Located within the Cape Jervis Military Reserve this ill-fated lighthouse was responsible for luring many ships to disaster on the rocky coastline and beaches of Wreck Bay. Built in 1860 with a budget of 5,000 pounds the lighthouse was a construction built for economic reasons not for maritime safety.
Decisions on the need for a light and its location were made without even consulting the Pilots Board, the controlling authority; this resulted in the light being built on the wrong headland.
It seems the whole project was fraught with disaster. The families, which made Stoney Creek Lighthouse home also, have a long history of mishaps and misery with Typhoid fever, Pleurisy, drowning and accidental death by gunshot. Life was hard. Children travelled 2.5 miles to school on horseback, deliveries came in by horse and cart and the colony was for the most part self sufficient.
The Lighthouse, in its hayday. Photograph of information sign courtesy of Lady Dennman Heritage Complex.
38 years after the lighthouse was built it was decommissioned and a new lighthouse was erected in the correct position of Point Perpendicular. Even though Stoney Creek lighthouse was no longer in use, confusion continued, during daylight hours and in bad weather the lamp reflected sunlight causing navigational problems for many ships.
Between 1917 and 1922 the Australian Navy used Stoney Creek Lighthouse for navel target practice reducing it to ruins; the sandstone ruins now have a preservation order and have become a popular tourist location with whale watching and observation platforms.
You will find the "old ruined lighthouse" inside Booderee National Park. Follow the signs to Stoney Creek from that point the lighthouse is signposted, be prepared for gravel road for the last 10 kilometres of the trip. There is a designated car park 150 metres from the ruins, the walk from the carpark to the ruins is a low graded gravel path with no steps. Park authorities are in the process of building an amenities block in the car park grounds.
As you approach the ruins from the car park you'll come across sandstone remnants of other buildings from the colony - stables, cottages and kitchen buildings. The toilet block which housed three toilets is perched on the edge of the cliff enabling easy evacuation of contents.