Lighthouse collection




The collection of material related to South Australia's lighthouses includes a prefabricated iron plate lighthouse, lanterns and equipment as well as approximately 250 photographs. The collection documents navigational aids in South Australia from the mid nineteenth century until the late twentieth century, with a particular focus on the history of the Port Adelaide (later South Neptune Island) lighthouse.

The collection helps record the history of navigational aids in South Australia. It is significant in terms of economic history--documenting lighthouses, channel markers and beacons that provided the infrastructure essential to shipping, commerce and passenger travel. These aids warned mariners away from hazards and marked shipping channels and harbours. The collection is socially significant in documenting the lives of the small communities of keepers and their families who crewed the lights on isolated islands and reefs. The focus of the collection is the Port Adelaide lighthouse which was originally located on a wooden platform at the entrance to the Port River. The prefabricated tower and lantern were imported from Chance Brothers in the United Kingdom, the company that supplied prefabricated lighthouses throughout Australia and the British Empire in the nineteenth century. The lighthouse was first lit on 1 January 1869. The lighthouse was dismantled and transported to South Neptune Island and lit with a second order lens on 1 November 1901. The light was replaced by an automated light in 1985. The original lighthouse was moved to Port Adelaide to become part of the South Australian Maritime Museum's collection in 1985.

A South Australian Maritime Museum collection. The Port Adelaide Lighthouse is located at the end of Commercial Road, Port Adelaide and is open to visitors 10 am - 2 pm Monday to Friday, 10 am - 4.30 pm, Sunday. A small exhibition inside showcases objects associated with the operation of the light and the families who lived on South Neptune Island. Access to all other collection items held in Museum Stores is by appointment only.


Beacon; Chance Brothers; Lens; Lighthouse; Marker

Beacons; Lighthouse keepers; Lighthouses; Personal effects; Photography; Signals & signalling; Waterway lights (warning)

Lighthouses; Personal effects

Lighthouses; Maritime history; Navigation; Navigation equipment; Photography

South Australian Maritime Museum

Coverage Spatial

Spencer Gulf; Semaphore; South Neptune Island; South Australia; Port Adelaide, South Australia; Wonga Shoal

Coverage Temporal



Related Collections


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2011-03-23 15:33