Wollongong’s harbour, in my opinion, is one of its most beautiful features. The shallow shores of Belmore Basin, wrapped in rock pools, walking track and boats leading all the way up to Flagstaff’s panoramic juiciness. One feature of this extended slither are the lighthouses that sit partially dormant at two neighbourly points of call, they are the Breakwater Light and the Lighthouse on Flagstaff Point. Beyond undoubted visions of a salty, white-bearded soul manning the strobe light operation, it is important to note that Wollongong’s dual-lighthouse endowment is only found here. Yes, we are the only place in Australia with two lighthouses.
The Breakwater Lighthouse. A magnificently nautical tribute to the modern movement of architecture – even if it wasn’t intended. The cylinder of steel stands just shy of 13 metres, bolstering a 12mm-think iron skin, unwaning against sea spray or wave. Edward Moriarty spearheaded the design campaign that saw an 1871 unveiling, not only of the physical structure but also of Australia’s engineering prowess reaching parity with the industrialised Europe. The Breakwater Light guided ships safe passage until made redundant by it’s concrete brethren, circa 1925. Luckily, a full restoration in 2000 sustains our original boat beacon.
The Wollongong Light, a 40 metre statement of inter-war construction capacity, broadcasts a much more pure form with its vertically grooved shank and dot-dash balcony. Fun facts abundant, this was the first lighthouse built in Australia by the Commonwealth government, once they took control of such operations in the beginning of the 19th century. Beyond such exhilarations, the Wollongong light was one of Australia’s first slipform constructions, a method of building and then using that level as a platform for the next. Cool.
What more can be said of these two white ladies other than the gorgeous uniqueness they bring to Wollongong.