The Lantern

lantern02• The original light source was vapourised kerosene. When it was taken over by the Commonwealth Government in 1919, the light was automated by the conversion to acetylene gas.

• The invention of the Sunvalve by Gustav Dahlens enabled the acetylene gas to be activated automatically. Conversion to mains electricity with diesel backup took place in 1972. It is the only lighthouse in Victoria (maybe Australia?) to have used the 3 forms of power: kerosene, acetylene & mains electricity.

• The light flashes four times in 20 seconds and is listed on shipping charts as Split Point Lighthouse 4 x 20. This allows ship’s masters to work out which lighthouse they are passing.

• The intensity of the white light is 116,000 Candelas (CD) and can be seen for a distance of 20 nautical miles(32kms). The red light has an intensity of 23,000 CD and can be seen from 16 nautical miles away. The most powerful light in Australia is Cape Byron Lighthouse, with 2,200,000 CD. The French light at Creach Ile D’Ouessant is the most powerful in the world, with 500,000,000 CD. **For comparison a car headlamp on high beam produces 75,000-95,000 CD

• The lens was designed by Jean Augustin Fresnel and is made up of a series of lenses and prisms which concentrate a horizontal light out to sea. The Chance Brothers perfected its manufacture in the shape of a bee-hive.
Gallery15a• In 1913, the famous ‘Brewis Report’ was published to review the operation of existing lighthouses on the southeast coast of Australia. As a result, there were many changes to the operation of lighthouses. At Split Point the report recognized that the light sectors were inconsistent with the universally accepted system. Red is the colour universally adopted to indicate danger, and must be positioned outside of the white light. It is aligned to headlands, points and/or reefs. At Split Point red was shown where white should be, and white where red should be expected to be positioned. Therefore, shortly after the report, the situation was fixed, where the white inshore sectors were converted to red by utilising the red glass shades from the main light. Prior to this change it was reported that many ships were confused by the signal.

• The Brewis Report also recommended that the auxiliary light (the cupboard half way up the tower that looks like a wood fired pizza oven!) be discontinued.

• Little has changed to the lighthouse and the 2(one cottage is split in two) quarters since it was built. Limited public access has preserved their form and features. The buildings are heritage listed and the quarters are now privately owned.