I'm a Victorian freelance writer & photographer living in the Macedon Ranges north of Melbourne.
Worldwide Lighthouse Celebration
The 19th Annual International Lighthouse/Lightship Weekend to be conducted on August 20th – 21st is a celebration of the historical importance of lighthouses, their Keepers and Radio Operators around the world with an estimated 400 light stations, including our own Point Lonsdale, taking part in the weekend program world-wide.
St Catherines Point Lighthouse on England's Isle of Wight. The first lighthouse on this site was built in 1323. Photo: Ian Gill / Footloose PhotoBank
The event is co-hosted by international amateur radio operators, who will broadcast from the light stations over the weekend, and the Association of Lighthouse Keepers.
Point Lonsdale Lighthouse, on the Bellarine Peninsula, overlooks The Rip, the notoriously dangerous entrance to Port Phillip Bay. Photo: Ian Gill / Footloose PhotoBank
Lighthouses have played an enormous role in Australian history with more than 350 of one shape or another having been commissioned in the past 220 years, many as the result of the loss of one or more of the estimated 8000 plus vessels which have come to grief along our almost 60,000 kilometres of coastline and off-shore islands.
The Cape Otway Lighthouse on Victoria's infamous 'Shipwreck Coast' was built partly in response to the loss of the immigrant ship CATARAQUI, Australia's worst ever maritime disaster with the loss of 400 of the total 410 souls onboard. Photo: Ian Gill / Footloose PhotoBank
Over the International Lighthouse Weekend 33 Australian lighthouses will participate, including Point Lonsdale where volunteers from the Queenscliffe Maritime Museum will conduct tours of the light station daily between 9.30 AM and 3 PM.
For more than 100 years the Point Lonsdale light has helped ensure safe-passage for thousands of vessels entering or leaving Port Phillip through 'The Rip', the notoriously narrow and often very turbulent entrance to the Bay.
Tours will include the historic foghorn shed and soundings of the foghorn at 10 AM and 3 PM on both Saturday and Sunday.
Tour bookings are essential and can be made by calling 0419 513 007. Entry cost is $10 Adults, $8 Concession and $5 Children. Note: Children undertaking the tours must be at least 5 years old and be taller than 95 Centimetres.
Bathurst Lighthouse on Western Australia's Rottnest Island was also built as the result of several sinkings, including the CITY OF YORK in July 1899, along the treacherous approaches to Fremantle harbour. Photo: Ian Gill / Footloose PhotoBank
International Lighthouse/Lightship Weekend is a great opportunity for you to participate in a world-wide celebration of these lifesaving aids to navigation and the men & women who manned them, often enduring extreme weather conditions and isolation.
New Brighton Lighthouse sits at the mouth of the River Mersey at Liverpool, England whose port was once the epicentre of world maritime trade. Photo: Ian Gill / Footloose PhotoBank