Your Comprehensive Guide To The Capeschanck Lighthouse
During the 1800's, shipping traffic into the city of Melbourne along what we now know as the Mornington Peninsula increased drastically (as goods were taken from Western Port Bay into Port Phillip Bay and vice versa), which led to a large increase in the number of shipwrecks. In 1841, a committee was established and charged with the task of finding an ideal location for the construction of a brand new lighthouse; 18 years later construction on the Capeschanck Lighthouse commenced and it was officially opened in 1859, making it only the second station built in Victoria.
The Capeschanck Lighthouse has been constructed out of limestone blocks that were painted white at the station's completion. The lighthouse also features a decorative bracketed gallery that winds itself around the top, as well as tapered window and door openings that were popular of the time. The station also features a stone spiral staircase, a rare characteristic; it is one of only three surviving lighthouses constructed before 1863 to possess such a feature. The station stands at 21 metres tall and sits 100 metres above sea level, allowing the light to penetrate 26 nautical miles across the Bass Strait.
The current lantern apparatus was installed sometime during 1915, replacing the original flame that burned through long nights. Upgrades were made to this lantern in subsequent years to ensure that it remained up to the task of directing ships away from the perilous cliffs. The Capeschanck Lighthouse was renovated during the late 1970's and the early 1980's (including a refurbishment of the lantern) by the Australian Maritime Safety Authority and Parks Victoria (who are charged with looking after the station).
These days, the Capeschanck Lighthouse (located on the southern most point of the Mornington Peninsula) is a great tourist attraction; the old assistant light keepers' quarters have been turned into a museum and tours of the entire lighthouse run between 10am and 4pm daily. Accommodation is also available on the grounds, either in the original head keepers' cottage (built in 1859 and sleeping 8), the inspectors' room (which sleeps 2), the museum cottage (built in 1887 and sleeping 4) and the red cottage (built in 1929 and sleeping 8).
The ground surrounding the Capeschanck Lighthouse have also been carefully cultivated by Parks Victoria, giving guests to the property plenty of ways to spend their time. Picnic tables and BBQs have been provided for guest convenience, as have the many walks that meander their way through the brush or along the cliffs. During the right season, the lighthouse is also a great spot to do a little whale watching.
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