Friday, May 18, 2012

AUSTRALIA

Known for its treacherous reefs, rocks and weather, Cape Leeuwin is regarded by mariners as one of the most dangerous coastlines in the world. The Cape Leeuwin Lighthouse was first lit on December 1, 1896 to safely guide ships travelling to Australia’s eastern ports. It is mainland Australia’s tallest lighthouse: the 39 m (128 ft) round limestone tower stands 56 meters (183 ft) above sea level and its light is visible for 26 nautical miles (or 48 km). 
Originally unpainted, the tower had the natural stone color of Tamala limestone, but was painted white in 2004. The lighthouse was totally manually operated until 1982 when it was converted to electricity replacing the clockwork mechanism & kerosene burner, one of the last in the world. It was automated in September 1992.
The lighthouse is located on the headland of Cape Leeuwin, the most south-westerly point on the mainland of the Australian Continent, near Augusta, in the state of Western Australia (34°22′27″S 115°08′09″E). It stands at the point where the Indian and Southern Oceans meet. Guided tours are conducted daily at the lighthouse: after climbing 186 steps and seven floors on a metal spiral staircase it is possible to observe rock parrots, dolphins, fur seals and in season, whales. A visitor centre, café and retail shop are contained within the light station.