Macquarie Lighthouse

Macquarie Lighthouse

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Macquarie Lighthouse

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The Macquarie Lighthouse, also known as South Head Upper Light, was the first, and is the longest serving, lighthouse site in Australia. It is located on Dunbar Head, Vaucluse (approximately 2 km south of South Head) near the entrance to Sydney Harbour. There has been a navigational aid in this vicinity since 1791 and a lighthouse near the present site since 1818. The current lighthouse was completed in 1883.

The lighthouse is still fully operational and is under the control of the Australian Maritime Safety Authority. The grounds are managed by the Sydney Harbour Federation Trust.

The lighthouse was featured on the crest of Macquarie University from inception, up until the present Vice Chancellor decided the university needed a change of logo. In 2008, the lighthouse was replaced with what the university describes as an 'abstract, timeless image' of water lillies.


In 1791 and within one year of the arrival of the First Fleet, a flagstaff was erected on the site. This was followed, in 1793, by a tripod mounted iron basket which originally burned wood, and later coal.

On July 11, 1816, the foundation for the first lighthouse was laid by Lachlan Macquarie, Governor of New South Wales, who called it Macquarie Tower. It was designed by Francis Greenway, a famous convict architect, under the instructions of Macquarie, and built in soft sandstone. The lighthouse was first lit in 30 November 1818.

The soft sandstone...
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