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Press Release: Lighthouse shines again

Issued: 6 February 2007

SO you thought that last piece of flat-pack assembly furniture you bought was bad – spare a thought for the guys who have just taken apart, revamped and reassembled the top section of the Cape Otway Lighthouse.

“We refer to the lighthouse as the first Ikea nightmare that came out as a flat-pack from Britain in 1890,’‘ said Lightstation manager Paul Thompson who has just overseen an $80,000 facelift of the iconic ‘Beacon of Hope’.

“We don’t have any original plans to go by, but the whole top section comes apart with a spanner and a screwdriver, so we unbolted everything and then numbered them so we knew how to put it back together,” Paul said.

“They’re all original components as far as we’re aware.’‘

Maintenance was a never-ending task for the traditional keepers who manned the light from 1848 to 1994.

The lighthouse has just undergone its eight to 10 year scheduled overhaul.

“We gutted the inside of the lantern room and took out the inner gantry where lightkeepers used to go up a ladder onto a walkway and around the lens so they could clean the glass,’‘ Paul said.

A total of 32 brass air vents have been restored as part of the refurbishment, the windows have been resealed and the entire 40 metre high lighthouse has been repainted brilliant white from the tip of its lightning conductor, weathervane and copper dome to the base of the tower which perches on 100 metre high sea cliffs overlooking the Bass Strait and Southern Ocean.

The railings have been repainted lighthouse red.

Mr Thompson said an exciting part of the project was having the light repaired.

“We’ll be applying to the Australian Maritime Safety Authority to turn it on for International Lighthouse Weekend so it can take its rightful place as Cape Otway Lighthouse, taking over the job of the automated beacon which replaced the lighthouse in January 1994.’‘

Mr Thompson said the Lighthouse would be open to tourists and locals alike again this weekend looking ship-shape after being prepared for another eight years of maritime weather and tens of thousands of domestic and international tourists.

For more details on the Lightstation, call manager Paul Thompson on 5237 9240.

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