Thursday, August 24, 2023
Mackay and Whitsunday Life
Did you know that Pine islet Lighthouse, located at the Mackay Marina, was the last kerosene illuminated lighthouse in Australia?
The lighthouse was previously situated on Pine Islet in the Percy Group of islands, south-east of Mackay. The tower structure and keepers’ quarters were prefabricated in Brisbane before being shipped to the island in October 1884. Iron cladding for the lighthouse was brought from Britain.
The lighthouse apparatus is a second-order Chance Brothers lantern and dioptric lens rotating on a chariot wheel pedestal. The structure is one of the eight Queensland iron clad prefabricated hardwood towers of the late nineteenth century. The original lamp was an oil wick burner.
In 1923 the light source was converted from oil wick to an incandescent kerosene vapour burner. This kerosene burner was upgraded in 1934, with the installation of a refurbished unit from North Reef. After 104 years of service, the lighthouse was replaced by a fully automatic solar-powered light in 1985, before being dismantled and put into storage in 1986.
In 1989, after much lobbying, the lighthouse and apparatus were loaned to the Pine Islet Lighthouse Preservation Society for reconstruction, mainly by volunteers. Reconstruction started on 18th August 1989, and the lighthouse was restored to fully functional status in late 1995, making it the last operational kerosene light in the world. It was formally opened on 20th January 1996. While the lighthouse is not currently in operating condition, plans are underway to again restore the light to allow its operation.
We are a small but dedicated group of volunteers working diligently to undertake repairs and maintenance on the lighthouse. We have recently had a Conservation Management Plan prepared by heritage consultants, with funding generously provided by North Queensland Bulk Ports. This document will guide future work, in addition to a 3D scan, to be completed by Key Solutions Group.
If you’d like to get involved, or you have a story related to the lighthouse, we’d love to hear from you. You can find us on Facebook – Pine Islet Lighthouse Mackay – or get in touch with me on 0412 421 451, or email email@example.com.
Cr Belinda Hassan
Mackay Regional Council
Pine Islet Lighthouse at the Mackay Marina. Photo credit: Kendyle Bryan