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5.3. Cultural values


Again, the text from the current Commonwealth Heritage List is shown in italic type below, with comments interspersed in roman type:

5.3.1. Processes (criterion a)


Dent Lighthouse, constructed in 1879, is significant as a light tower built in response to the dramatic expansion of regular coastal shipping along the inner route of the Great Barrier Reef, following the economic development of Northern Queensland.

The Lightstation Complex of tower, houses, store shed, engine room and combined workshop/radio room, dating from 1879 to c. 1960 is significant as a complete intact example of a Lightstation Complex in Queensland. Later stages of development have integrated with the original fabric and detail of the Lightstation, contributing to the continuum of a complex dedicated to the single aim of maintaining the navigation aids.

Attributes: The lighthouse and its relationship to the houses, storage shed, engine room and combined workshop/radio room, dating from 1879 to c. 1960.

5.3.2. Rarity (criterion b)


(This criterion is not referred to in the Commonwealth Heritage List)
While the lightstation might not possess sufficient rarity to meet the threshold for Commonwealth listing, the 1879 lighthouse is one of only six of its type to survive in service. Such lighthouses were never common — a total of 12 of this type were built between 1873 and 1890.2 Another related aspect is the use of a type of lantern house locally designed (in the Colonial Architect’s office) — ten lanterns of this design were built, of which five survive in service.3
The shore-mounted derrick crane, built around 1960, is another rare element of the lightstation. Such cranes were built at some other lightstations, but few survive as intact as the one at Dent Island.4
Attributes: The lighthouse tower with its timber frame, stairs, ladder, floors, partition walls, and doors; the iron plating and bronze porthole windows; the lantern house — all of these elements were locally designed and made in Queensland. Also the derrick crane with its associated winch house.

5.3.3. Characteristic values (criterion d)


The Lighthouse is significant as an intact representative example of a timber-framed, iron clad tower (Type B), an adaptation by the Queensland Government of the imported prefabricated type using components from the United Kingdom. Dent Lighthouse is important as one of a pair of identical lighthouse towers in the Whitsunday Passage, the other being situated at Cape Cleveland.
The previous comments regarding construction type are also applicable, as are the comments about Cape Cleveland.
Attributes: The structural system and all of the fabric including timber framing and iron cladding.

5.3.4. Aesthetic characteristics (criterion e)


(This criterion is not referred to in the Commonwealth Heritage List)
While the aesthetic value may not be high enough to meet the threshold for Commonwealth listing, it is still a substantial value that warrants conservation.
Attributes: The visual impression of the buildings sitting in a partly cleared, modified and tended landscape.

5.3.5. Technical achievement (criterion f)


(This criterion is not referred to in the Commonwealth Heritage List)
While the level of technical achievement may not be high enough to meet the threshold for Commonwealth listing, it is still a substantial value that warrants conservation.
Attributes: The evidence of the local Queensland design of the timber and iron tower, and the lantern room; the evidence of local manufacture of the tower and lantern.

photo of the dent island lighthouse taken in 2012.

Figure — The lighthouse in 2012

The glazed section of the lantern is blanked on the landward side, as seen in this view. (Image: Peter Marquis-Kyle)

6. The fabric of the lightstation

6.1. Introduction


In this chapter the parts of the lightstation for which AMSA is responsible are discussed separately from the parts for which the GBRMPA (through its private lessee) is responsible.

6.2. List of the elements of the lightstation


All elements of the lightstation are located to the south of the island, on the western side. The numbers in the list below correspond with those shown on Figure 14.

6.2.1. Elements within the AMSA lease (assets owned by AMSA)


1 Lighthouse

6.2.2. Elements within the private lease (assets held by GBRMPA on behalf of the Commonwealth)


2 Engine room

3 Winch house

4 Derrick crane

5 Landing platform

6 Boat platform and access ladder

7 Cottage 1

8 Workshop, store and radio room

9 Cottage 2

10 Septic pits and absorption trench

11 Concrete water tank

12 Tramline, trolley and cables

13 Metal water tank and stand

14 Paths, stairs and bridges

15 Polyethylene water tank

16 Graves

17 Lightstation grounds

18 Boulders

19 Access road

20 Spa bath and roof

21 Fowl house


6.3. The lighthouse (AMSA property)


Except for the lighting equipment and its energy source, the lighthouse is little changed from its original form. The original kerosene wick burner was replaced with a brighter incandescent kerosene burner in the mid-1920s. The original roller pedestal was also replaced with a mercury float pedestal around the same time, and the lens assembly may have been changed.
In 1983 the light was automated by removing the fourth order dioptric lens assembly and kerosene burner, and fitting a Tideland ML-300 self-contained electric beacon powered by batteries charged by solar panels attached to the balcony handrail. The electric beacon was mounted on the 1920s Chance Brothers pedestal (the mercury having been removed from the trough). A fence of galvanised iron pipe and chain wire was built around the lighthouse.
In 2010 the ML-300 beacon (lit by a tungsten halogen lamp) was replaced with a new beacon lit by light emitting diode (LED) lamps.
The wire fence was removed by AMSA in 2011. AMSA intends to remove the remnant fence post bases.


