Cape Otway Lightstation

Cape Otoway, Victoria | C.1848

Photo Credit: Marie Valencia

Cape Otway Lightstation is a lighthouse on Cape Otway in Victoria, Australia. Known as the “Beacon of Hope”, it is Victoria’s oldest working lighthouse, and has stood watch along the mainland’s southern coast since its construction in 1848.

Built using stone quarried at the nearby Parker River, the Lighthouse was erected at the tip of Cape Otway. Using a first order Fresnel lens, its light was officially lit two years after construction began and a Telegraph Station was added nearly a decade later. Despite its difficult access point, the Lighthouse operated for 148 years before being decommissioned.

During its tenure, the Lighthouse bore witness to both shipwrecks and battles at sea. Over the course of 81 years, eight ships wrecked along the coast of Cape Otway starting with the Marie in 1851, followed by the Sacramento, Schomberg, Loch Ard, Joseph H. Scammell, Fiji, and lastly the Casino in 1932.

During World War II, the American vessel the SS City of Rayville, was sunk off the Cape by a German mine. Just 24 hours prior, the British Ship SS Cambridge had sunk off of Wilson’s Promontory to the east. Two years later, American forces built a radar bunker on the Cape that’s still open to the public to this day.

Today, visitors can stay at the keeper’s cottages located onsite*, or use the Lighthouse as a vantage point for whale watching during the winter and spring months. The Lighthouse is still in operation, but its light has been replaced by a low-powered solar light in front of the original tower, and produces three white flashes every 18 seconds.

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