Lighthouse records in Tasmania – Fact sheet 122

Elevation drawing of South Bruny Lighthouse Light Tower, 1850
South Bruny Lighthouse Light Tower, 1850 (NAA: P1715, 438)

The first lighthouse in Tasmania was erected on Iron Pot Islet at the mouth of the Derwent River in 1832 to guide ships to the port of Hobart. Construction of lights around the Tasmanian coast and nearby islands to mark hazards and assist navigation continued through the rest of the nineteenth century. The administration of coastal lighthouses became a Commonwealth responsibility with Federation in 1901, but the transfer of control did not occur until 1915 when the Lighthouses Act 1911 came into effect.

Records held

The Hobart Office holds records relating to the operation of manned Tasmanian lighthouses dating from the 1850s to the 1960s. These include records of individual lighthouses, such as logbooks, weather reports and visitors’ books, as well as more general records, including correspondence files of lighthouse and coastal navigation administration in Tasmania. Details of major record holdings are listed below. A more complete list of holdings is available from the Hobart Office.

General records relating to Tasmanian lighthouses

Examples of record holdings of individual Tasmanian lighthouses

 Title or description of recordDate rangeSeries number
SeriesCape Bruny – Lightstation log books1882–1996P783
SeriesCape Bruny – Visitors books1957–96P1191
SeriesCape Bruny – monthly record of fog1919–62P1117
SeriesCape Bruny – monthly returns of weather1918–62P1119
SeriesCape Bruny – journal of weather reports1886–1917P1190
SeriesCape Bruny – meteorological observations1875–86P1192
SeriesCape Sorell – Lightstation log books1917–71P782
SeriesCape Sorell – Visitors books1918–71P775
SeriesCape Sorell – monthly record of fog1921–62P1151
SeriesCape Sorell – monthly returns of weather1919–62P1152
SeriesCape Wickham – Lightstation journals1861–1918P2426
SeriesCurrie Harbour – monthly record of fog1919–41P1145
SeriesCurrie Harbour – lighstation journals and monthly returns1880–1988P1147
SeriesDeal Island – Lightstation log books1920–92P1113
SeriesDeal Island – monthly returns of weather1919–62P1171
SeriesDeal Island – monthly record of fog1920–62P1173
SeriesEddystone Point – Lightstation log book1889–1993P784
SeriesEddystone Point – Visitors books1932–93P777
SeriesEddystone Point – monthly returns of weather1919–62P1140
SeriesEddystone Point – monthly record of fog1920–62P1141
SeriesGoose Island – journal of weather reports1915–17P1166
SeriesGoose Island – monthly returns of weather1926–30P1167
SeriesLow Head – Lightstation log books1937–94P786
SeriesLow Head – stores book for the lighthouse1896–1926P1155
SeriesLow Head – monthly returns of weather1919–62P1158
SeriesLow Head – monthly record of fog1920–62P1160
SeriesMaatsuyker Island – Lightstation log books1893–1999P781
SeriesMaatsuyker Island – monthly record of fog1919–62P1124
SeriesMaatsuyker Island – monthly returns of weather1919–62P1125
SeriesMaatsuyker Island – Weather reports1935–38P1194
SeriesSwan Island – Lightstation log books1867–1986P778
SeriesSwan Island – Visitors books1919–86P1588
SeriesSwan Island – monthly record of fog1921–62P1135
SeriesSwan Island – monthly returns of weather1919–62P1136
SeriesTasman Island – Lightstation log books1906–76P779
SeriesTasman Island – monthly returns of weather1931–62P1163
SeriesTasman Island – monthly record of fog1928–58P1164
SeriesTasman Island – Weather reports1935–38P1194

Further information

Tasmanian lighthouses

Records for lighthouses located at Cape Forestier, Circular Head, Iron Pot Islet (Derwent Light), Emu Bay, Hunter Island, Mersey Bluff, Table Cape and Three Hummock Island, are held by other offices of the National Archives. Keyword searches on RecordSearch using the name of the lighthouse will identify records of interest.

Other lighthouses in Australia

Records held by the Archives Office of Tasmania

Many relevant records for the period before Federation are held by the Archives Office of Tasmania, part of the Tasmanian Archive and Heritage Office.

Copyright National Archives of Australia 2019