Lieutenant Lawrence, the Lightstation’s first keeper, was dismissed for mismanagement and “improper and ungentlemanly language”.
Henry Bayles Ford won the Superintendent’s job – a watch that lasted 30 years (1848 – 1878). Ford was soon joined by his extraordinary wife Mary Anne Ford who gave birth to seven children at the remote outpost, nursed shipwrecked sailors and tended the lighthouse when her husband’s assistant keepers disappeared to join the Gold Rush.
The Superintendent’s job was demanding and conditions were tough. Within six months of starting at the Lightstation Ford received a letter from the Public Works Department, which read: “…….It is to be expressly understood that although a large quantity (of rations) is now at the Cape, the strictest economy must be observed and that for each adult, the following scale only will be allowed 10½ lbs of flour, 10½ lbs of meat, 1¼ lbs of tea, 2lbs sugar. You will please to state the number of children you have, and what quantity of rations you intend to draw for them as your own; your wife and children’s rations are all chargeable against your pay; and as it is presumed that you have retained the cooking utensils for your own use, they will also be surcharged on your Salary……” (Source: Beacons of Hope)
Every 12 months, oil for the lamps, tools, equipment, and foodstuffs were landed through the surf at the Parker River inlet. A tramway, long since gone, was built up the hillside and a windlass used to winch stores up to the main track. A bullock team and wagon then slowly took them on to the lighthouse, three miles away. (Source: Beacons of Hope)