flora. It is basically the gateway to the notorious Bass Strait between Victoria and Tasmania and has served as a welcome shelter for many a yachtsman caught unawares by the unpredictable local weather.
|Bottom right is the assistant keepers cottage which has been refurbished for rental to tourists. Bottom left is the head keepers cottage now occupied by the resident NPWS ranger. Left of center is the telegraph station which is being renovated for subsequent rental. In the top of the picture is the grass airstrip for light aircraft from Mallacoota which brings tourists who are renting the cottage and also for the day trippers from Merimbula who are on a conducted day tour by the Merimbula Airport manger. (See later)
|The unique staircase which has 32 steps between each landing and these are 90 degrees to each other. Unlike most light towers, Gabo is the same internal diameter all the way up. The walls are several feet thick at the bottom and thinner as the height increases. The climb is quite easy due to the placement of the stair treads and the width of the whole structure. There were just over 200 steps counting the outside stairs up to the front door.
|A perfect example of the stonemasons craft. It is difficult to believe that this tower was built in 1862 as there is no sign of wear on the granite steps at all. The earliest attempt to erect a light on the island was abandoned in 1846 after excavations in the center of the island to a depth of 66 feet failed to find rock. A light was eventually established in 1853. It was a wooden tower pre-assembled in Sydney, dismantled and re-erected on the Island
CLICK HERE FOR GABO DAY TRIP
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