HOME OF THE LADY DENMAN - Local history isn't always about the big story - the everyday story of life in the early development of the region can be a fascinating, entertaining and educational journey.

12 December 2017

Crookhaven Heads Lighthouse

IMG_5570As it appeared in 1908.

The Crookhaven Headland where after a short walk you will find the remains of the lighthouse.
imageAs it appeared in 1905. This shows the headland almost cleared of trees and scrub.

Early today I took a walk out to the Crookhaven Heads Lighthouse,  It has been quite a few years since I last visited the historic lighthouse and I didn't know what to expect considering the state it was in on my last visit.


During the age of sail and coastal steamers, Crookhaven Heads was a busy waterway, being the only access to Shoalhaven River vessels would cross the shifting sandbars in all sorts of weather taking their cargo and passengers to and from Nowra. The lighthouse played a vital roll in providing safe navigation through these sometime treacherous waters.

1872 - A red light made from a ship's masthead light supported on two poles was exhibited by boatmen at the river entrance.

1882  - The first aid to navigation was a timber light,  constructed on the beach 200 meters to the west of the current lighthouse consisting of a brass lantern.

1904 – The current brick structure was built on the headland overlooking the entrance to the river. The lantern was from the former Cape St George Lighthouse which was replaced by Point Perpendicular Lighthouse in 1899.  The name of the station was then changed to Crookhaven Heads.


The lighthouse today is in a very sorry condition
Today the headland is covered in well grown trees and scrup hiding the lighthouse from view, it's isolation has seen continuous vandalism over many years with all the windows smashed, doors ripped off, graffiti scribbled from top to bottom over the inside of the building and rubbish strewn about.  Attempts to secure the building have seen the main windows fitted with steel panels inside and out,  a steel slat door stops vandals from accessing the old stairwell.


1909 - The lighthouse was completely renovated but due to its isolated and overgrown location, this community work was quickly undone and we find the old light as it is today.  A recent repaint of the outside has what remains looking clean and tidy, I wonder how long this will last.

Untitled_Panorama1Photo from my last visit in 2010.

2010 – Because of continued vandalisation the historic lantern was carefully disassembled in December 2011 and removed from the location by a navy helicopter from HMAS Albatross for restoration.

IMG_5568Permanently fixed heavy steel bars across the doorway blocking entry to the tower stairs.

Vandalism 2017.
What will become of this historic monument?

The headland still dominates the entrance to Crookhaven River and now has a sinle automated light on top of a steel pole.

The waterway is still busy, with trawlers and pleasure boats coming and going on a daily basis.  The Pilot station still monitors all boating in and out of the river and plays  a vital roll in the safety of sea farers today.

I have done a few posts on Crookhaven Heads which include many of the ships that came to grief in and around the entrance to the river.  It's quite a fascinating tale and well worth reading.
Continue reading.


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