The first lighthouse in Tasmania was erected on Iron Pot Islet at the mouth of the Derwent River in 1832 to guide ships to the port of Hobart. Construction of lights around the Tasmanian coast and nearby islands to mark hazards and assist navigation continued through the rest of the nineteenth century. The administration of coastal lighthouses became a Commonwealth responsibility with Federation in 1901, but the transfer of control did not occur until 1915 when the Lighthouses Act 1911 came into effect.
The Hobart Office holds records relating to the operation of manned Tasmanian lighthouses dating from the 1850s to the 1960s. These include records of individual lighthouses, such as logbooks, weather reports and visitors’ books, as well as more general records, including correspondence files of lighthouse and coastal navigation administration in Tasmania. Details of major record holdings are listed below. A more complete list of holdings is available from the Hobart Office.
|Title or description of record||Date range||Series number|
|Drawings of Commonwealth buildings – Tasmania||1903–32||P1715|
|Correspondence files of Tasmanian lighthouse administration||1922–61||P1129|
|Correspondence files of Tasmanian lighthouse administration||1916–62||P1130|
|Files and papers relating to particular Tasmanian lighthouses||1919–62||P1131|
Records for lighthouses located at Cape Forestier, Circular Head, Iron Pot Islet (Derwent Light), Emu Bay, Hunter Island, Mersey Bluff, Table Cape and Three Hummock Island, are held by other offices of the National Archives. Keyword searches on RecordSearch using the name of the lighthouse will identify records of interest.
Other lighthouses in Australia
Records held by the Archives Office of Tasmania
Many relevant records for the period before Federation are held by the Archives Office of Tasmania, part of the Tasmanian Archive and Heritage Office.