Last Days for Lighthouses

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Last Days for Lighthouses

There are only a few days left to see the National Archives of Australia touring exhibition Beacons by the Sea: Stories of Australian Lighthouses on display at the Gladstone Regional Art Gallery and Museum until Saturday, 21 October.

Gladstone is the last stop for this touring exhibition which took three days of installation transforming the Town Hall Gallery into a myriad of life stories from those who lived in these beacons by the sea.

Whether it's their distinctive architecture, their splendid isolation or the romantic association they conjure, it seems almost everyone has a soft spot for lighthouses.

The display traces the history of lighthouses in Australia from the time of European colonisation through to automation. It looks at lighthouses from inside and out, recalling the humorous, sad and sometimes tragic stories and experiences of lighthouse keepers and their families over the last 100 years.

Featuring lighthouse plans, letters, log books, photographs and film, the exhibition highlights the architecture and design of lighthouses, their roles during war, shipwrecks, myths and changing technology.

Much of the material in the exhibition is from the rich collection of lighthouse records held by the National Archives, with additional items sourced from the Australian National Maritime Museum, the Australian Maritime Safety Authority and the Queensland Maritime Museum.

The exhibition is complemented by a collection of photographs, memorabilia and maps relating to local maritime history and anyone with stories or objects relating to local maritime history is encouraged to contact the Gallery/Museum during the exhibition.

The harbour has played a major role in the history of Gladstone from early settlers arriving on passenger vessels to the large international cargo ships which come and go on a regular basis today. Because of this long affinity with the harbour, the exhibition presents the perfect opportunity to explore our own maritime history further.

The new exhibition also presents a fun and educational experience for school groups. Educational material for primary and secondary students relating to the exhibition is linked to school curriculum and can be downloaded from this website or by contacting the Gallery/Museum. This material includes activity sheets, teaching strategies, historical context for the exhibition, maps, and references and resources. For further information please contact Public Programs Officer Bronwyn Roper at or on 4976 6766.

The tour of this exhibition was assisted by Visions of Australia, a Commonwealth Government Program providing funding support to tour exhibitions of cultural material across Australia. Visions of Australia aims to provide all Australians, wherever they live, with better access to the nation's cultural heritage; historic, scientific and visual arts material; and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander culture.

Image: Cape Willoughby, Kangaroo Island, SA, NAA: A6227

Beacons by the Sea education kit (PDF 1022kb)