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Press Release: International Lighthouse Weekend at Cape Otway Lightstation

Issued: 12 August 2007

AMAZING stories of Cape Otway’s first people, the Gadubanud, and the first lightkeepers will be brought to life in a two-day celebration of International Lighthouse Weekend.

Although there are no manned lighthouses left in Australia, this weekend you’ll have the chance to meet Cape Otway Lightstation’s last lightkeeper and meet guides who spent their childhood there.

This weekend, August 18 and 19, they’ll share the great adventures of lightkeeping, plus their knowledge of the extraordinary historical characters who dedicated their lives to keeping ships safe, often while enduring extreme hardship and isolation in exchange for poor wages and shabby treatment by the Government.

Manager Paul Thompson said the Lightstation had planned a busy programme to highlight the Cape’s history and would be celebrating along with 380 lighthouses in 51 countries.

Mr Thompson said the weekend promoted the need for preservation of lighthouses and their fascinating history.

Cape Otway’s line-up includes maritime storytelling, live music, a fine art exhibition and dedicated kids’ activities including free face-painting.

“There will be Koori Dreaming talks so that people can learn from Aborigines why the Cape is one of the most unique and fascinating cultural sites,” Mr Thompson said.

“Internationally acclaimed musician Apollo Bay’s Howlin’ Wind will perform his passionate style of flute-playing on Saturday.

“Festival favourite James Butt, who is an original singer/songwriter, with a strong roots/blues influence will play on Saturday and Sunday.

“Members of the Morse Codian Fraternity will be hard at work in the 1859 Telegraph Station and will happily tap out a telegram to friends or family anywhere in the world,” Mr Thompson said.

Old Salt Geoff D’Ombrain, former head of music at Victorian College of the Arts, who specialises in evocative maritime stories and songs will perform throughout the weekend.

Pioneer-style cooking, showcasing the great home-cooked flavours of yesteryear, will also be available.

A themed murder mystery dinner and sunset Lightstation tour will have armchair detectives guessing over three delicious courses in the Lightkeepers’ CafĂ© on Saturday night. Bookings are essential for the dinner.

During the weekend everyone will have the chance to climb to the top of the iconic 1848 lighthouse, with the chance to spot passing humpback and southern right whales.

For more information call Paul Thompson at Cape Otway Lightstation on 5237 9240, or visit the website at www.lightstation.com.

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