Monday, September 14, 2015

Mossel Bay (Cape St Blaize) Lighthouse

Lat. 34 11 10 S. Long. 22 09 25 E

In 1861 the Mossel Bay Harbour Board approached the Cape Government requesting a lighthouse be put up near the port. The British government turned down the appeal on the basis that it served the harbour only. Undaunted the Harbour Board regrouped and in due course began extensive planning and work on upgrading Mossel Bay harbour.

There was certainly enough shipping to warrant a lighthouse at Mossel Bay and in 1862 a contractor was hired to build a tower and quarters. A fixed red light of the third-order dioptric was ordered from Messrs Wlken and Co, England, at a cost of 550 pounds. It was designed for fifteen miles range in clear weather.

By November the same year the lighting apparatus was in place. The square white tower was 20.5 metres high and the focal plane of the light 73 metres above mean sea level. The light was exhibited on 15 March 1864.

John Armstrong, the first lightkeeper, was recommended by the Harbour Board for his good character. He received 90 pounds per annum and quarters.

Governor Wodehouse laid the foundation stone of the tower in 1862 while on a visit to the Eastern Cape.

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