Lighting the old Caloundra Lighthouse


Drawing and details of 1896 Chance Bros lens. Shows the 250mm radius lens, three wick Trinity burner with the fuel being parrafin, also the condensing prisims to intensify specific sectors.  Courtesy Ian Clifford, Lighthouses of Australia

1896 A preliminary Notice to Mariners was published in the Brisbane Courier in April

1909 The Brisbane Courier reports upgrading of the light from a Trinity three wick burner, to vaporized kerosene.

The light will be intensified by the introduction of Chance's Incandescent Vapour installation, which has recently been fitted to a great many lighthouses in Great Britain and other countries. The illumianant will then be equal to 1?00 candle power.  The fundamental principle of the vapour light is the vapourisation of the ordinary petroleum hietherio employed in lighthouses.  This vapour mixed with an ascertained proportion of air produces a Bunsen flame of great intensity, which is utilised to render a mantle incandescent, giving a light of great brilliancy.  The apparatus obtained for the Caloundra lighthouse is 55? millimeters with incandescent mantle, and will supercede the Trinity three-wick burner present in use.

An incandescent vapour light, the first of its kind in Queensland, was purchased from Chance Brothers and installed in 1910 and by 1912 its 1400 candle power was visible at least 22-25 miles out to sea. Many mariners considered it the best light on the Queensland coast and the key to successfully traversing Moreton Bay. From the DES listing citation

1910 The Brewis survey, Report and recommendations for Caloundra The occulting device was not installed.

1912 Commander Brewis recommended a clockwork occulting shutter, but the upgrading didn’t happen. Shown from the Chance Brothers catalogue are a 2nd order lens & a Caloundra sized 4th order lens fitted with the shutter.

Fig 2 – The arrangement shewn consists of revolving screens floating on mercury and driven by a spring clock . The Apparatus illustrated is of the 2nd order.

Fig 3 – This type of occulting mechanism is more especially suitable for the smaller Orders of Apparatus – namely, 4th Order and downwards. The revolving screens are carried on a ball- race at the top of the Apparatus, and are rotated by means of clockwork with a falling weight. The illustration shews the adaption of the mechanism to an Apparatus of the 4th Order.

The 1896 lens in 1942 after removal,
Courtesy Ian Clifford, Lighthouses of Australia


Courtesy Ian Clifford, Lighthouses of Australia

Courtesy Ian Clifford, Lighthouses of Australia

1951 Drawing showing the 1942 rotating lens modified for Tufi Front Light New Guinea

2001 Letter offering the lens from Jack Duvoisen, AMSA Australian Marine Safety Authority

2013-03 Barrie & Donnalea working on the lens
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