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Point Stephens Lighthouse Group

Source: Go to the Register of the National Estate for more information.
Identifier: 1320
Location: Fingal Bay
Port Stephens Shire
State: NSW
Country: Australia
Statement of
Point Stephens Lightstation, built in 1862 and comprising of the Lighthouse and remnants of the Light Keepers' Quarters (three conjoined cottages) is significant as an assemblage of buildings which demonstrate the establishment and evolution of an Australian lighthouse over time. (Criterion A.4)

The Lightstation is significant for its association with Alexander Dawson, the Colonial Architect of New South Wales in the period 1858-62. Comparatively few substantial complete buildings of his design were constructed, and the lighthouse and residence is a significant example of his work. (Criterion H.1)
Description: Point Stephens Lightstation occupies the tip of Point Stephens which is at various times connected to the mainland by a sand spit. The high point of the point is Mount Stephens, 77m above sea level. On the shore line is a band of hard igneous rock. The island is vegetated by a low heath.

The lighthouse is situated on the south-east extremity and approximately 13m to the north is the remains of the three burnt out stone lighthouse keepers residences and several out buildings with roofs intact, which are contemporary with the tower. Also on the complex is a pair of sheds and two septic tanks which date from the 1950s. The precinct also has a rubbish tip and fuel shed dating from the 1950s. The wharf precinct contains remains of a ninteenth century wharf and concrete tracks, rock cutting and iron fixings.

The first European encounter with Port Stephens was made by Captain James Cook during the voyage of the Endeavour. Cook named the port after a Secretary of the Admiralty of the time. The Lighthouse is circular in plan with an internal diameter of 10ft (3m) and divided into four storeys. All the floor and stairs are of iron. The elevation of the tower is unusual in it being of a bell curve profile with a concave batter. The tower itself is entered by a flight of stone steps with a landing at first level. Originally, the lower floor was utilised as the oil store for the light. For further information regarding the Point Stephens Lighthouse refer to File No 1/9/64/2, RR No 001321 in the Australian Heritage Commission Register of the National Estate Database.

Accommodation for the Head Keeper and two Assistant Keepers were provided originally in a terrace of three single storey cottages. The Head Keeper's Cottage had six rooms, and the Assistant Keepers having three rooms each. All cottages were provided wtih kitchens, storerooms and privies. The building was gutted by fire in September 1991. For further information regarding the Point Stephens Light Keepers' Quarters, refer to File No 1/9/64/3, RR No 1322 in the Australian Heritage Commission Register of the National Estate Database.

Prior to the opening of the Point Stephens lighthouse twenty four vessels were known to have been wrecked in the area. The most serious of these was the wreck of the Dove in 1828 with the loss of seven lives, and the Pandora in 1836 with five lives. One of the reasons for these misfortunes was the mistaking by mariners of the entrance to Fingal Bay for that of Port Stephens. The Point Stephens Lightstation was also established to assist vessels entering Port Stephens.

Report produced : 30/7/2015
AHPI URL : http://www.heritage.gov.au/ahpi/search.html