Cape Otway Lightstation
A string of disastrous shipwrecks along the Victorian coast near Cape Otway catapulted the colonial government into action in the 1840s. The result was a lighthouse - opened in 1848 - on the point of the cape. It guided ships bound for Port Phillip through the narrow entrance to Bass Strait. Today, visitors can climb the lighthouse for spectacular coastal views.
Only 14 km from the Great Ocean Road, this extensive complex includes the oldest surviving officially built lighthouse on the Australian mainland. Due to concern over shipwrecks on the Bass Strait coast and King Island, pressure was exerted on the government to build a lighthouse at Cape Otway. Completed in 1848 and constructed of sandstone, it was only the second lighthouse constructed on mainland Australia. In 1859, one of the earliest telegraph stations in Australia was added to the facility, soon connecting Tasmania to the mainland through Cape Otway and Melbourne.
First whale oil, then kerosene, was used to keep the light burning. Later changes included diesel generators, electricity, radio and global positioning satellites. In 1994, the introduction of satellite navigation systems caused the 'old light' to be turned off and replaced with a small solar powered beacon.
At the beginning of 1997, the Lightstation was leased to a local company, to operate for tours and accommodation for visitors.