Green Point Lighthouse

Cape Town, South Africa | C.1824

Photo Credit: Barry Havenga

The Green Point Lighthouse is an operational lighthouse in Cape Town on the South African coast. Initially lit in April 1824, it was the first solid lighthouse structure on the South African coast and is the oldest operational lighthouse in South Africa.

Commissioned by acting Governor of the Cape Colony Sir Rufane Shaw Donkin and designed by German architect Herman Shutte, building commenced in 1821 and was completed in 1823 at a cost of approximately 6,420 pounds sterling.

The lighthouse started operating in 1824 and when first lit, it burned Argand lamps fueled by sperm whale oil. The light from these lanterns could be seen for 6 nautical miles (11 km; 6.9 mi).

In 1865, the lighthouse was expanded to its present height, and in 1922 the range of the lighthouse was extended to 22 nautical miles when 3rd order dioptric flashing lights were installed.

Despite a letter of complaint sent to the Mayor of Cape Town in 1923 by Green Point Residents, a foghorn was also installed, leaving local Residents referring to the Green Point Lighthouses as “Moaning Minnie”.

Just over 2 dozen senior lightkeepers have sat at the helm of the Green Point Light since 1824. The light was certified a Provincial heritage site in January 1973, and today remains open to the public.

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