King Island’s Accommodation Tallest Lighthouse
The Cape Wickham Lighthouse can be viewed whilst staying at your King Island accommodation. This photo was taken from the top. It’s about a 45 minute drive on mostly sealed roads.
Situated on the northern most tip of King Island, it’s considered to be the tallest lighthouse in the Southern Hemisphere. Completed in 1861, the 48 meter tall edifice is a huge compliment to the builders of that time. It is indeed a beautiful building made of granite quarried from a local source and the exact placement of the huge cut stonework is near perfect in its precision.
Now, a hundred and fifty three years later is still stands as a magnificent monument to the lives it has saved over the years since its erection, again a tribute to its builders, there are very few signs of ageing considering the ravages of the savage weather conditions that can occur on the north west coast of the island. The Cape Wickham lighthouse was only officially opened at the community celebration of its 150th anniversary by Her Excellency Ms Quentin Bryce AC, Governor-General of the Commonwealth of Australia, in November 2011.
Before its construction there had been hundreds of maritime wrecks surrounding the coast and reefs off King Island. To sail around Australia in those days of old meant traveling right around the southern-most point of Tasmania, a long journey; or cut through the Bass Strait which lies between mainland Australia and its southern island state of Tasmania. It was certainly time and cost effective to take the Bass Strait route. There was however at that time a lighthouse in existence on the southern coast of mainland Australia, it was called and still is the Cape Otway Lighthouse which did not give much help to ships veering too close to King Island, and as a result many ships and lives were lost by taking the Bass Strait option or perhaps it could be better phrased as the Bass Strait gamble.
Cape Wickham now stands tall and proud as a testament to the lives it has saved. But save a thought for those early lighthouse keepers of the late 1800’s. This is a remote and windswept corner of the island subject to the worst weather conditions King Island could muster, the nearest civilisation were the fledgling settlements on mainland Australia, it surely would have been extremely hard for those early people.
Pictures of this beautiful island including the lighthouse can be found here