Wednesday, July 29, 2015
Green Point Lighthouse, Natal, and its keepers
Brought into operation in 1905, Green Point Lighthouse on Natal's South Coast was the second last SA lighthouse to use petroleum vapour burners and the first to be fully automated in November 1961.
Light intensity was approximately 240 000 cd. The lighthouse had an added feature: a subsidiary sector light exhibiting a fixed red light over an arc subtending the extremities of the Aliwal Shoal.
In the days when it was a manned light, Green Point, though not far from Durban, was a comparatively isolated and inaccessible light for lightkeepers and their families.The old South Coast Road to Port Shepstone was seven miles inland and was connected to the lighthouse by a secondary road running through the canefields. The old road was always in poor condition and the staff used the train from Clansthal to visit Umkomaas or Durban. When the new tarred road, running close to the sea, was built, a short access road was cut through the bush to the lighthouse. This enabled those members of the staff who were fortunate enough to own cars to travel to Umkomaas in a few minutes and to Durban in less than an hour. But lightkeepers no longer frequent the road in this area. Another era has gone.
Names of the senior lightkeepers at Green Point before automation:
C G Johnson
E D Bayes
J R Clingen
C H Cornish
E L Andreasen
J C Addison
H H Hews
W A Hews
F C Miller
* father of Archbishop D Hurley
The last lightkeepers did not benefit from the electricity supply - it resulted in their permanent withdrawal.
Read more in Harold Williams's authoritative volume Southern Lights, Lighthouses of Southern Africa (Published by Wm Waterman 1993)