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Tasman Island Lighthouse Open Day

Tuesday 21 April 2015

On Saturday 11 April AMSA supervised the opening of the Tasman Island lighthouse to the public. The lighthouse was built in 1906 from prefabricated cast iron pieces shipped from Birmingham UK and hauled by horse up the 200-metre cliff face.

The plaque unveiling ceremony: (L-R) Karl Rowbottom, one of the last lighthouse keepers on the island; Elaine Bell, great granddaughter of George Johnston (the first lighthouse superintendent); and Carol Jackson

The construction phase and later resupply efforts resulted in a number of fatal and near fatal accidents to both men and horses. Ex lighthouse keepers, their wives and children, often call Tasman the ‘island of hell’ as it was considered by many to be one of the worst possible postings.

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Lighthouse plaque
Lighthouse plaque

This year’s open day was organised by The Rotary Club of Tasman Peninsula, in association with Friends of Tasman Island and AMSA. All of the visitors were ferried to and from the site by helicopter which provided some spectacular views of the island.  

This year’s visit had extra significance as there was a small ceremony to unveil a plaque donated by AMSA and dedicated to the lighthouse keepers and their families for their contribution to maritime safety. This dedication was arranged as a part of this year’s centenary of the Australian Government’s management of the aids to navigation network.

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View from the top of the lighthouse
View from the top of the lighthouse