2.1 Location 

The Cape Wickham Lighthouse is located on King Island, a 1,098 kilometre-squared island found within Bass Strait nestled between the Australian state of Tasmania and the mainland. Situated approximately nine kilometres north-north-west of Egg Lagoon, Cape Wickham Lighthouse stands on the northern tip of the Island.

Coordinates: 39º 35.3060’S, 143º 56.5830’E.

Figure 3. View of King Island within Bass Strait (Map data: ©2021 Google, TerraMetrics)
Figure 3. View of King Island within Bass Strait (Map data: ©2021 Google, TerraMetrics)

2.2 Setting and landscape

As the second largest island in the Bass Strait, King Island is a predominantly rural land mass subject to the Roaring Forties, strong westerly winds found across the southern hemisphere. With a relatively flat topography, the island features a combination of sand dunes along the western coastline, and steep rocky cliffs along the eastern and southern coastline. 

The Cape Wickham Lighthouse, situated along the northern point of King Island, is surrounded by open, rural plains and a golf course. The tower is located within Cape Wickham State Reserve which is managed by the Tasmanian Parks and Wildlife Service.

Figure 4. View of coastline from Cape Wickham lighthouse tower (Source: AMSA, 2017)

Figure 4. View of coastline from Cape Wickham lighthouse tower (Source: AMSA, 2017)

Figure 5. View of surrounding rural landscape from Cape Wickham lighthouse tower (Source: AMSA, 2011)

Fauna and flora

King Island maintains a range of fauna and flora, somewhat limited by the island’s geographic isolation. With an estimated 28 native vegetation communities, six communities are listed as ‘threatened’. These include:

  • coastal complex
  • Eucalyptus brookeriana 
  • Eucalyptus globulus
  • Melaleuca ericifolia
  • seabird rockery complex
  • wetlands

Fifty flora species on the island have been registered and include:

  • Hedycarya angustifolia (Australian mulberry)
  • Elaeocarpus reticulatus (blueberry ash)
  • Pimelea axiflora (bootlace bush)

The island maintains a diverse range of fauna including:

  • six fish species
  • six frog species 
  • nine reptile species
  • 164 bird species
  • 12 mammal species   

Due to the strong bird population, specific areas have been identified on the Island as Important Bird Areas. The Lavinia State Reserve located to the north-east is recognised as a habitat for the critically endangered orange-bellied parrot (Neophema chrysogaster) along their migration route.

A biodiversity management plan for King Island was implemented in 2012. This plan can be accessed publicly via the Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment website5.    

2.3 Lease and ownership

AMSA holds a lease for the lighthouse and land from the Minister administering the National Parks and Wildlife Act 1970 (Tas). The lease is currently administered through TAS PWS.

The AMSA lease consists of two parcels of land:

  • lot 1 (1964 metres-squared)
  • lot 2: lighthouse tower (780 metres-squared)

The current lease was signed on 1 May 1998 for a period of 25 years, with the option to renew for a period of 25 years.  

Figure 6. Cape Wickham AMSA map of lease (Map data: Esri, DigitalGlobe, GeoEye, Earthstar Geographics, CNES/Airbus DS, USDA, USGS, AeroGRID, IGN, GIS User Community)
Figure 6. Cape Wickham AMSA map of lease (Map data: Esri, DigitalGlobe, GeoEye, Earthstar Geographics, CNES/Airbus DS, USDA, USGS, AeroGRID, IGN, GIS User Community)

2.4 Access

The Cape Wickham Lighthouse can be accessed by vehicle via Cape Wickham Road with open pedestrian access available from all directions of the lighthouse tower. Access inside the lighthouse is restricted to authorised personnel only.  

2.5 Listings  

Register

ID

Commonwealth Heritage List

1055676

Tasmanian Heritage Register

36137

Register of the National Estate

102878

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