Macquarie Lighthouse, Sydney, Australia


Because Sydney is surrounded by water, it is only natural that

there should be numerous lighthouses built around the harbour.

They discovered this in the year 1793 when the first settlers needed a

light to guide them to the shores. A makeshift tripod beacon with a

basket containing coal and wood to fuel the fire was erected.


Between 1816 -1818, the very first lighthouse was erected under the direction of Governor Macquarie. The architect was Francis Greenway, a convict who designed several of the impressive Sydney buildings during the early years of its colonial history. He impressed the governor so much that he was subsequently emancipated.


Although the design was superior for its time with a revolving light apparatus that was powered by a mechanism used for clocks flashed every minute, and was visible as far as 22 miles, the new lighthouse was constructed with inferior sandstone material which led to its deterioration within five years.

Light House, Macquarie Lighthouse, Sydney, AU


Here some historical details about the Macquarie Lighthouse:

  • 1878 The lighthouse Greenway had become deteriorated that the local government decided to build a new lighthouse.

  • 1881-1883 The new Macquarie Lighthouse is an exact replica of the first one but his one was designed by James Barnet. This time, stronger
    and sturdier material was used. Also, the crown was built larger to accommodate a larger light apparatus. In addition is the existence of a metal
    gun railing.

The new light apparatus had the following features:

  • The giant lens was a 1st order 16 sided dioptric holophotal revolving white light. It was about two meters in diameter and flashed for 8 seconds every minute and had a range of 25 nautical miles.

  • It was operated with electricity and was considered very efficient at the time.

  • 1912 The light apparatus was converted to vaporized kerosene incandescent mantle system since the old power generators proved to be too expensive to maintain.

  • 1933 With the advent of city electrical supply, the light apparatus was reverted to electricity. A smaller lens was also installed and is still in use today.

  • 1976 The lighthouse became fully automated.

  • 1989 Keepers (the ones who watched the lighthouse and maintained it) were discontinued.

Sydney is home to numerous lighthouses and 35 of these are under the government historic society. A vast majority of these lighthouses were built within a ten year period from 1875-1885 by designer James Barnet, who was Colonial Architect from 1863-1890.