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Tiritiri Matangi (1865)

 

    

Photo courtesy of MSA.

 

 

Situated on Tiritiri Matangi Island in the Hauraki Gulf, this is the oldest operational lighthouse in New Zealand. 

The cast iron tower manufactured in England was shipped to New Zealand aboard the Queen of the Deep arriving in Auckland 15 June 1864. The tower and lenses, packed in 279 packages and 35 cases and weighing seventy nine tons was then shipped to the island and moved to the building site by sledges pulled by 12 bullocks. The total cost to build the lighthouse was 5500.      5288  2

The tower is the twin to the tower at Cape Egmont that was designed by McLean and Stilman, civil engineers of Great George Street, London. 3

Over the years the lighting equipment has been changed several times. Originally the lamp burned colza oil, then in 1879 was converted to paraffin oil. A red glass pane was added to the lantern in 1882 to throw a red light over nearby Flat Rock. After an automatic light was installed on Flat Rock in 1922 the red pane was removed. In 1916 the light was converted to kerosene. 

 

Auto light for Flat Rock is deferred.

223. Dominion, Volume 7, Issue 2006, 13 March 1914, Page 8

 

The keepers were withdrawn from the island in 1925 when the light was replaced with an automatic acetylene burning revolving light. However the keepers returned in 1947 when the light was upgraded once again. In 1955 the light was converted again from oil to diesel generated electricity. 

After a private donation from a Auckland businessman, Sir Ernest Davis in 1956, the light was converted to a new eleven million candlepower xenon light the most powerful light in the Southern Hemisphere at that time. This light had a range of 58 miles. In 1966 a 5 kilometre underwater cable was laid to the island and the light ran off the national grid.

When bulbs for the xenon light became unavailable in 1984, the light was converted to a quartz iodine lamp and the lighthouse become fully automatic. It is now powered by batteries recharged by solar panels. 

The original fog signal building was situated down a cliff face on the north-east side of the island. The circular steel building is about the same size as a telephone box and inside there was a well with a steel rope descending into it with weights attached. As the weights slowly sunk the steel rope turned a horizontal steel wheel with holes drilled in the outer edges. These holes contained cartridges that were detonated by a hammer dropping as the wheel slowly turned producing an explosion loud enough to be heard by passing vessels. 

In later years a new diesel engine powered signal was installed.

The last keeper of the light became the first conversation officer of the island when Tiritiri became a wildlife sanctuary within the Hauraki Gulf Wildlife Park. (See Culvier Island)

 

 

DIRECTIONS:

Two companies offer ferries to Tiritiri Matangi from both Auckland and Whangaparaoa.

Gulf Harbour Ferries. http://www.gulfharbourferries.co.nz

Fullers. http:/www.fullers.co.nz 

See reference page for more details.

 

Island North
Province Auckland
Location Island in Hauraki Gulf off Whangaparaoa Peninsula
Number K3740
Date Commissioned 1 January, 1865
Date Decommissioned
Automated 1984
Latitude 36 36' South
Longitude 174 54 East
Elevation Above Sea Level 91m
Height 75 ft    20m
Character Flashes once every 15 seconds
Range 18 N. miles (33 km)
Made Simpsons of Pimlico, London, England
Construction Cast iron
Converted Kerosene To Diesel 1955
Converted Diesel To Mains Electricity 1966
Wattage
Present Tower Original
Authority
Date Visited

 

 

Principal Keeper From To
  (1st lit Jan 1, 1865)  
Alexander Gibson  82   January 1, 1865  82  June, 1874  82
John Wheeler  82  22  June 15, 1874  82  22  September 19, 1878  82  22
James McKay  82 September, 1878  82 November 24, 1885  82
John Marsh  82   December, 1885  82  July, 1890  82
Norman Simpson  82  197    August, 1890  82  197   August, 1898  82  197  
Alexander Connell  82  212  September 16, 1898  82  May 8, 1902  82
Charles H. S Broughton  82 May 8, 1902  82 May, 1903  82
Horace A Wakefield  82  May, 1903  82 August 6, 1906  82
Anders Hansen  82 August 6, 1906  82 November 16, 1909  82

