Federal Minister for Infrastructure and Transport Darren Chester today announced the formal handover of lighthouse artefacts to the Gippsland Regional Maritime Museum in Port Albert.
The items include the heritage lens once used at Cape Liptrap lighthouse, the old lantern room from Citadel Island lighthouse and the Cliffy Island lighthouse signal cannon.
Mr Chester said these important local artefacts had been on long-term loan to the museum from the Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA) and ownership would now be transferred formally.
“The Gippsland Regional Maritime Museum has cared for these important local artefacts for many years, so I’m pleased to announce the museum will now take permanent ownership of them,” Mr Chester said.
“Port Albert was one of the first ports established in Victoria and it’s still a fishing industry centre, so it’s a fitting home for our maritime heritage.
“The lighthouses these items represent were all built more than 100 years ago and each has played a vital role in the history of the region.
“Over many years, AMSA has upgraded lighthouses with new technology to continue their safety role, so it’s important the Port Albert museum continues to showcase these heritage pieces and teach us how local lighthouses have evolved over the past century.”
Gippsland Regional Maritime Museum president David Dickson said the three items had become key elements of the museum’s display.
“The lens from Cape Liptrap, the reconstructed lantern room from Citadel Island and the Cliffy Island signal cannon are among our most popular and significant attractions. They always receive a lot of attention from visitors,” Mr Dickson said.
“It’s a great honour for the museum to become the official owner of these items. For us, it is a signal of the high esteem in which the Australian Maritime Safety Authority holds our museum as a conserver of Gippsland’s rich maritime history.”
Mr Chester is currently in the midst of his ‘Take a Break in Gippsland’ tourism campaign and is encouraging people to spend their holidays in Gippsland and support local businesses.
“Our region is blessed with many natural and man-made attractions, including Port Albert and the maritime museum. They are among the many wonderful places in Gippsland to explore during the September school holidays.”
Cape Liptrap lighthouse was first established in 1913. The heritage lens is a rare Third Order Fresnel glass lens. The lens would have concentrated the light’s rays into a powerful beam that could be seen from miles away.
Citadel Island lighthouse was also built in 1913. The lantern room was reconstructed at the museum after it was replaced with a modern version in 1982.
The bronze cannon is a 24-pounder and was used at Cliffy Island lighthouse until 1932. The cannon was used in heavy fog to warn passing ships of their proximity to the island. The lighthouse was built in 1884 from local granite and has the most extensive and well-preserved sea walls of any light station in Australia. The walls protected the lighthouse keepers and their families from the waves that would break across the island in bad weather.