1894: Stephens Island Lighthouse completed

Timaru Herald, 7 February 1894, p3


The erection of this lighthouse has now been completed. The lowest site that could be found for the light was 570ft, and adding the height of the tower, the centre of the light will be about 600ft above sea level, which will give a range of about 32 nautical miles. The apparatus is novel in design, and forms a four-sided cage of glass, fitted in gunmetal framing about 8 1/2 ft in height, and 6ft in diameter. Each of the four faces is in two central lenses or discs, surrounded by light prismatic rings, with four reflecting prisms below, and a crown of 13 holophotal prisms above. In the focus of the apparatus is a lamp having a burner with five concentric wicks, the flame being 4 1/2 inches in diameter, and having a power equal to 515 standard candles. The machinery, which may in popular language be called a huge clock, is driven by a large iron weight of 2 1/2 cwt., which requires winding up every three quarters of an hour. The machine has a maintaining power which keeps the apparatus going at the required speed even while the weight is being wound up, and provision is also made for working the machine by hand if any accident happens to the winding gear. The apparatus is so arranged that as each face comes in view mariners see two flashes of intensely white light following each other in rapid succession every half-minute. The lantern was made by Messrs Dove and Co., of Edinburgh; the revolving machine by Messrs Milne and son, of the same place; and the optical apparatus by Messrs Barbier, of Paris. The work of preparing the roads, sites for the lighthouse, keepers’ house, &c., was commenced by a working party under Mr D. Scott, on the 6th April, 1892. from the landing to the lighthouse there it an iron tramway, 7-8ths of a mile long. The first portion, for 1600ft. is very steep, and is worked by horse-power, with two steel-wire ropes and whims. From the second whim to tho tower is level. The tower is of cast iron, and was made by Beany and Sons, of Auckland, The first and second keepers’ homes have each six rooms, and the third keeper’s four rooms. Brick tanks, each holding 2000 gallons of water, are built into the ground at each house, to be filled by the water from the roofs. The foundation of the tower is concrete, of which 47 tons of materials were used. During the construction of the works the Hinemoa made 24 trips to the island with men, stores, and material, and landed 750 tens. The annual consumption of oil at the lighthouse will be about 1300 gallons.