A signal station was set up at Low Head in 1805. It is Australia’s oldest continuously used pilot station.
The lightstation, established in 1833, was Australia’s third and Tasmania’s second.
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In 1808, the Hebe was wrecked on the rocks at the mouth to the Tamar, thence giving them its name. Altogether, a dozen ships were wrecked in the Tamar over the next 100 years.
A pilots and a signal station was established at Low Head (Georgetown) in 1805 and is Australia’s oldest continuously used pilot station. Current buildings date from 1838.
When a sail was sighted at dusk, a fire was lit and kept burning all night to keep the vessel in touch with the port.
After a review of pilotage in 1827 it was resolved to build a lighthouse at Low Head.
The tower was built in 1833. It was constructed of local rubble with a coat of stucco to make the structure durable and to provide a worthwhile landmark. The crown was built of freestone from Launceston.
The keepers’ quarters consisted of four rooms attached to the base of the tower. The only case of the quarters being attached in any Tasmanian lighthouse.
The tower was 15.25 metres from top to bottom. The lantern room was built of timber in Launceston.
It had been designed by the then Colonial Architect John Lee Archer who was responsible for the design of many other Tasmanian lights.
The original apparatus was provided by a Mr. W Hart of Launceston. He supplied “six dozen lamps, including reflectors, at three shillings and sixpence each”.
This first light was known as the ‘Georgetown Station’.
It is Australia’s third and Tasmania’s second lighthouse built.
Conditions were poor on the early Tasmanian lightstations. Low head was no exception, being manned by a superintendent (headkeeper) and two convict assistants who were locked in their quarters overnight.
In 1835, the light was upgraded by installation of a revolving shutter which was rotated by a weight-driven clockwork mechanism.
In April 1838, the original tin reflectors and Argand lamps were replaced by a new revolving lens array from Wilkins and Co of London, UK. In 1851, the candelas were increased, but no figures are quoted.
Taken with Panasonic Lumix DMC-FH1 point & shoot.