NEW ZEALAND LIGHTHOUSES
Postcard (date unknown) courtesy John Elsbury http://www.nzpostcard.co.nz/
Waipapa Point lighthouse, ca 1950s
Reference Number: 1/4-018157
Photographer unidentified. http://mp.natlib.govt.nz/detail/?id=37740&l=en
The scene of New Zealand's worst ship wreck, the Waipapa Reef claimed 131 lives when the S S Tararua run aground in the early hours of April 29th 1881. After nine hours of pounding by heavy surf the steamer broke up and sunk leaving only 20 survivors. 65 of those lost were buried at the Tararua Acre near the present day lighthouse. The remaining were buried at Fortrose Cemetery.
To prevent further tragedies a lighthouse was erected and on 1 January 1884 the light was lit by the first keeper J F Ericson.
J F Ericson moved to the lighthouse in 1883 as the first keeper, here is an excerpt from the Ericson family history; ee
On January 1st 1884 the light at Waipapa Point was first established, and an entry in the log 5.5.1884 states “female child born to Principal Keeper.” This was May. When Ruby (6.5.1886) and Frank (24.3.1889) were born they were able to get a nurse from the village in each case.
This was the first time the Ericsons had lived close to civilisation. The children were able to attend school at Otara, the older boys left school. Arthur settled on a farm in that area, George further afield at Orepuke. Alf McClure was the first school teacher at Otara. He taught Charlotte and in 1889 they were married. Charles joined NZ Railways, took the first train to Clyde in Central Otago, married about 1894. Work with the Railways took him to various places until he retired in Picton.
Sunday 17th June 1894. J F Ericson’s last entry in Log of Waipapa Lighthouse “Took Inventory of Government Property.”
Log entry for Monday 18th June 1894 reads “cleaned glass and brasswork and swept up. Government ship Hinemoa landed stores and oil etc and took Principal Keeper to Dog Island.". ee
After numerous disasters this light was first lit on Jan. 1 91, 1884. It is a second order dioptric revolving light. 91 It cost .£5969. 91
Originally a 2 keeper light station.
This would be the last wooden lighthouse built.
As the lighthouse was situated near the town of Fortrose, the lighthouse families attended church, bought their supplies and their children were able to attend school in the town.
In 1903, a 25 year veteran of the lighthouse service took his on life at the lighthouse.
1911-12, an incandescent light was installed. Porches added to the lighthouse keepers houses.
On 25 June, 1943 the lighthouse was the first lighthouse to be connected to the the national electricity grid. Reduced to 1 keeper.
But due to salt spray, lines buries underground 1959.
Road built 1949.
1965 new relieving keepers house built.
The lighthouse was automated in 1976 and the keepers houses and out buildings were demolished
In 1988, a solar powered filament lamp was installed.
In December, 2008, an LED beacon powered by batteries charged by solar panels was installed on the balcony of the lantern room. Also during 2008 a major restoration project was undertaken on the lighthouse.
A good way to see both Nugget Point and Waipapa Point lighthouses is to follow the "Southern Scenic Route" and "Heritage Trails" from Balclutha to Invercargill through the Catlins area..
From the town of Otara, Waipapa Point lighthouse can be reached by following Waipapa Lighthouse Road for about 5km. The road is sealed/gravel.
13a. DOC. Cape Brett, Keepers Stories
13b. DOC, Lighthouse of Foveaux Strait - A History. Angela Bain May, 2010. http://www.doc.govt.nz/publications/conservation/historic/by-region/southland/lighthouses-of-foveaux-strait-a-history/
91. Star , Issue 4872, 10 February 1894, Page 6. South Island Lighthouses
192. John F Ericson (Trevor Meikle, May 25, 2010)
246. Otago Daily Times , Issue 14249, 25 June 1908, Page 8
Text and photographs. Copyright © 1999-2013 Mark Phillips. All rights reserved.
If anyone has any information on this light please contact me. firstname.lastname@example.org