Lighthouse records held in Brisbane – Fact sheet 233

During the mid-nineteenth century new ports were being developed along Queensland’s north coast, including Mackay in 1860 and Bowen in 1864. To reach these ports ships had to navigate the dangerous waters inside the Great Barrier Reef. At this time Queensland had only one lighthouse – on Moreton Island – which had been built by the New South Wales government in 1857. In 1864 a select committee of the Queensland Legislative Assembly recommended that four lighthouses be built: Cape Byron (on the northern New South Wales coast), Sandy Cape, Cape Capricorn and Bustard Head. The first – at Bustard Head – was completed in 1868. Many Queensland lighthouses were built by 1915 when the Commonwealth government took responsibility for the function.

Record holdings

The National Archives holds records relating to the operation of Queensland lighthouses. Dating from 1854 these include drawings, logbooks and weather reports of individual lighthouses as well as central administration records. Records relating to lightships are also held.

Most of these records are held in Brisbane. You can identify many of them by conducting searches for items using the RecordSearch database. Samples of the types of records held are listed below.

Lighthouse drawings and plans

General administrative and staffing records

Examples of records on particular Queensland lighthouses

Booby Island

 Title or description of recordDate rangeSeries number
ItemLight station log books1934–60BP306/5
SeriesLight station visitors books1976–92J2524

Bustard Head

 Title or description of recordDate rangeSeries number
SeriesLight station log books1962–86J1135
SeriesLight station log books1935–62 BP306/6
SeriesLight station visitors books1961–86J1132
SeriesRegister of equipment1915–53BP306/17
SeriesLight station daily shipping logs1954–61BP306/2

Cape Cleveland

 Title or description of recordDate rangeSeries number
SeriesLight station log books1935–61BP306/7
SeriesLight station log books1971–87J2513

Cape Moreton

 Title or description of recordDate rangeSeries number
SeriesLight station log books1959–66BP306/8
SeriesLight station log books1966–91J2514
SeriesLight station visitors books1973–87J2873

Dent Island

 Title or description of recordDate rangeSeries number
SeriesLight station log books1935–66BP306/9
SeriesLight station log books1970–87J2518
SeriesLight station daily shipping logs1952–58BP306/4

Double Island Point

 Title or description of recordDate rangeSeries number
SeriesLight station log books1936–65BP306/10
SeriesLight station log books1965–90J2515

Lady Elliott Island

 Title or description of recordDate rangeSeries number
SeriesLight station log books1936–59BP306/12
SeriesLight station log books1971–88J2519

Sandy Cape

 Title or description of recordDate rangeSeries number
SeriesLight station log books1936–67BP306/16
SeriesLight station log books1971–90J2522

Other holdings of records about lighthouses

Records about Queensland lighthouses in the period before Federation are also held by Queensland State Archives.

For information about records on other Australian lighthouses held by the National Archives, see:

Copyright National Archives of Australia 2014