The Lighthouses of Cleveland Point

On a site at the tip of Cleveland Point stood the original Cleveland light. Originally placed there in 1847, it was little more than a wooden pole holding a kerosene lamp. The pole was erected at the expense of Francis Bigge on the understanding that the Government would provide the oil and a person to look after the light. This job fell to the local police constable who looked after it, cleaned the lamp, lit it every night, took it down every morning, and stored it by day in a small sentry box at the base of the pole. To do this, he had to walk half a mile (0.8 k.) each morning and night. However primitive this may have seemed, the light served its purpose of guiding rafters and sailors moving between Brisbane and the Logan Rivers for 17 years.

This light was replaced in 1864 by the more substantial wooden tower (now relocated, as a memorial, to the SW corner of the Cleveland Point reserve). Alfred Winship, the local Customs House officer and first postmaster at Cleveland, was appointed the first keeper of the new lighthouse. He was replaced by James Troy in 1877. Troy was a carpenter and had been employed at Francis Bigge’s sawmill on Cleveland Point. When the mill was demolished in 1867, he had used some of the bricks to construct a new home for himself and his family midway along Cleveland Point. From here, he and his family tended the light at Cleveland lighthouse, morning and evening, from1877 until 1926, thus creating an Australian record in lighthouse keeping for one family. During this period, the illuminant was changed from kerosene to acetylene gas.

From 1927 until 1951 the lighthouse was tended by Charles Klemm. The illuminant was changed to electricity in1934. The wooden lighthouse remained in use until the laser light was commissioned in 1976.

Lighthouse Cleveland Point c1954

The wooden lighthouse remained in use until the laser light was commissioned on the same spot in 1976. The wooden lighthouse was moved to its present site.

Laser light, Cleveland Point

Perhaps, by 2009, and due to bay craft having their own navigation systems, a working lighthouse on Cleveland Point was deemed unnecessary, for in that year it was removed to make way for a movie set, the third in the Narnia series, ‘The Voyage of the Dawn Treader’. Watching the filming was a great interest to locals.

‘Dawn Treader’ at Cleveland Point 2009

After the removal of the ‘Dawn Treader’ at the end of filming, the Point was relanscaped and the old lighthouse renovated as a tourist attraction. The only working lighthouse today remains the Lighthouse Restaurant – where locals and patrons come from all over Brisbane and beyond to enjoy a cup of coffee or a seafood meal.

Lighthouse Restaurant, Cleveland Point

One thought on “The Lighthouses of Cleveland Point

  1. Dear Peter,
    Sybil Daughter of TR Hall and Sister of Jack Ramsay Hall Married into the Winship Family. Hence, I have this as one of my recoreds in our family tree now.
    Thanks,
    Robin x

    Liked by 1 person

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