Puysegur Point Lighthouse

Puysegur Point is in the far southwest of the South Island of New Zealand. It lies within Fiordland National Park on the southern head of Preservation Inlet, some 145 kilometres west-northwest of Invercargill.

The lighthouse is now automated but for many years was the home of three married light keepers.

Wireless was installed at Puysegur Point in 1925.

The original wooden lighthouse was burned down in 1942 by a man who had recently left a psychiatric hospital and made his way down to Coal Island across the fjord from the lighthouse. He decided the light was a deliberate plot to keep him awake at night by shining in his window so took matters into his own hands. He held the keepers hostage with a rifle, smashed the radio telephone and set fire to the lighthouse.

The concrete lighthouse which replaced it has now in turn been replaced by two automated beacons.

Radio callsign: VMU until 1927, then ZMU
Location: 46°10′ S, 166°36′ E
Elevation: 45 metres above sea level
Construction: cast iron tower
Tower height: 5 metres
Light configuration: modern rotating beacon
Light flash character: white light flashing once every 12 seconds
Power source: batteries
Range: 19 nautical miles (35 kilometres)
Date light first lit: 1879
Automated: 1943
Demanned: 1990

Puysegur Point. Otago Witness, 9 August 1916

Puysegur Point. Otago Witness, 9 August 1916

Puysegur Point. Date unknown

Puysegur Point. Date unknown. Courtesy: Chris Underwood

The original Puysegur Point lighthouse

The original 50′ high Puysegur Point lighthouse, which was destroyed by fire in 1942. Photo: Evening Post

Puysegur Point lighthouse on fire, 8 February 1942

Puysegur Point lighthouse on fire, 8 February 1942. Photo: Capt JC Mercer

Radio installation at Puysegur Point lighthouse

Radio installation at Puysegur Point lighthouse. Photo courtesy Chris Underwood

The photos above and below were taken in 1940 or later, based on the presence of the Hallicrafters S-22R Skyrider Marine receiver (seen behind the telegraph key in the above photo) which was first produced in 1940.

Radio installation at Puysegur Point lighthouse

Radio installation at Puysegur Point lighthouse. Photo courtesy Alex Glennie

An early photo of radio masts at Puysegur Point lighthouse

An early photo of radio masts at Puysegur Point lighthouse. Photo courtesy Alex Glennie

Radio masts at Puysegur Point lighthouse

Radio masts at Puysegur Point lighthouse. Photo courtesy Chris Underwood

Radio masts at Puysegur Point lighthouse

Radio masts at Puysegur Point lighthouse. Photo courtesy Alex Glennie

Puysegur Point light with its bank of solar panels

The current Puysegur Point light with its bank of solar panels. Photo: Maritime NZ

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