The Hon. Greg Hunt MP
Minister for the Environment
Lighthouse a shining example of Australia's great heritage
18 April 2014
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As we continue to celebrate Australian Heritage Week, a new heritage management plan for a lighthouse in Queensland's Whitsundays is helping to keep our past alive and tell its stories.
The newly completed plan sets out how the historical Dent Island Lightstation in the Whitsundays will be protected into the future.
The lightstation has provided safe passage to vessels through the Great Barrier Reef since 1879, and continues to retain characteristics and equipment that were innovative for its time.
The 135-year-old Dent Island lighthouse is one of 12 lighthouses that used a rare building method found only in Queensland which involved constructing a timber-framed tower clad with riveted iron to meet the particular needs of the colony at the time.
Perched above the island's towering cliffs, the lightstation crane, a derrick crane, is being restored as a rare example of the equipment necessary for lightkeepers and their families to lift goods from vessels on to the island.
It's one of a kind in Queensland, and is a testament to the island's management that it still survives.
The lightstation's day-to-day operations and restoration works are undertaken by the lessee, Hamilton Island Enterprises. The lightstation is kept useable, but with as little change as possible so its cultural significance is maintained.
The Dent Island Lightstation Heritage Management Plan, completed in partnership between the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority (GBRMPA) and the Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA), guides both agencies and the Dent Island lessee on how to protect and conserve the lightstation's historical and cultural significance.
The challenging, and at times, hostile marine environment wreaks havoc on the lightstation's structures, requiring constant vigilance to protect them so they remain unharmed.
The Dent Island Lightstation Heritage Management Plan was finalised after a public consultation period and can be viewed at www.gbrmpa.gov.au
Australian Heritage Week (12-20 April) is a chance to showcase Australia's unique heritage and for communities along the Great Barrier Reef coastline to celebrate and learn about the region's heritage.