Cape Leeuwin Lighthouse and Quarters


Shire of Augusta-Margaret River

Place Number



Leeuwin Rd Cape Leeuwin

Location Details

Local Government

Augusta/Margaret River


South West

Construction Date

Constructed from 1970, Constructed from 1896

Demolition Year


Statutory Heritage Listings

Type Status Date Documents
Commonwealth List YES 22 Jun 2004
State Register Permanent 13 May 2005 HCWebsite.Listing+ListingDocument, HCWebsite.Listing+ListingDocument

Other Heritage Listings and Surveys

Type Status Date Grading/Management
Classified by the National Trust Classified 02 Jun 1970
Survey of 20th Ctry Architecture Completed 01 Mar 1988
Register of the National Estate Permanent 21 Oct 1980
Municipal Inventory Adopted 17 Jun 1996 Criterion 1

Child Places

  • 04976 Memorial - HMAS Nizam, Cape Leeuwin Lighthouse

Statement of Significance

The Cape Leeuwin Lighthouse and cottages have much significance in the history of the Shire of Augusta-Margaret River. The construction of the lighthouse, which had been discussed for many years, finally marked a much safer period in shipping to this now busy region. Trade was flourishing, particularly with timber, so it is not surprising that one of the most diligent agitators for a lighthouse, and one of the contractors for its erection, was M.C.Davies. The lighthouse was considered a remarkable achievement for its time, well constructed and of the best working order. In addition, the lighting apparatus was the first of its kind ever made. It is a good example, therefore, of building and engineering skills and development of the time.

Physical Description

Cape Leeuwin Lighthouse and Quarters, a small precinct which contains a stone lighthouse, keepers' quarters (stone) and various service buildings. Cylindrical tower 135ft. Base-vane with plane of light 185ft from water level. Stone quarried within 0.5 mile of building. Handsome white volitic ironstone rock. On ground floor is oil room with 10 cylinders of 300 gallons of heavy mineral oil. In centre is hollow iron column holding chain and weights of clockwork revolving lantern. On 5th floor are telephones to the three cottages. Lightning conductor down wall on inside was first of its kind. Foundation stone laid December 1895. Three cottages built with the lighthouse by M C Davies and Wishart in 1895/96 using stone from Quarry Bay. The design appears to be a standard form and may also be seen at the Bathurst Point Light. The three cottages form a closely integral group with the lighthouse (R Campbell).


Agitation for a lighthouse in the south-west began around 1880, with one of the first sites suggested being St Alouarn Island. However the Forrest Government finally accepted the tender of Davies and Wishart (who had been pushing for the lighthouse) in 1895. The selection for the Cape Leeuwin site was influenced not only for its excellent location but also because of the availability of limestone in the area, making construction much easier and less costly. A good description of the lighthouse and cottages was given not long after its erection by George Hope in his study of the south-western districts in 1898: A sharp descent brings us to the level of the cape. The waters from the hills has formed a grassy swamp at their base, which we skirt, and, bowling along a well-made road, we drive out down the peninsular of rock and draw rein at one of the three comfortable stone cottages which have been built for the use of the lighthouse keepers on the east side of the cape. The lighthouse itself stands at the extreme point of Cape Leeuwin, in latitude 34 deg. 24 min. south, and longitude 115 deg. 09 min, east, the site chosen is about 70 feet above high water mark. The foundations are carried down 23 feet to the granite bed-rock, and the contract for erect was let to Messrs Davies and Wishart in April, 1895, the price being just under £8000, exclusive of the dome and light. The tower is cylindrical in form, and is 135 feet high from base to vane. The focal plane of the light is 185 feet above water level. The stone was all quarried within a half a mile of the building, and is handsome white politic ironstone rock. …..From the ground floor a door opens into the oil room where 10 large cylinders, five aside, with a capacity of 300 galloons each, hold the heavy mineral oil, of 240 deg. Test, which is specially adapted for lighthouse work…..Inside the walls, seven feet in thickness on the ground floor, an iron spiral staircase runs around the building to the summit, broken by seven floors at intervals. In the centre is a hollow iron column, which holds the chain and three-quarters of a ton weights propelling the clock-work that causes the lantern to revolve. On the fifth floor are the telephones connecting the lighthouse with the men’s quarters, and also with the post office at Karridale, whence all messages are forwarded onto the proper quarter by telegraph….Just overhead is a tank, which catches the rainfall from the dome, and from which it is drawn by a tap on this floor. Down the wall is a lightning conductor. The culminating point of interest is, of course, the lighting apparatus. This is on the sixth floor, and was furnished by Chance Bros and Co, Limited, of Birmingham, and was the first of its kind made…..There is a raised balcony on the top of the masonry at the sixth floor, outside the dome, from which a grand view is obtained up the coast north towards Hamelin Bay, and east past the mouth of the Blackwood……At the north-east corner of the structure is a large block of stone, inscribed on its northern aspect “Foundation stone laid by the Hon. Sir John Forrest, Premier of the Colony, 13th December, 1895,” and on its eastern side, “Dedicated to the world’s mariners, 10th December, 1896”. This is commemorative of the two ceremonies which marked the commencement of the undertaking. During the opening ceremony, “newspapers of the colony and coins were placed in a jar and buried under the foundation stone and Mr Wishart presented the Premier with a silver trowel, suitably engraved, from the contracting firm, Davies and Wishart”. (Creswell, LOL, p.96) The trowel is now in the Augusta Historical Museum. The two southerly cottages were built of the same stone as the lighthouse, but the third northern, cottage was constructed of granite/gneiss, also from the site. There was also a timber cottage erected at the time, though this is no longer standing. The lantern for the lighthouse cost £425 and the optical apparatus, £4.069.


Ref ID No Ref Name Ref Source Ref Date
George Hope;"Westralia: South Western Districts", Supplement to the GeraldtonExpress. p 48 1898
Gail Cresswell;"The Light of the Leeuwin". p 96 Margaret River 1989

State Heritage Office library entries

Library Id Title Medium Year Of Publication
7189 Very much on watch : the Percy Willmott photos : Augusta, Margaret River, Busselton 1901 - 1919. Book 2003
5195 Opportunity to develop visitor accommodation, facilities and services at the Cape Leeuwin Lighthouse and Cape Naturaliste Lighthouse precincts : guidelines for submissions. Report 2001
3519 Leeuwin lighthouse : a brief history. Book 1996
482 Historical sites in the Margaret River Augusta region : a photographic survey of documented and undocumented historical sites in the region carried out by students of the University of Western Australia, Department of Architecture. Heritage Study {Other} 1980
5468 Review of improvements to meet building code of Australia for the Cape Leeuwin and Cape Naturaliste lighthouses. Report 2001
3423 Conservation plan : Cape Leeuwin Lightstation Western Australia. Heritage Study {Cons'n Plan} 1992
7183 Lighthouses of Australia : images from the end of an era. Book 2001
8667 Leeuwin Lighthouse Precinct site plan. Heritage Study {Other} 2006

Place Type

Individual Building or Group


Epoch General Specific
Original Use Transport\Communications Water: Lighthouse
Present Use Transport\Communications Water: Lighthouse

Construction Materials

Type General Specific
Roof METAL Corrugated Iron
Wall ASBESTOS Fibrous Cement, flat
Wall STONE Limestone
Wall STONE Granite

Historic Themes

General Specific
OUTSIDE INFLUENCES Water, power, major t'port routes
TRANSPORT & COMMUNICATIONS River & sea transport
OCCUPATIONS Timber industry

Creation Date

30 May 1989

Publish place record online (inHerit):


Last Update

01 Jan 2017


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