The Cape Borda Lighthouse

The Cape Borda Lighthouse on Kangaroo Island The Cape Borda Lighthouse on Kangaroo Island was isolated and the scene of tragedy in its early years. It is the only square stone lighthouse in South Australia.

The Cape Borda Lighthouse on Kangaroo Island
Photograph: Peter Coombs


LOCATION: Latitude 35° 45' 3" S, Longitude 136° 35' 7" E (map)
OPERATOR: Australian Maritime Safety Authority
CHARACTER: Group Flash 4 Every 20 Seconds
LIGHT SOURCE: 120v 1000w Tungsten Halogen Lamp
POWER SOURCE: Mains Electricity
INTENSITY: 170,000 cd
ELEVATION: 155 Metres
RANGE: 21 Nautical Miles
HEIGHT: 10 metres

The Cape Borda Lighthouse and Cannon
Photograph: Chris Klep


The lighthouse was built in 1858, and is the third oldest remaining in South Australia. It is also the only square stone lighthouse in South Australia.

It was built to guide sailing ships arriving in to South Australia off the Roaring Forty trade-winds and into the Investigator Straits and on to Adelaide.

In the early days supplies had to landed by boat and hauled up long steel railway at nearby Harvey's Return.

The small cannon was put in place to be fired during fog to signal ships of danger before the introduction of radio. It was also believed that due to the Russian scare the placement of the cannon was symbolic of a small military presence, and therefore seen as a deterrence to invasion from possible enemy ships! Indeed one of the reasons for building the lightstation in that position was to be a lookout for Russian ships.

In late 1999, NPWSA restored the cannon and test-fired it at Midnight 2000 as part of a global exercise of time-signals at maritime locations around the world. The cannon was found to be Y2K compliant and has since fired every day at the traditional hour of 1pm

It is only one three lighthouses in Australia to retain a Deville lantern room.

The light was converted to automatic operation in 1989.

The Cape Borda Lightstation
Photograph: Winsome Bonham

The Cape Borda Lighthouse at Dusk
Photograph: Brian Lord

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