Friends of the Caloundra Lighthouses
Proudly supported by Sunshine Coast Council’s grants program
The Lighthouses 1967-70 - great detail by A Fulton Regional Lighthouse Engineer and supplied by Colin Gladstone. In 1970 the old lighthouse was relocated to Golden Beach where it remained till 1999 until it was returned to its original site. By that time the Signal Station and Light had ceased operations
Download a membership form $10 single or $15 for families
see us on facebook
Information for booked tours (2019)
There are two lighthouses which have guided tours. Caloundra's European history is closely linked to the story of the lighthouses, and the two buildings provide evidence of the history of lighthouses from both ends of the time scale.
The 1968 Signal Station, Light and Radar Installation is a reinforced concrete structure with 47 stairs to the signal station level. From the balcony there are spectacular views. You can see the ships rounding the marker and entering Moreton Bay, with the sand cliffs of Moreton Island behind. Look the other way and the Glass House Mountains are laid out before you. The lantern is another level up with access by ladder, but is not open to visitors. The Signal Station can handle 16 visitors at a time with two guides (allow 15-20 minutes)
The 1896 lighthouse was constructed with a timber frame and corrugated iron cladding, a construction type unique to Queensland lighthouses. It was replaced by the 1968 lighthouse. The two sat side by side until 1970 when the old lighthouse was relocated to Golden Beach. It remained there for 29 years. After the Signal Station was decommissioned in the 1990s, the 1896 lighthouse was restored to its original position. It is Caloundra township's oldest building.
Access to the lantern and balcony is via a steep stair to the first floor then a ladder. The lantern can take three at a time. The next three people can wait on the first floor (allow ten to fifteen minutes for a each group of three).
We have a collection of photos, information and history books for sale. Our website is a growing collection of information on significant places on the Coast. www.sunshinecoastplaces.com.au The pages on the lighthouses have a lot of historical and technical information. We are always keen to add further.
There is free Council WiFi on site.
The cost for a tour is $5:00 per person with a $40 minimum.
Please note the only toilet on site is up in the Signal Station, so best to stop at public toilets first.
Working on a timeline for the Caloundra Lighthouses.
Inaugural president of FOCL, local architect Roger Todd, said: ‘This achieves so much on many levels. Not only do we have such a beautiful book to sell to fund our operations, but we also have another chapter in the story of the lighthouses. One of the joys of working with the lighthouses is the pride they generate in the community. The Grade Two students from the Caloundra State School visit regularly, and have the old lighthouse as their school logo. Now they have its story beautifully presented and expressed in a language they can understand. In years to come I can imagine them reading it to their children.’
2015 the e-brochure for the launch
This Thursday 19th Sept we had a group of Caloundra State School Grade 2 students at the lighthouses as part of their local history course.
Saturday 2nd August. The USS George Washington sails past with a tender. Photos by Trevor with his long lens. The people waiting on the hill got a surprise tour of the Signal Station. We saw the USS Bonhomme Richard last month. So far this year we have numbers 6, 73 & 54. "Collect them all"
You can understand the size difference by comparing views of Moreton Island.
Thanks to all the visitors from the Caloundra State High School's Golden Anniversity. Photo shows the school badge published in Anne Wensleys and John & Janice Grove's book "Caloundra State High School - The Early Years 1963-1970" school badge
13th July view of the Glass House Mountains from the Signal Station, taken the day the Keep Australia Beautiful awards were held in Caloundra (Caloundra was Australian winner in 2012) Delegates from around Australia visited the lighthouses. Talk about "on a clear day"
June 2013 Jenny dropped in some copies of paintings from 1944 by Harriet Hills McKay. Douglass and Harriet with daughter Mary were Americans who had been allocated refugee housing in Caloundra by the Red Cross after escaping the Japanese occupation in the Philippines.
Information with the paintings includes their wartime story and a copy of ten year old Mary’s enrollment at Caloundra State School. They had been separated from their son Bob who remained in the Philippines until the end of the war.
1990s at Power Boat Club
May 2013 John Bradley dropped in with a book he had written for his grandchildren loosly based on the story of the lighthouses. We suggested he apply for a RADF grant to take it to the next stage. Sample pages attachedMarch 2013.
The Friends purchased the 250mm 4th Order optic lens in 2001 for $250. It is the type fitted in the old Caloundra light in 1896. In the early 1940s the original fixed lens was replaced by a revolving lens with an electric lamp. Pictured are Barrie & Donnalea working on the lens. Barrie describes it as working on a three dimensional glass jigsaw.
2012 Golden Beach State School art competition 1st prize by Eva, & Once were Heroes by Robyn Shaw
To act as a consultative body to Sunshine Coast Regional Council in the care of the Caloundra lighthouse precinct
To assist in conservation of the place and associated movable heritage based on best practice guidelines.
To encourage and facilitate use for educational and cultural tourism purposes.
To provide guidance and support for appropriate future development of the precinct.
To collect, collate and make available to the public objects and information important for the interpretation of the lighthouses.
To promote and support conservation of places of cultural heritage significance within the wider community.
State Government has given Sunshine Coast Council a ten year licence for the site occupied by the 1896 Lighthouse; the 1968 Signal Station & light; and the Auxiliaries Building
In May 2016, are about to we sign our second three year licence for the buildings. We need to pay an annual rental, plus all other costs associated including insurance, maintenance, elect, sewerage, water, garbage, fire service levies, tax etc, but are supported by a Council Community Partnership grant.
In 2010 the precinct was State heritage listed
The buildings are open for guided public visitation, we have a Certificate of Classification and operational procedures,
The Friends open the buildings on the second and fourth Saturdays of the month, and for booked tours
We seeking interest through business and community links for sponsorship, and feel that we can offer unique promotional exposure
As part of our sixth object, starting with a grant from Council, in 2011 we did research and promotion into places associated with the post WW2 boom in Caloundra. see www sunshinecoastplaces.com.au
In 2018, with assistance through a Council grant, we completed an updated Conservation Management Plan
2020 the Sale of the lighthouses to Sunshine Coast Council signaled a new era for the lighthouses