Cape Byron Lighthouse by Odille Esmonde-Morgan

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On the morning I had decided to set off early for sunrise at Cape Byron in November 2010, I woke up nice and early – 3am, it’s a 45 min drive and we have daylight saving. I’d assembled everything the day before, charged the batteries, cleared the media cards, made the coffee bag ready. I just had to boil the kettle for the thermos and get dressed.

And it’s raining – and I mean pelting down. I’d hoped for gorgeous red skies etc. I lay under my nice warm doona with my Siamese of the bedchamber, Miss Honey Bunny, cuddled up beside me and I nearly didn’t go! In the end I had a quick peek at the weather radar online and decided as I’d gone to all the trouble . . . and clouds might be interesting . . . So glad I did!

Read the history of the lighthouse below

And I have been honoured to have this work FEATURED by the following group(s):
Beach, River & Lake Treasures
All About Lighthouses

And as a Top Ten winner in the April (2011) Avatar Challenge in that group
Artist’s Universe – 22 June 2011 and placed in the Permanent features gallery of that group
In and Around Brisbane and Your Country’s Best – both on 22 June 2011
In and Around Byron – 25 June 2011
‘Real’ Life Photography and in Elite Images – 12 August 2011
Going Coastal – 14 August 2011
A Top Ten Placegetter (and the Challenge image) in the Lighthouses Challenge in the Cover SHots Group in September 2011

Another image from the same trip:

Also available as an inspirational T-shirt – check my T-shirts and sticker collection

The Cape Byron Lighthouse is Australia’s most easterly light being situated on the most easterly point of the mainland. It is also Australia’s most powerful Lighthouse. It was constructed of prefabricated concrete blocks in 1901 and is (of course) Australia’s most easterly lighthouse at Latitude 028° 38.4’ S. Longitude 153° 38.1’ E.

It is built in the James Barnet style, by his successor, Charles Harding. James Barnet, the New South Wales colonial architect, was renowned for his towers having large ornate crowns and so they are easily distinguished.

The first-order optical lens, which weighs 8 tonnes, was made by the French company, Societe des Establishment, Henry Lepante, Paris. It contains 760 pieces of highly polished prismatic glass.

The original concentric six wick burner was 145,000 cd (candle power). This was replaced in 1922 by a vapourised kerosene mantle burner which gave an illumination of 500,000 cd.

In 1956, the light became Australia’s most powerful, at 2,200,00 cd when it was converted to mains electricity. At the same time the clock mechanism was replaced by an electric motor.

An auxiliary fixed red light is also exhibited from the tower to cover Juan and Julian Rocks to the north east.

A great banquet was arranged for the opening in 1901 and many dignitaries, including the NSW Premier of the day John See, were invited. However due to adverse weather conditions the Premier’s ship was delayed by till the following day and the banquet was held without him. The opening by the Premier took place a day late on the Sunday.

It is interesting to note that Cape Byron was named by Captain Cook after John Byron, grandfather of the famous poet.

Operated by the Australian Maritime Safety Authority, the lighthouse is at an elevation of 118metres, and its 2,200,000 cd 1000W 120 Volt tungsten halogen lamp flashes white every 15 seconds, having a range of 27 nautical miles (40 kilometres).

The ownership of the reserve was handed over to the Parks and Wildlife Service of New South Wales in 1998. The reserve was already under a lease to the Cape Byron Headland Reserve Trust who maintain and secure the site and buildings. It is currently used as a base for whale watching.

And you can experience the lifestyle of former lighthouse keepers as the fully refurbished, heritage-listed cottages are available for overnight stays. Located in Cape Byron State Conservation Area on the headland near the most easterly point of the Australian mainland the Assistant Lighthouse Keepers Cottages offer one of the areas truly unique holiday experiences. A national park holiday you won’t forget!

These two separate heritage cottages have been renovated with period furniture and modern appliances so that your stay is comfortable. Watch the dolphins, turtles and whales playing in the sanctuary of the Cape Byron Marine Park and enjoy 360 degree views of Byron Bay’s coastline and surrounding world heritage national parks.

See for details

Shot with Hasselblad H2, PhaseOneP20 back & 80mm f2.8 lens

In the late 1970s I completed the 2 years of a 4 yr Professional Photography Cert at TAFE, but was defeated by the physics of lenses.
In 2004 I bought my first DSLR & now shoot full time with medium format digital and professional Canon DSLRs.
I provide tuition to small groups via photography workshops for small groups (max 5) and Photoshop PP classes, and conduct small group photography tours to Australian & (soon) NZ destinations.

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  • Poete100
    Poete100over 4 years ago

    Spectacular photography here…love the place and lighthouse!!!

  • Thanks Lorraine, I loved the way the fence led up to it, this shot was a standout on the digital proofsheet when I loaded them up.

    – Odille Esmonde-Morgan

  • Audrey Clarke
    Audrey Clarkeover 4 years ago

  • myraj
    myrajover 4 years ago

    Fantastic shot. The reading was very interesting. Thank you for sharing the information.

  • Thanks, myraj, I think it always makes it nicer to know the who, where, what and when – as they are applicable. I realise we have a lot of non -Aussies who may never have heard of it.

    – Odille Esmonde-Morgan

  • David Haworth
    David Haworthover 4 years ago

    Nice to see the lighthouse in stormy weather.. very suitable

  • Yes, it was an early morning shot, I went for sunrise and got these lovely clouds.

    – Odille Esmonde-Morgan

  • Evita
    Evitaover 4 years ago

    Beautiful capture !!! ☺♥

  • Thanks, Evita

    – Odille Esmonde-Morgan

  • Monica M. Scanlan
    Monica M. Scanlanover 4 years ago

    Wonderful work!!!! Congratulations!!!

  • Thanks Monica, lovely to be featured!

    – Odille Esmonde-Morgan

  • Bellavista2
    Bellavista2about 4 years ago

    “Congratulations Odille!” Your Stunning Cape Bryon Lighthouse, has just been Featured in the “Beach,River and Lake Treasures Group”. Now you have the wonderful opportunity to enter our March Featured Members Challenge. “Goodluck!”


  • Thanks so much for the feature

    – Odille Esmonde-Morgan

  • John44
    John44about 4 years ago

    Absolutely gorgeous!

  • Thanks John

    – Odille Esmonde-Morgan

  • Sheri Bawtinheimer
    Sheri Bawtinhe...about 4 years ago

    Congrats on the feature.
    Love the dark sky brewing in behind the light house.

  • Thanks Sheri, they were wonderful clouds, worth the early start and drive

    – Odille Esmonde-Morgan

  • Sharon Kavanagh
    Sharon Kavanaghabout 4 years ago

    Glad you decided to go also… Great image and congrats on the feature too…

  • Thanks Sharon, clouds are often more interesting!

    – Odille Esmonde-Morgan

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