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Lighthouses of Sydney Harbour

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Postby mitko » Tue May 01, 2012 4:59 am


Sydney harbour is very scenic area and it is really great place for lighthouses hunters :) Good way to see some of them is to take trip on Sydney Ferries from Sydney (main wharf is Circular Quay in the City) to Manly (suburb of Sydney).
First light on the way will be Fort Denison lighthouse, built in 1913 on the top of 19th century fort (all images below are clickable)
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Robertson's Point (1910) is next one on the port side just after Fort Denison.
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Next lighthouse is very simular to Robertson Point - Bradley's Head light:
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Postby mitko » Tue May 01, 2012 5:00 am


Then to starboard of the ferry - Shark Island light:
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In the middle of harbour two lighthouses constructed in the water. Red is Western Channel Pile Light:
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And green - Eastern Channel Pile Light
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Postby mitko » Tue May 01, 2012 5:00 am


All these lights are quite small - no more than 8-9 meters of elevation. But in the gateway to harbour there are 2 more "advanced" lights. First is Hornby (South Head Lower) Lighthouse, oldest in the area (1858):
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And MacQuarie (South Head Upper) Lighthouse (highest and most powerful - range is 25 nm), constructed 1883:
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Postby mitko » Tue May 01, 2012 5:01 am


Additionally in Sydney you could find 2 lights in National Australian Maritime museum (Darling Harbour).
First is Cape Bowling Lighthouse (1874, rellocated here in 1987):
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And Lightship CLS-4 (Carpentaria) - she served from 1917 to 1987 in the Queensland:
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And the last one very unisial:
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Yes, you're right this is water tower. But additionaly it is included to the Admiralty list of lights as K2653 (red and white light, occulting every 3 seconds) :)
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Postby tinypiney » Tue May 01, 2012 11:26 am


Sydney Harbour is my kind of place! If only I lived in Australia :)
"Inside my empty bottle I was constructing a lighthouse while all the others were making ships."
-Charles Simic
"Lighthouses are more useful than churches."
-Benjamin Franklin
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Postby Kevin vk2ce » Tue May 01, 2012 4:14 pm


Thanks for that post Mitko. I thought I knew most of the larger lights in Sydney Harbour but I had not heard of the water tower on South Head peninsula. I suspect it was put there many years ago when the Flying Boat aircraft flew in and out of Rose Bay which is just West of that peninsula.

Tiny, you should get your parents to take a holiday in Sydney sometime.
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Postby island » Tue May 01, 2012 8:16 pm


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Postby tinypiney » Wed May 02, 2012 5:54 am


Kevin - there are five people in my household and they wouldn't appreciate the lighthouses. Also, I doubt we'd ever have enough money to do so. :(
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Postby Kevin vk2ce » Wed May 02, 2012 5:59 am


Tiny, I appreciate the situation. We had 3 kids too and money was scarce. You'll have to put Sydney on your own bucket list and make it happen some day.
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Postby Kevin vk2ce » Wed May 02, 2012 6:01 am


Thanks for big pic Island. As a mater of interest that area of Sydney is where the rich people live, Vaucluse. Most of those houses would bring over 1 or 2 million at auction.
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Postby island » Wed May 02, 2012 8:02 pm


The light on the water tower is described as a 3 second occulting sectored light; red 84-97.5 degrees, white 97.5-165 degrees, obscured 165-84 degrees. It is 120 feet above sea level but visible only 4nm, a weak light. It may well have served to aid landing of the Flying Boats though it may presently have other purposes. Inquiry of the Australia lighthouse authorities might provide answers as to the history and present purpose of this light.
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Postby Kevin vk2ce » Wed May 02, 2012 8:31 pm


Dave, I was quite surprised to see it listed in Vol K of the Admiralty Lists. I would not classify it as a lighthouse by any means so the Australian Maritime Safety Authority may not be the people to talk to as the lighthouse authority. The local Council would probably be the owners of the structure but I suspect the light is mainly for air navigation in view of the height of the tower.
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Postby island » Wed May 02, 2012 9:52 pm


The Admiralty list I found on the internet did not include K2653. I found a lot of info about the Rose Bay terminal but I could not determine the location of this water tower on Sydney maps from which I could project the light sector lines. It was very interesting reading about the history of the Rose Bay Flying Boats and I found this old aerial photo of Rose Bay.

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This aerial photo of the Sydney/Rose Bay flying boat base c.1942-43 is taken from Edgar Johnston's personal Copy No. 7 of the wartime RAAF directory Flying Boat Bases and Alighting Areas, dated June 1943, held in the CAHS archives. This view looks north out over Sydney Harbour. The Rose Bay terminal is immediately beneath the right fluke of the anchor symbol and the Qantas Empire Airways hangar can be seen to the immediate lower right of the terminal, on the promontory jutting into the bay. (The object above the A is Shark Island)

http://www.seaplanes.com.au/content_common/pg-history-of-flying-boats-in-rose-bay.seo
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Postby Kevin vk2ce » Thu May 03, 2012 12:23 am


My Vol K has it lised as 2653 Vaucluse Water Tower 35 51.8S 151 16.4E Oc WR 3s, 129 metres asl, 4 miles range.

I have marked it with a yellow pin on this reduced Google Earth image. After the war, 1945, the flying boats provided a regular civilian passenger service to and from Norfolk Island which did not have an adequate landing strip for wheeled aircraft. I didn't see any mention of that on the other web page either.

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Postby island » Thu May 03, 2012 3:30 pm


In this Rose Bay map the tower and a large round white top water clarifier(?) are in a rectangular plot at the end of the road extending north from Towns Road.
http://maps.google.com/maps?hl=en&q=rose+bay+map&psj=1&bav=on.2,or.r_gc.r_pw.r_qf.,cf.osb&biw=1016&bih=554&um=1&ie=UTF-8&ei=UYOiT4j8AZS-0QGD2dnVDA&sa=X&oi=mode_link&ct=mode&cd=3&ved=0CAoQ_AUoAg

From the light sector bearings it appears that Shark Island in the bay entrance is at the center of the red sector of the water tower light thus this light identifies the location of this island when approaching the bay from the harbor. The white sector is seen to the east of this island.

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I found considerable history of Norfolk but very little mention of airboat service. There is more about service to Lord Howe where a launch was used to accommodate passengers.
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