The old and the new Lighthouses - Image: Elaine de Wet
I'm not sure if you realised, but Caloundra has not one, but two lighthouses - neither of which are operational - but today still stand tall and strong at the Lions Club of Caloundra Memorial Park in Canberra Terrace with views of the ocean and towards the Glasshouse Mountains.
Lions Club of Caloundra Memorial Park - Image: Elaine de Wet
Caloundra Lighthouse is the oldest building in Caloundra dating back to 1896, when it was first established in typical Queensland tower fashion with a timber frame and corrugated zinc cladding. A single keepers cottage was built next to the Lighthouse to accommodate the one keeper and his family. This Lighthouse was dual-purpose providing a harbour light as well as a coastal light to direct traffic towards the North West Channel into Moreton Bay.
The old Lighthouse dating back to 1896 - Image: Elaine de Wet
In 1910, the light in the old Lighthouse was upgraded from a fixed kerosene light to an incandescent vapour kerosene light, which was the first of its kind in Queensland. Its 1400 candlepower was visible 22-25 miles out to sea. Many mariners considered it the best light on the Queensland coast and the key to successfully traversing Moreton Bay.
During World War II the lighthouse was used as a Royal Australian Navy observation post, after which the light was upgraded again to a 240 volt mains power producing a 250,000 candlepower light from it's new revolving lens.
The life of Caloundra Light was cut short by a high-rise development - Image: Elaine de Wet
The man in charge of the Post Office was also the lighthouse keeper - at the time the post office was in a house right next to the lighthouse, so I guess this was almost like getting 'two for the price of one'. Mr. Carl Walter Edlundh was the first keeper and was helped by his daughter, Florence.
With the arrival of large container ships, Moreton Bay's deep channel became increasingly important. This heralded the construction of the new Caloundra Light - a modern tower building consisting of the lighthouse, signal and radar station.
Memorial Plaque in memory of Americans and Australians who were stationed in this area - Image: Elaine de Wet
The working life of the new lighthouse was cut short by a high-rise development, which obscured views of the light from the sea. It did, however, continue to operate as a harbour light until 1992.
The two lighthouses provide a rare opportunity for comparison and demonstrate the evolution in marine navigation along the Queensland coast over one hundred years. The original lighthouse played an integral part in Queensland marine navigation for over seventy years, whereas the second lighthouse's 'working life' was very much less, as it only marked the entrance to the main channel for a decade.
Ground level views towards the Glasshouse Mountains - Image: Elaine de Wet
Today, the precinct where the two lighthouses are, is listed on the Queensland Heritage Register.
A visit to these two lighthouses in Caloundra is a truly worthwhile outing, offering interesting historical information in pretty surrounds, namely, the Lions Club of Caloundra Memorial Park, allowing one to take the time to meander around. Unfortunately, we couldn't enter either of the lighthouses, being a Sunday, but they are open every second and fourth Saturday of the month from 9.00am to 3.00pm for only $2 for adults - if you see the flag flying, the lighthouses will be open. Alternatively, one can contact 'Friends of the Caloundra Lighthouses' (see below for names and phone numbers), who assist in the conservation of the lighthouses, for a pre-arranged guided tour.
Park accessible from the two lighthouses - Image: Elaine de Wet
Donnalea 5492-2723 or 0418 999014
Trevor Hamey 5492-5467 or
Roger Todd 5491-7654
A return visit is definitely on the cards for me as I would love to see the promised exceptional ocean views from the top of the lighthouses.
Historical info for the two lighthouses - Image: Elaine de Wet