Tom’s got something to say

Guest Blog

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I thought Lynne’s readers might enjoy learning more about the Deal Island lighthouse.

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Unlike the other lighthouses where we’ve served as caretakers—5 Finger, Alaska; Seguin, Maine; Bakers, Mass.—the lighthouse is 2.5 miles away from our house. It’s also 700 feet up and a total of almost 1,000 feet above sea level.

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Needless to say, we don’t go up every day. When visitors to the island wish to see the lighthouse, we hand them the key and wish them a good time.

The light is no longer functional and has been replaced by automated lights on 2 small, neighboring islands. Supposedly, the lighthouse was decommissioned because, being so high, it was obscured in clouds half the time. Well, that’s from the perspective of Wilson’s Promontory on the mainland, 43 miles away. Duh. In the almost 6 months total we’ve spent here, it’s been covered a handful of times. I’m sure the reason it was replaced had more to do with money. There is no place for a helicopter to land near the lighthouse and we’re in the middle of Bass Straight.

The tower houses a gorgeous first order Fresnel lens, not unlike the beauty on Seguin Island. Visitors are allowed to get up close to it, even walk inside. Unfortunately, the building is suffering. There have been a couple of major fires on the island which reached the lighthouse and cracked the exterior walls. It blows like crazy up there and these cracks allow moisture in the walls and now small pieces are starting to fall out. Grants to repair the lighthouse have so far been unsuccessful. At least, the temperature doesn’t go below freezing or it would be a pile of rubble!

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One thought on “Tom’s got something to say

  1. Thank you Tim for a most insightful and accurate synopsis of the situation re Deal Island Lighthouse. What a feat of 19th century engineering – a beautifully designed and built tower – instrumental in the Federation of the Australian nation. Now, in her time of need, Australian governmental bodies (both Federal and State) have, to date, turned their backs on this integral piece of Australia’s heritage. Friends of Deal Island will carry the lobby to have this iconic tower referbished before deterioration brings it down.

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