WORK: The Middle Bluff lighthouse on Woody Island will be restored.
WORK: The Middle Bluff lighthouse on Woody Island will be restored. Contributed

Woody Is lighthouse restoration to cost $175k

THE quaint Middle Bluff lighthouse that has stood on Great Sandy’s Woody Island for 150 years will be restored by Pialba company Metcalfe Constructions which was awarded a $175,600 tender.

A structural engineer prepared a condition report that identified the scope of works for the Middle Bluff lighthouse.

It will involve conservation of its structural integrity, works to repair the external cladding and features, and resealing to protect it from the elements.

The work is expected to start in July and is scheduled for completion by October this year, in time for the lighthouse’s 150th anniversary in 2017.

Minister for Environment and Heritage Protection Steven Miles said the whole island was listed as a cultural heritage landscape in the Queensland Cultural Heritage Register.

“Woody Island holds vast European and indigenous cultural heritage values, including two historic timber lighthouses, the ruins of the light keeper’s cottages, grave sites, telegraph line, indigenous fish traps and stories of interest,” he said.

“The island’s two lighthouses, located at Middle Bluff and North Bluff, are two of the Fraser Coast’s oldest buildings.

“They were built in 1866 and the lanterns were turned on in 1867.

“The lighthouses reflect the growth and development of Queensland after its separation from New South Wales as a colony.”

The two lighthouses were used in tandem as a navigational aid, an arrangement believed to be unique in Australia.

“The lighthouses’ unique hexagonal structure and timber cladding are an example of early Queensland architecture,” Dr Miles said.

Butchulla Elder and president of the Butchulla Men’s Business Aboriginal Association Glen Miller spoke about his connection to the island.

“The island means a lot to me,” he said.

“My dad worked for Harbours and Marine in the 1950s when I was a child – he was part of the team taking gas bottles and other supplies and services to Big Woody Island – and my great-uncle was skipper of the tug that serviced the island from Urangan.”

A call for tenders for the construction of lighthouses and a light-keeper’s cottage on Woody Island was advertised in the Maryborough Chronicle on May 26, 1866.

Deputy Mayor George Seymour said he was thrilled to see the State Government taking action to restore the historic structure.

“This structure has stood on this site for 150 years and with this restoration it should be there for many more generations to enjoy and learn from.”

Cr Seymour said he thought the lighthouse had good tourism potential.

“Hopefully we can make it easier to visit and experience.”

The site will be closed to visitors during the works.

Once the works have finished, visitors will be able to view the lighthouse via the Middle Bluff walking track.