Fingal Heads and Kingscliff Cudgen have developed recently significantly! Today we had the chance to re – visit this area across the QLD border into New South Wales, after heavy rainfalls.

A lighthouse in navigation is like a steadfast guardian, its beam a guiding whisper across the tumultuous sea, ensuring safe passage through the treacherous embrace of the waves. 🏮💡🌊

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The Fingal Head Lighthouse, located in New South Wales, Australia, has a rich history dating back to the 1860s. The first lighthouse was lit in 1872 to address the dangers posed by reefs and deep waters near the shore. The current lighthouse, completed in 1879, was designed by Colonial architect James Barnett and is the oldest public building in the Tweed Shire¹.

William Arnold was the first lighthouse keeper, assuming his duties on March 30, 1879. He, along with his wife Henrietta and their 11 children, lived at the lighthouse keeper’s residence for 27 years until his retirement on September 1, 1906. The residence was demolished in 1923 when the lighthouse was automated¹.

The lighthouse’s original apparatus was a Chance Bros 4th order Catadioptric fixed lens, illuminated by a two-wick burner. It underwent several upgrades over the years, including conversion to automatic acetylene operation in 1923 and to mains electricity in 1970. In early 2021, it was converted to an LED light source¹.

The life of William Arnold and his family at the Fingal Head Lighthouse would have been one of isolation and responsibility, ensuring the safety of passing ships for over three decades. The foundations of their home still remain as a testament to their long-standing service..

Source: Conversation with Bing, 07/04/2024
(1) Fingal Head Lighthouse | Lighthouses of Australia Inc..
(2) Fingal Head Light – Wikipedia.
(3) Fingal Head Lighthouse | NSW Government.
(4) Fingal Head Lighthouse | The Tweed.
(5) Fingal Head Lighthouse | Attraction | Fingal Head | Tweed area | New ….
(6) .
(7) Warden Head Light – Wikipedia.


Living at the Fingal Head Lighthouse in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, the Arnold family would have experienced a life of routine, responsibility, and isolation. William Arnold, the first lighthouse keeper, his wife Henrietta, and their 11 children would have had their daily lives shaped by the demands of maintaining the lighthouse.

The duties of a lighthouse keeper were extensive and went beyond simply keeping the light burning. They included cleaning the lens, trimming the wick, refueling the light source, and ensuring that the light’s mechanisms were functioning correctly. The keeper also had to maintain the lighthouse buildings and grounds, which could involve painting, repairs, and gardening³.

The Arnold family would have been relatively self-sufficient, likely growing their own vegetables and possibly keeping livestock. The children would have been educated at home or in a small local school. Social interactions would have been limited to occasional visits from supply ships, other lighthouse keepers, and perhaps members of the nearby community of Fingal Head.

The community of Fingal Head itself has a rich history, with strong cultural and community connections to the Aboriginal people of the area, known as Pooningbah, meaning ‘place of the echidna’⁹. The headland and its surroundings are significant both culturally and environmentally, with efforts to preserve its unique ecology and heritage ongoing.

Overall, the Arnold family’s life at Fingal Head would have been marked by the unique challenges and rewards of lighthouse keeping, set against the backdrop of a close-knit community and the stunning natural beauty of the Australian coastline.

Source: Conversation with Bing, 07/04/2024
(1) Fingal Head Lighthouse | Lighthouses of Australia Inc..
(3) .
(4) Fingal Head Light – Wikipedia.
(5) The life of a lighthouse keeper – Australian National Maritime Museum.
(6) Keepers of the Light – St Augustine Light House.
(7) Lighthouse Keepers – U.S. National Park Service.
(8) Lighthouse Keepers – U.S. National Park Service.
(9) Life in a Lighthouse | Clarke Historical Library | Central Michigan ….
(10) Pooningbah | Fingal Head | Tweed Regional Museum.
(11) Fingal Head, New South Wales – Wikipedia.,_New_South_Wales.
(12) Erosion from tides and human intervention threaten historic beach ….

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Kingscliff | Credit phb
Byron Bay Lighthouse | Credit phb

The history of the Byron Bay Lighthouse keepers is as fascinating as the lighthouse itself, which stands as an iconic beacon at Australia’s easternmost point. Constructed between 1899 and 1901, the Cape Byron Lighthouse was designed by Charles Harding and Cecil W. Darley and built by Messrs Mitchell & King⁴.

The first light shone on December 1, 1901, and since then, it has been a vital navigational aid for ships sailing along the east coast of Australia. Initially, the light was generated by burning kerosene, but over the years, it underwent several upgrades, including conversion to electric power and, more recently, to LED lighting³.

Lighthouse keepers played a crucial role in maintaining the light and ensuring it operated smoothly. The site was manned by three keepers until 1959 when it was reduced to two, and the last solo keeper departed in 1989 with the automation of the lighthouse operations³. The keepers lived in Victorian Georgian style cottages, which are now heritage-listed buildings and can be rented out by visitors⁵⁶.

The motto etched on the glass doors of the lighthouse, “Olim periculum nunc salus,” translates from Latin as “Once dangerous now safe,” reflecting the lighthouse’s purpose of guiding ships safely around the treacherous waters of Cape Byron³.

Today, the Cape Byron Lighthouse is not only a functional navigational structure but also a historical site and tourist attraction, offering insights into the lives of the lighthouse keepers who dedicated themselves to the safety of mariners for nearly a century⁴..

Source: Conversation with Bing, 07/04/2024
(1) Cape Byron Light – Wikipedia.
(2) Site 17: Lighthouse – Byron Bay Historical Society.
(3) Cape Byron Lighthouse | Learn more | NSW National Parks.
(4) Assistant Lighthouse Keepers’ Cottages | Learn more | NSW National Parks.
(5) .
(6) Cape Byron Walking Track.

Updated 7 Apr 2023

Clarence River Lighthouse in Yamba