Port Molyneux situated at the mouth of the Clutha river was a bustling port between the 1860s and 1870s making Nugget Point with its reefs and rocks a necessary place for a lighthouse. Originally a 3 keeper light it was automated in 1982.
With the formation of the Marine Board of New Zealand in 1865 (renamed The Marine Department in 1866) who took of operations of all lighthouses, James Balfour was appointed the Marine Engineer and Inspector of Steamers on October 11, 1866. 10
Balfour designed the lighthouse but before the lighthouse could be lit, Balfour was drowned in a boating accident in Timaru Harbour in December, 1869. c
This light was lit on July 4, 1870. It is of the first order dioptric, and is a fixed light. s
Before it was lit several steamers were wrecked just under it, the s.s. South Australian, a few miles to the northward, on the Wangaloa Beach. s
In 1901 the light station was established as a Post Office, the 3rd of about 15 light stations around the country. 4
During 1909, the Marine Department who had earlier experimented with incandescent burner systems (Chance Patent) at Pencarrow, Stephens Island and Jack’s Point (Timaru) made a decision to install them in other lighthouses. Lighthouse expert, Mr. Scott installed the new burner on the light. h
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 Balclutha, drive to Kaka Point. From there a gravel road leads to Nugget Point. A 15 minute walk takes you out along a spectacular track to the lighthouse.
Sea animals to look out for are a Fur Seal colony and the rare Yellow-eyed Penquins.
|Date Commissioned||July 4,1870|
|Latitude||46° 27′ South|
|Longitude||169° 49′ East|
|Elevation Above Sea Level||76m|
|Character||Flashes twice every 12 seconds|
|Range||19 N. miles (35 km)|
|Construction||Stone, quarried on site|
|Converted Kerosene To Diesel||1949|
|Converted Diesel To Mains Electricity|
|Date Visited||4 January, 2000|
|1st lit, July 4, 1870|
|Robert J Campbell 22||March 8, 1871 22||December, 1877 22|
|William Cunningham 2||c 1881 2|
|Fitzroy Montague Smith 22||June, 1882 22||November 7, 1885 22|
|Alexander McKinlay 80||October, 1885 80||July, 1890 80|
|Alexander Parks 22 91||July, 1890 22||October 5, 1894 22|
|Mr. Voyle||July, 1897|
|John Frederick Rayner 80 81||July 1, 1897 80 81||June, 1902 80 81|
|Patrick Henaghan 22|
|Assistant Keeper (1st)||From||To|
|1st lit, July 4, 1870|
|Richard Tregurtha 190 2||c 1881 2||c 1881 2|
|Alan Henry 22 (Probationary) 22||September 30, 1885 22|
|George H. Allan 22||October 1, 1885 22||January 12, 1897 22|
|James Septemus Harwood 22||1894 22||June 2, 1894 22 (Resigned) 22|
|George Gwynne 2 Relief Keeper 2||c 1895/6 2|
|George Charles McCartney 22||November, 1895 22||March, 1899 22|
|Walter Canton 22||c March/April, 1899 22|
|Thomas Bankes Smith 22||October, 1907 22|
|George Odey 22||June 17, 1908 22||December 3, 1910 22|
|T (Tom) B Smith||During 1909|
22. Akaroa Museum
h. Otago Witness, February 17th, 1909.
91. Star , Issue 4872, 10 February 1894, Page 6. South Island Lighthouses
190. Richard Tregurtha ( Annette MacDonald, April 9, 2009).