Shortland Bluff and the first lighthouse (1842). Point Nepean in the background.
Lights to guide the ships
Lighthouses have always been important at Queenscliff for those attempting the
perilous journey into Port Phillip Bay.
The first permanent building erected at Shortland Bluff was the lighthouse,
built in 1842. It was later decided that two lights were needed to lead ships
through the Heads and in 1853 a wooden tower was built lower down the Bluff.
By 1863, both had been replaced by the present ‘black’ and ‘white’ lighthouses,
constructed of basalt. The two lighthouses have been aligned to show navigators
the safe course to follow along the deepest channel through ‘The Rip’.
The wooden lighthouse was re-created at Point Lonsdale where it stood until
replaced by the present lighthouse in 1902. Earlier, an oil lamp was kept
burning on a flagstaff. That simple light and its successor have served since
1853 to identify the entrance to Port Phillip.
|Why ‘The Rip’?
A number of factors combine to create extreme turbulence at the Heads,
leading into Port Phillip Bay. It is these factors that cause the very
strong tidal ‘rips’ which give the area its name. They include:
– strong tidal flows
– great variations in water depth
– the narrow opening
– the weather
To find out more about the history of Queenscliff drop into the
Queenscliff Historical Museum,
49 Hesse St, QUEENSCLIFF VIC 3225
• Ph: 03 5258
2511 (next to the Queenscliff Visitor Centre)