6.3.1. Elements of the lighthouse





Element

History

Description and condition

Significance

Footing and tower base

pmk_20060908_8269


Built in 1879 and not substantially altered.



Circular mass concrete footing extending 900 mm below ground level and standing 700 mm above ground.


Includes stone surrounding wall, two stone entry steps and central weight pit.
All in good stable condition.

Highly significant for these reasons:


The base is an essential part of the lighthouse and demonstrates a local Queensland design (criterion a).

The base is a characteristic element of lighthouses of its type (criterion d).


The base is an essential part of the innovative structural design of the Queensland timber and iron lighthouse towers (criterion f).



Tower
pmk_20120524_9261_tower
pmk_20060908_8253
porthole


sectiontower

(Source: National Archives of Australia, series J2775, item 1717459)





Built in 1879 and not substantially altered. The hardwood frame was prefabricated in Brisbane, then brought to Dent Island for erection.



Frame of hardwood studs and rails with joints reinforced with forged iron straps, lined with diagonal pine tongue and groove boards.


Pine tongue and groove boarded weight tube between ground floor and lantern floor.
Timber stair with two straight runs and one section of winders, from ground floor to first floor. Fixed vertical timber ladder from first floor to lantern floor.
Ground floor entry door with timber framed and sheeted leaf with inset metal louvre vent panel. Internal panelled door on first floor lantern vestibule/airlock.
Intermediate (first) floor of hardwood joists and pine floorboards.
Plating of curved galvanised wrought iron of 10 gauge (3.175 mm) thickness, with lapped and riveted joints, screwed to timber frame.
Round porthole windows of cast gunmetal, with inward opening sashes. Each window has an internal copper gutter to catch any water that drips from the sash, with copper pipe to carry the water out through the plating.
All in good stable condition.

Highly significant for these reasons:


The tower is an essential part of the lighthouse and demonstrates a local Queensland design (criterion a).

The tower is a characteristic element of lighthouses of its type (criterion d).


The tower contributes to the aesthetic value of the lighthouse (criterion e)
The tower is an essential part of the innovative structural design of the Queensland timber and iron lighthouses (criterion f).

Balcony and lantern floor
pmk_20120524_9264_balcony
sectionbalcony

(Source: National Archives of Australia, series J2775, item 1717459)


pmk_20060908_8244

Built in 1879 and not substantially altered. The hardwood frame was prefabricated in Brisbane and then brought to Dent Island for erection.


Radiating hardwood joists with outer ends cut to profile.


Floorboards on top of joists, with rounding nosing at outer edge.
Lead covering with radial rolled joints, and outer edge dressed over the nosing.
Balustrade with solid wrought iron stanchions, and rails of galvanised iron pipe.
All in good stable condition.




Highly significant for these reasons:
The balcony is an essential part of the lighthouse and demonstrates a local Queensland design (criterion a).

The balcony is a characteristic element of lighthouses of its type (criterion d).


The balcony contributes to the aesthetic value of the lighthouse (criterion e)
The balcony is an essential part of the innovative structural design of the Queensland timber and iron lighthouses (criterion f).

Lantern
pmk_20120524_9264_cropped

Built in 1879. The component parts were prefabricated in Brisbane, then brought to Dent Island for assembly.


In the late 1920s the height of the lantern base was raised to accommodate the extra height of the mercury float pedestal.

Timber-framed base (murette) sheeted with curved iron plate on outside, vertical boards inside. A ring of timber blocks, in segments joined with lap joints, has been inserted between the lantern base and the glazing sill, covered on the outside with lead flashing.


Glazing of flat trapezoidal panes held in inclined astragals. Panes on the landward side are blanked.
Part-spherical roof (dome/cupola) of sheet galvanised iron curved both ways, on curved iron rafters attached to cast iron gutter ring. Heat vent tube still in place.
All in good stable condition.

Highly significant for these reasons:


The lantern is an essential part of the lightstation, and demonstrates a local Queensland design (criterion a).

The lantern is a characteristic element of lighthouses of its type (criterion d).


The lantern contributes to the aesthetic value of the lighthouse (criterion e)
The lantern demonstrates an innovative local response to the problem of economical lighthouse construction (criterion f).

Mercury float pedestal
pedestal

(Image: AMSA)



Manufactured by Chance Brothers & Company, Birmingham, UK and installed at Dent Island c. 1927.


In 1983 the fourth order dioptric rotating lens and kerosene lamp equipment were removed, the mercury drained from the trough, and the pedestal adapted to support an electric beacon.

Standard Chance Brothers & Company fourth order mercury float pedestal from which the clock, drive gear, lamp, lens and mercury have been removed.


In good stable condition.

Highly significant for this reason:


The pedestal is a rare surviving example of a small (fourth order) mercury float pedestal (criterion b).


Solar powered equipment
pmk_20120524_9264_solarpanels
batteries
led beacon

(Image: AMSA)


The system was installed in 1983.


In 2010 the ML-300 beacon was replaced with an LED beacon.

Three solar panels attached to the balcony handrail on aluminium frame.


Six batteries on galvanised steel rack in the lower room of the tower, with control box and associated cables.
LED self-contained fixed beacon mounted on the lamp pillar of the mercury float pedestal.

Not significant.


This is a typical set of current standard navigation equipment of which many other examples are in service.


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