Double Island Point Lightstation

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Rainbow Beach
Cooloola Shire (now 402129)
The Double Island Point Lightstation is significant as a complete and intact example of a lightstation complex in Queensland. Later stages of development have integrated with the original fabric and detail of the lightstation, contributing to the continuum of a complex, dedicated to the single aim of maintaining the navigation aid (Criterion D.2). The position of the tower was chosen by Commander G P Heath, the first Portmaster of Queensland and a significant figure in the development of the Queensland lighthouse service. The tower was constructed by W P Clark, who is of significance as a contractor responsible for a number of Queensland lighthouses (Criterion H.1). The complex, consisting of the tower area and the cottage area explains how the station operated over time and is evidence of the way of life of the number of lightkeepers and their families (Criterion A.4). The Lightstation is significant as part of a system of maritime navigation aids, developed over 200 years, which have made the shipping routes around Australia safe. This network has contributed to the growth and economic development of Australia (Criterion A.4).
The Double Island Point Lightstation is located on the highest part of Double Island Point, 70km north of Noosa Heads. The lightstation reserve is 57.263A and includes all of the high rocky land at the point. The buildings on the lightstation includes the tower area (lighthouse, watch hut, power house and tank farm) and the cottage area (lightkeeper's cottage, assistant keeper's cottage, weather shed, flagpole and associated structures such as a garage and two metal framed sheds). The Chairman of the Queensland Marine Board, Commander George Poynter Heath, first intimated the need for a light on Double Island Point in his 1881 Report to Parliament. A contract for the construction of both the Double Island Point and Pine Islet lights was awarded to William Clark at a cost of 6,900 pounds. Mr Clark had previously been responsible for the erection of tower on Bustard Head, Cape Cleveland and Dent Island. The Double Island Point light was first exhibitied on 11 September 1884. The light was originally fitted with a third order lens and an oil wick burner. In 1923 the illuminant was altered to a 55m vapourised kerosene incandescent burner and the intensity of the light increased from 13,000 to 100,000 candela. Ten years later the light was converted to electric operation. The red domed, white conical tower of timber framed, iron clad construction stands 12m high. It is surmounted by an 8ft 1.5in diameter lantern manufactured by Chance Bros of Birmingham, England. Optical apparatus consists of the original third order 500mm focal radius revolving lens. The light source is a 120 volt 1,000 watt tungsten halogen lamp. The apparatus gives a character of flashing every 7.5 seconds with an intensity of 1,000,000 candelas resulting in a nominal visible range of 26 nautical miles. In 1991, the original optic and electric lamp was removed and replaced with a fully automatic 12 volt lantern with six rotating lens panels, powered by solar panels and lead acid batteries. The luminous range of the new light is 17 nautical miles, compared to 25 nautical miles for the original optic with an electric lamp. The Watch Hut is framed in hardwood and sheeted with asbestos cement. It has a concrete footing and floor and a corrugated asbestos cement roof. This hut was probably constructed in 1933; the previous small watch hut was still standing in 1932, but the existing building was in place in 1940. The watch hut relates to the previous signalling duties of the lighthouse keepers. The Power House is a cavity brick shed, with a reinforced concrete floor slab and ring beam. The power house was constructed in 1980 to replace a previous timber and asbestos cement building. It was built and equipped to provide electric power for the lighthouse and the cottages. The tank farm was constructed to store bulk fuel for the two diesal engines in the power house. In design and construction it appears to be similar to the bulk fuel storage in less remote places, with the possible exceptions of the use of a number of small tanks rather than one large tank. In 1933, the station was substantially reconstructed. The three original cottages near the tower were demolished and new cottages were built on the site first used for the schoolhouse. The new cottages are sited on the crest of the ridge, facing north-east. Once again, the siting of the buildings is apparaently based on function. The two cottages are hardwood framed and are sheeted and lined with asbestos cement. Floors are hardwood, raised on concrete stumps. The roofs were corrugated asbestos cement, but have been resheeted in colorbond corrugated steel. The keepers cottage had an office on the verandah, but this has now been incorporated into a sleep out, and except for the lack of a French light adjacent to where the office was, both cottages are identical. The fixtures and fittings have been updated from time to time, and the cottages have ample tanks for storage of rain water. The weather shack was apparently constructed as a radio shack in 1961, when the radio installation was repositioned from the tower area. It now functions as an office for the keepers, particularly in regard to recording weather observations. The flag pole is made from 75mm diameter galvanised steel tube, with hardwood gallows set in concrete. It has three stainless steel stays. At least one person is buried at Double Island Point. The grave of Fanny Byrne, wife of George Byrne, is located at the foot of a depression to the south of the cottages. The grave is marked with a marble headstone and protected by a picket fence. George Byrne was the head keeper at Double Island Point from February 1886 until July 1900. The grave site has been maintained by the lighthouse keepers, as is evidenced by entries in the log books. The establishment of the lightstation of Double Island Point is the first, and apart from grazing and recreational fishing, the only use of the site following European settlement of Australia. This use has been uninterrupted from 1884 until the present. It is possible that the place also has Aboriginal values although these have yet to be formally assessed.