Early New South Wales lighthouses – designed by the Colonial Architect
Lighthouse structures in colonial NSW were unique in that many of them were architect designed, and are easily recognisable as being designed by James Barnet, NSW Colonial Architect from 1865 to 1890. It was part of Barnet\’s vision to create a highway of lights along the coastline from Melbourne to Sydney.
Montague Island Lighthouse, date unknown. Courtesy of the Australian Heritage Photo Library, Department of Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities.
Barnet\’s designs include the Montague Island tower (opened 1881), constructed from granite, the Green Cape Lighthouse (1883), whose tower has a square base merging into an octagonal form, and the Smoky Cape Lighthouse, also with an unusual octagonal tower. Smoky Cape is regarded as one of the last lighthouses to be designed for architectural excellence.
The absence of suitable building materials meant that lighthouses were often built with other suitable materials that were prefabricated and shipped to the site.