Tacking Point Lighthouse

Infobox_lighthouse|name=Tacking Point Lighthouse
location=Port Macquarie

caption= Tacking Point Lighthouse, Port Macquarie
coordinates = 31°28.2'S 152°56.2'E
yearlit= 1879
automated= 1919
intensity= 12,800 cd
elevation= 34 m
range= 16 nautical miles
construction= Cement-rendered bricks
marking=White tower with storeroom attached
height=8 m
characteristic=Fl. (4) 120s
fogsignal =
admiralty = K2788
NGA = 6024

Tacking Point Lighthouse is Australia's third oldest lighthouse. It was built on a rocky headland about 8 kilometres south of Port Macquarie in 1879 by Shepard and Mortley, to a design by the New South Wales government's architect of the time, James Barnet. It is operated by the Australian Maritime Safety Authority and is classified by the National Trust of Australia (NSW).

Tacking Point was named by explorer Matthew Flinders in 1802 during his 1802-1803 circumnavigation of Australia. [Darroch, Donald (2003) "East Coast Australia: Sydney to Cairns", Footprint Travel Guides, p. 183]

Its nearest lighthouses are Smoky Cape Lighthouse at South West Rocks, to the north, and Crowdy Head Lighthouse, to the south.


In the mid-nineteenth century, there were few lights in the Tacking Point area and over 20 ships were wrecked. The first wrecks occurred in 1823 and were the schooner "Black Joe" and the steamer "Sumatra". [ [http://www.about-australia.com/travel-guides/new-south-wales/north-coast-nsw/attractions/historic-site/tacking-point-lighthouse/ Tacking Point Lighthouse, "about-australia.com"] ] Consequently, in 1879, a fixed catadioptric light of less than 1000 candelas was erected on Tacking Point. It was the fourth of five small navigational lighthouses built to a design by James Barnet. [http://www.hastings.nsw.gov.au/www/html/1062-tacking-point-lighthouse.asp Port Macquarie-Hastings Council: Tacking Point Lighthouse] ] The other four lighthouses were at Crowdy Head, Fingal River, Richmond River and Yamba. [http://www.lighthouse.net.au/lights/Bulletin/0312/Bulletin%20Dec%2003.htm#Byron Letter by Editor Steve Merson, "Bulletin of the Lighthouses of Australia, Inc", No. 8, December 2003] ] Only two of these lighthouses, Tacking Point and Crowdy Bay, had a storeroom attached.

The lighthouse was built of cement-rendered bricks and only needed to be 8 metres high due to the elevation of the site. In 1919, the light was was converted from wick oil light to automatic acetylene operation, and was demanned in 1920. [http://www.lighthouse.net.au/lights/NSW/Tacking%20Point/Tacking%20Point.htm Lighthouses of New South Wales: Tacking Point Lighthouse] ] The light was converted to mains electricity in 1974. The foundations of the keeper's cottage are still visible.

Management of the lighthouse is shared by three government authorities: the New South Wales Department of Lands owns the lighthouse; the New South Wales Maritime Authority operates the light; and the Port Macquarie-Hastings Council manages the site. Vandalism has been a problem in the early 2000s. Resolving the issue has been complicated by the split management.


The Lighthouse headland marks the end of the circa 9 km Coastal Walk from Town Beach to Lighthouse Beach being built by the Port Macquarie-Hastings Council. The lighthouse is also a popular site for whale watching. [http://www.lighthouse.net.au/lIGhtS/Bulletin/0507/tackibg_point.htm "Tacking Point Lighthouse vandalised again", "Lighthouses of Australia, Inc. Bulletin", 8 (4) July/August 2005] ] The area is used for surfing and there is a surf life-saving club at the neighbouring Lighthouse Beach.




* [http://www.lighthouse.net.au/lights/NSW/Tacking%20Point/Tacking%20Point.htm Lighthouses of New South Wales: Tacking Point Lighthouse] Accessed: 2008-08-24
* [http://www.unc.edu/~rowlett/lighthouse/nsw.htm New South Wales Lighthouses] Accessed: 2008-08-24
* [http://www.hastings.nsw.gov.au/www/html/1062-tacking-point-lighthouse.asp Port Macquarie-Hastings Council: Tacking Point Lighthouse] Accessed: 2008-08-24
* [http://www.about-australia.com/travel-guides/new-south-wales/north-coast-nsw/attractions/historic-site/tacking-point-lighthouse/ Tacking Point Lighthouse] Accessed: 2008-08-24

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