Before we launch into this article about Cape Bruny Lighthouse, we must issue an apology. To the people we met in the queue for the Mirambeena Ferry at Kettering: we’re sorry. We’re sorry it’s taken us so long to publish this, the first of several potential articles about Bruny Island. Shame, shame, shame on us. You told us you’d be waiting by your computer screens for more stories and photos from Think Tasmania about Bruny. Please forgive us. We do like to deliver on our promises.
Cape Bruny Lighthouse: Capture Memories
So (better late than never) let us start with one of our favourite experiences, the Cape Bruny Lighthouse. Anelda accompanied a gorgeous photo with the words “you must visit” in her article about a whirlwind day-trip to Bruny. We totally trust her judgement, so we were determined to visit the beautiful location for ourselves.
We should point out that the photos we took aren’t quite the standard of a professional photographer. We noticed Dan Fellow also has a stunning photo of Cape Bruny Lighthouse in his collection too, and we did have a little grimace at our images in comparison. But it was late in the day (that’s a good excuse, yes?). Besides, here at Think Tasmania it’s all about enticing you to visit a new place and capture your own memories; not JUST marvel at our photos.
See and Do at Cape Bruny
Okay, moving on. What’s at Cape Bruny, then? Let’s start with the obvious: the lighthouse. Following a series of shipwrecks off the southern Tasmanian coast, Governor George Arthur decreed the construction of a lighthouse during the 1830s. It was the third Tasmanian lighthouse to shine out a warning beam, and just the fourth in Australia. Replaced by solar power and decommissioned in 1996, the Cape Bruny Lighthouse is now part of the Tasmanian national parks system. As such, visitors are required to purchase a park pass.
You can walk up a steep concrete path to the hill-top right to the door of the lighthouse. Apparently visitors can look inside, at ground-level only, when care-takers are on site and have the facility open.
Joining a guided visit with a tour company is the way to go if you’re keen to climb the spiral staircase inside. The views are outstanding, and if you arrive before sunset (when the light is better) you can look towards the Tasmanian mainland in search of Southport, about 15kms away.
Finders Keepers: Museum, Convicts and Sad Stories
The Cape Bruny Lightstation Museum is also open when the care-takers are on hand. Luckily for us, we were able to take a quick peek inside, despite the lateness of the hour. Worthy of much more time than we had, there’s all sorts of marine treasures from Tasmania’s past to be discovered.
Sadly, the original keeper’s cottage is no longer. It was deemed “surplus to requirements” and demolished in 1949, but the foundations are still visible near the path leading to the lighthouse. Another sad story in Tasmanian history is marked by a grave site along the track to the beach.
Surrounded by a white picket fence, the grave was only discovered in 1960, but is thought to be the final resting place of a child or possibly even two children. With the recorded demise of two children at Cape Bruny, one in 1875 and the other in 1898, the grave is a stark reminder of the harsh conditions faced by the Cape Bruny Lighthouse keepers and their families.
Visitors taking the track to the beach can continue past the grave and discover the remains of a vegetable patch. A convict-built, dry stone wall separates a cleared area from the beach. Convicts were tasked with the establishment and maintenance of the Cape Bruny garden. Bruny Island is well-known for its world-class fresh produce; but the seaside location must have been a challenge for any green thumb.
The Cape Bruny Lighthouse is accessible by road (take the B66 to Lunawanna and then the C629 to Cape Bruny). The light station is open for vehicle access from 9:30am to 4:30pm, although pedestrian access only is available outside these opening hours. Dogs are not permitted in national parks in Tasmania.
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