John Frederick Rayner  82  81   80   

November 16, 1909  82   81   80 December 2, 1912  82  81   80
Philip J Voyle  82    January 31, 1913  82 October, 1915  82
Thomas H Turner  82  October, 1915  82 June, 1917  82
William John Arnold  82    July 17, 1917  82  May, 1920  82
Rainsford H Neal  82   May 31, 1920  82  February 23, 1925  82
Robert S Wilson  82    February 23, 1925  82 1925  82
     
C Bowles  82    1947  82
     
Mac Cranston  3 c  1945  3 1953  3
Bob Welsh  3 1953  3  
     
Peter Taylor    
     
     

 

Assistant Keeper (1st) From To
  (1st lit Jan 1, 1865)  
George S. Hand  82  January 1, 1865  82  1867  82
Robert Wilson  82  200 July 1, 1867  82  June, 1874  82
James McKay  82 May, 1874  82  September, 1878  82     Promoted to PK
John Leith  82  September 8, 1878  82  June, 1881  82
Andreas Fremming Stewart Sandager  82  80 June 23, 1881  82  80 May 17, 1883  82  80
Felix McGahey  82 May 17, 1883  82 August 26, 1886  82
Robert H. Leighton  82 September 1, 1886  82 February 2, 1889  82
Thomas Joseph Cox  22 February 2, 1889  22 August 2, 1890  22  September 2, 1890  82
John Jess  82  22   August, 1890  82  September, 1894  82
Henry Jacobsen  82 September, 1894  82 October, 1900  82
Charles Moeller  22  82 November 15, 1900  82 August, 1902  82
Peter W. Grenfell  82 July, 1902  82  January 27, 1903  82
     
Alexander Duncan  82  January 26, 1905  82  September 12, 1907  82
Albert Victor Pearce  82  22  September 13, 1907  82  22 September 22, 1910  82  22
Robert H. Leighton  (act)  82 September 22, 1910  82 September 24, 1910  82
William Samuel Hill Creamer and Eliza Louisa Creamer  82   191 September 24, 1910  82 1909 191 July 23, 1912  82
Christopher R. Gow  82   July 23, 1912  82 October 10, 1913  82
Charles N. Trainer  82  October 13, 1913  82 December, 1914  82
William K. Cleverly  82 December, 1914  82 May, 1916  82
William Smith  82 May, 1916  82 August, 1919  82
     
Joshua S. Roberts  82   January 21, 1920  82 January 10, 1923  82
Roy S. Gotts  82   January 10, 1923  82 June 8, 1923  82
Robert Havern  82 August 24, 1923  82  June 17, 1924  82
     
     
     
Tom A Clark  3     (c  early 1950's)  3  
     
     
Peter Taylor 1961 1961
Robert Wallace  198 1961  198 1962/63  198
     
     


 

Sources

Additional Sources:

?.  Evening Post, Volume CXII, Issue 148, 19 December 1931, Page 28

 

82. http://www.angelfire.com/ga3/gretasplace/Resources/LighthouseKeepers.html

81http://freepages.genealogy.rootsweb.ancestry.com/~nzbound/rayner.htm

80http://www.angelfire.com/ga3/gretasplace/Resources/Lighthouse/Stopforth.html

191. William Creamer (Noeline Fairchild (daughter of Charlotte May Creamer, eldest daughter of W & E Creamer), April 7, 2013)

197. Norman Simpson (Gayle Dickison, Nov 4 2011)

198. Robert Wallace (Tim Wallace, July 7, 2013) 

200. Robert Wilson (Olwyn Bourne, Feb 8, 2013)

 

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Text and photographs. Copyright 1999-2013 Mark Phillips. All rights reserved.

If anyone has any information on this light please contact me. thekiwimark@msn.com

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