Thursday, October 9, 2014

Coastal Journey : Arty Places#14

Towards Nobbys Lighthouse 
In my series of blog posts about "Arty Places" the iconic Nobbys Lighthouse is the latest... right in the heart of the city where I live and I didn't really appreciate its beauty until I walked up to the lighthouse last Saturday.
from Nobbys Lighthouse 
Harbour entrance, from Nobbys Lighthouse
The day was perfect - clear skies providing a palette for the occasional fluffy cloud, a sea breeze singing of Spring,and the lighthouse shining white at the top of the headland. The lighthouse is usually open to the public only on Sundays and is a popular tourist attraction, adopted as a symbol of Newcastle. It wasn't always ...
Historical image 
Captain James Cook was the first European to note Nobbys Island from the ship "Endeavour" in 1770,and was described by Cook as "a small clump of an island lying close to shore". It was not until the discovery of coal by Europeans in 1797 by Lt. John Shortland, however, that the region was viewed as having any significance. From its early beginnings as an isolated island, Nobbys has changed significantly over the years. Nobbys was joined to the mainland and then reduced to half its original height, now 27.5 metres.
With its prominent position at the entrance to the Port, a lighthouse was built and just after midnight
on the 1st January 1858, the light came into operation. At that time, the light burnt China Tea Oil,
which gave a more brilliant light than kerosene and was less dangerous. It was later replaced by a fixed, incandescent kerosene vapour lamp. In 1935 the 100,000 candlepower light was changed to 580,000 candlepower, visible at a height of 35 metres above sea level.When Governor Macquarie ordered a pier to be built to join Nobbys to the mainland, convict labourwas chosen to do the construction.The building of the pier was a hazardous job with the convicts having to work under all sea andweather conditions, night and day. Many lives were lost to the sea during the 38 years it took to build. The rock taken from Nobbys to reduce its height was used in the pier's construction.  (information from

 In  June 2007,   we joined the  professional and amateur photographers from all over the world, trying to get the best image of  the lighthouse headland when the Pasha Bulker ran aground on Nobbys Beach ...

Back to the present.... The walk up to the lighthouse has wonderful scenes to savour - I loved to stop and look at the flowers and the rocks .... and I was catching my breath!

And here is where the "arty" connection is and the real reason for taking the walk to Nobbys - the lighthouse was host to "Coastal Journeys",  an exhibition by artists from the Hunter Arts Network. The opening was a tribute to the Aboriginal significance of Nobbys and the legend of the angry kangaroo  still residing at Nobbys was retold by Member for Newcastle, Sharon Claydon who officiated at the opening. ( PS my work is visible in the background)

Nothing more to say about a coastal journey to Nobbys but to quote Australian poet, Judith Wright... 
Turn home, the sun goes down; swimmer, turn home.
Last leaf of gold vanishes from the sea-curve.
Take the big roller’s shoulder, speed and serve;
come to the long beach home like a gull diving.


  1. My husband was involved in the restoration of the cottages. I'm extremely proud. I love the history of Nobbys and the lighthouse. I wish we learnt more of it at school

  2. Thank you for sharing some of the history of Nobbys. It's such a wonderful vantage point to view the city and such an interesting place to visit. I love your photos taken while you walked up to the lighthouse - the honeycomb appearance of the rock is such a familiar image from many years of walking along the Nobby's breakwall.


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