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The following pages provide information and educational material about the Australian Maritime Safety Authority and the marine environment. Copies of material may be made and distributed for community education purposes without infringing copyright.

100 years of national management of lighthouses interactive map

The first marine light on Australian soil was built just a few years after the colony’s founding in 1788. This was simply an iron basket on a tripod finally replaced in 1818 by Australia’s first lighthouse, Macquarie Light.

In June 1911 the Lighthouses Act came into effect after an extensive report into the condition of existing state lighthouses and the need for more. On 1 July 1915 the Commonwealth officially accepted responsibility for all light stations around Australia.

From the Commonwealth Lighthouse Service’s inception in 1915, through various Commonwealth agencies (including AMSA since 1991), the Australian Government has been responsible for the provision of an extensive network of aids to navigation around the coastline, now comprising nearly 490 aids at approximately 380 sites.

Lighthouses are often regarded as romantic symbols in Australian culture, though first and foremost they are a symbol of safety ensuring safe passage for ships along our coastline.

See the interactive map detailing our 55 heritage lighthouses.

Search for Malaysia Airlines flight MH370

On Saturday 8 March 2014, a Boeing 777—Malaysia Airlines flight MH370—took off from Kuala Lumpur airport on a six-hour flight to Beijing, China. It went missing during the flight and has not been found.

Read about our involvement with the MH370 search.

YM Efficiency—Operation recovery

Find out about our operation to remove shipping containers from the seabed during April and Mar 2020.

View videos and images of the operation and the rubbish that was removed and processed.

Find out about the history of the YM Efficiency operation.

Major historical environmental incidents

See our information about major historical environmental incidents including oil spills and shipwrecks.

Australian and international maritime organisations

The international engagement section of our website provides information about our international involvement.

Last updated: 19 September 2023