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Bay Rock lighthouse restoration

September 29th, 2009


The Bay Rock Lighthouse restoration project: March - August 2009

 Early this year the museum received a grant through the Queensland Government’s Gambling Community Benefit Fund of $25,000 for the restoration of the Bay Rock lighthouse, an icon of the museum and familiar site on Palmer St. The project focussed on the upper structure of the lighthouse which saw its removal from the site on 4 March in order for the work to be undertaken in a secure environment. 

The successful application was very appreciated and most timely - judging by the condition of the fabric seen only once the upper section had been removed. Jeff Terry of Jeff Terry Constructions, with the help of Wayne Millar’s crane from NQ Cranes undertook the work. Gabriel Stathooles of Townsville Demolitions kept an eye open for timber of a similar size, age and nature to replace any timber beyond re-use.  It was a real community effort and we are very appreciative of the assistance and support given to the museum. 

The upper structure was repainted, the window glass removed and frames resealed, the upper walkway, internal panelling and structural base rebuilt, and the handrail taken back to its original surface. Part of the internal framework also needed replacing. 

Built in 1886 to stand on the small granite outcrop known as Bay Rock, the light was essential for the safe passage of shipping into Cleveland Bay as there are a large number of shallow reefs and sandbars between Magnetic island and the mainland.  After the lighthouse was removed in 1992 by the Department of Transport and donated to the museum, a small solar powered light was installed on bay Rock. It remains part of the coastal navigation system.  

The lighthouse is a significant part of the museum’s collection and is representative of early Queensland lighthouse structures.  

The lighthouse is once more open to visitors, and we acknowledge and thank the Gambling Community Benefit Fund for accepting our application and providing us with the funding to undertake this important work.