Shedding light on old Yamba beacon

A SEARCH is on to find the top of the old Yamba lighthouse that was demolished in the 1950s to make way for the current building.

A group of local people has begun looking for the structure made of glass, brass and iron that contained the prisms that were used to shine the light.

The man behind the project wants to keep a low profile, but he believed the structure that was on the top of the old lighthouse that operated from 1880 to 1955 has been left in the backyard of someone’s house.

“That was the story I heard about 10 years ago, but back then I was not in a position to do anything about it,” he said.

The group looking for the structure would like use it to finish a two-third sized replica of the old Yamba lighthouse.

“We think if we can find it we can cut it down to fit,” the man said.

Anyone who has knowledge of the whereabouts of the structure can send information to PO Box 440 Yamba, 2464.

According to the Lighthouses of Australia website the Clarence River lighthouse at Yamba was originally “a rudimentary structure of a platform with a kerosene lamp on it on the most easterly part of Pilot Hill.

“This was replaced in 1866 by a small wooden humpy whose shutters were opened each night to dispense the rays of a large kerosene lamp placed on a bench. It was in the same place as the first and next to the flagstaff.

“Tenders were called in 1878 and a permanent light was built in 1880 by W Kinnear at a cost of £1097.

“The seven-metre high lighthouse’s style was typical of lights of this era in New South Wales, with a similar one being established at Richmond River, Fingal Head, Crowdy Head and Tacking Point. It was visible for six nautical miles out to sea.

“An adjacent keeper’s residence was also built for the lighthouse keeper who was employed.

“The old lighthouse was automated in 1920 and subsequently de-manned.

“With the building of the Pacific Hotel it was felt that the light was obscured. Also the site was being mooted for the construction of the new town reservoir. A new lighthouse was built in 1955 on Pilot Hill and the old lighthouse was demolished in 1956 to make way for the reservoir.

“The new lighthouse was built of concrete in a very modern style and is 18 metres high.

“The apparatus from the old light was transferred to this new tower.

“The original pole from which a kerosene lamp hung is now standing in Story Park adjacent to the museum which features several exhibits of historical interest.

“It is ironic that the reservoir that replaced the original lighthouse is now gone, demolished in 1980, and that the local Yamba Community Radio Station 2TLC is housed in a replica of the 1880 lighthouse which was built by volunteers on the exact site of the original building.”

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