Exploring Currie Harbour Lighthouse, King Island

by Roger Findlay

If ever you find yourself in Currie on King Island, part of the north west region of Tasmania, I would suggest that you make enquiries about a lighthouse tour.  We found out about it when we went to the Currie Library to browse books and use the internet.

Currie - King Island
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The township of Currie, King Island in the north west region of Tasmania

Book Lighthouse Tour.  Tick.

We booked a tour and met our guide at the lighthouse the following day.  It always amazes me how versatile people are in somewhat remote places and our tour guide was no exception.  Apart from being an occasional guide, this charming lady (originally from Wangaratta in Victoria) worked at the school and at the library.  Her husband managed their farm and she was quite capable of helping in between her other duties.


Currie Harbour Lighthouse

The elevated lighthouse stands alongside the entrance to Currie Harbour and serves the dual purpose of a harbour entrance light and a coastal light.  An English company pre-fabricated the structure from wrought iron with a cast iron base before shipping to King Island for construction in 1879.

Currie - Harbour Lighthouse Tour
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Currie Harbour Lighthouse on King Island in the north west region of Tasmania

It was lit the following year but it wasn’t until 1957 that mains power was used.  In 1989, the authorities considered the light unnecessary and it was switched off.  Locals resisted this action and, after much lobbying, the light was restored to operable in 1995.

The Brave & Noble Tourist

I’m not comfortable with steep spiral staircases or heights but on this occasion I had to put on a brave face to outdo my very brave and nimble wife!  I let her go first with me in the middle and the guide at the rear.  By doing this, I thought I would be safe if I happened to fall!

Currie - Lighthouse Tour Spiral Staircase
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Jeanette Findlay handles the spiral staircase of the lighthouse tour with ease!

It made me feel dizzy looking up from the bottom.  The challenge entailed 90 narrow steel steps winding to a height of 21.3 metres.  Jeanette had seen me crossing a rickety suspension bridge at Montezuma Falls.  She had seen my face turn green.  Now she was gloating again! (How could Mr Perfect be outdone?)


View Over Currie Harbour

The steady climb was well worth it as the view down to Currie Harbour, the Boat House and over to the township was magnificent.  Despite the wintry conditions and the spray from the rain on the lighthouse glass, our guide could point out all of the interesting features.  She also had excellent knowledge of the old light systems and lenses that were on display.

Currie - View from the Lighthouse Tour
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The lighthouse tour guide can point out features: like a burnt out Boat House

Not too bad going up but how would I go coming down?  Being the only male, I considered it rather chivalrous to let the ladies go first!  To my relief we made the bottom without incident and now I have this tale of the Currie Harbour lighthouse tour to tell (and photos to share!).

Currie - Harbour Views
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Currie Harbour views from the top of the King Island lighthouse

Lighthouse Tour, Keeper’s Residence & Museum

On a separate occasion, we visited the magnificent grounds of the lighthouse keeper’s residence that is now used as a museum.  The stark white buildings are kept in immaculate condition and stand as a prominent landmark on the western side of King Island.

As we drove back towards the Naracoopa Holiday Cottages where
we were staying, Jeanette hinted that she would like a spiral staircase
in our next home.  Blimey, it’s hard enough finding her in the king
sized bed let alone chasing her up a spiral staircase!

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Map: Currie Harbour Lighthouse, King Island, Tasmania…