Bright flash, then blackness: lighthouse goes dark

Cape Byron Lighthouse Photo NPWS

Cape Byron Lighthouse Photo NPWS

Chris Dobney

Anyone looking towards Cape Byron on Tuesday night would have had the spooky experience of seeing… nothing. The familiar sweep of light from the lighthouse, a nightly performance for more than a century, was gone.

Fear not, the Cape Byron Lighthouse is not being decommissioned, but it was struck by lightning.

‘A spokesperson for the Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA) told Echonetdaily, ‘Someone alerted us about 8pm that the light wasn’t working. It turned out it was struck by lightning early Tuesday morning, which caused one of the controllers to fail.

The spokesperson said a team went out on Wednesday and reset the controller and replaced one of the bulbs. But that meant it was out of action all Tuesday night.

‘We issued a notice to inform boats it wasn’t working,’ the AMSA spokesperson said.

He added that in this age of GPS while ‘it’s still a working aid to navigation’ these days its ‘more of a visual back-up than a first line that ships would use when navigating’.

Asked why AMSA had to rely on a phone call from a concerned citizen to advise them of the problem, the spokesperson said, ‘There are automated warning systems but in this case they didn’t activate – we were told by someone that noticed.

Standing as it does on the very tip of the cape, it’s not surprising the Lighthouse has been hit by lightning before with similar results.

‘There’s not much we can do to prevent the controller tripping when something like that happens,’ the AMSA spokesperson said.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


Become a supporter of The Echo

A note from the editorial team

Some of The Echo’s editorial team: journalists Paul Bibby and Aslan Shand, editor Hans Lovejoy, photographer Jeff Dawson and Mandy Nolan

The Echo has never underestimated the intelligence and passion of its readers. In a world of corporate banality and predictability, The Echo has worked hard for more than 30 years to help keep Byron and the north coast unique with quality local journalism and creative ideas. We think this area needs more voices, reasoned analysis and ideas than just those provided by News Corp, lifestyle mags, Facebook groups and corporate newsletters.

The Echo is one hundred per cent locally owned and one hundred per cent independent. As you have probably gathered from what is happening in the media industry, it is not cheap to produce a weekly newspaper and a daily online news service of any quality.

We have always relied entirely on advertising to fund our operations, but often loyal readers who value our local, independent journalism have asked how they could help ensure our survival.

Any support you can provide to The Echo will make an enormous difference. You can make a one-off contribution or a monthly one. With your help, we can continue to support a better informed local community and a healthier democracy for another 30 years.”

Echonetdaily is made possible by the support of all of our advertisers.