The most outstanding structure on Deal Island is, of course, the lighthouse. Built in 1848, it is the tallest lighthouse in Australia at nearly 1000' (305M) above sea level. In fact, it's the tallest lighthouse in the Southern Hemisphere. Unfortunately, it is so high, it was many times occluded by clouds and fog and couldn't be seen by ships … not good if you're a lighthouse. It was manned until 1992, when two new, unmanned lighthouses were built on nearby Northeast Isle and Southwest Island. It looks regal sitting on the bluff as you approach the island, but it's absolutely awesome when you get up close and personal.
Not only can you visit the lighthouse, you can climb the spiral staircase to the top and get a close-up look into the massive fresnel lens.
Stepping out onto the narrow walkway that surrounds the top of the lighthouse takes your breath away with a million dollar, 360 degree view of the Bass Strait.
Not far from the lighthouse, we saw a tiny grave simply marked “Baby”. Research indicates that the grave belonged to the infant daughter of the Jacksons, assistant lighthouse keepers in the 1890's.
Another marked grave over by Squally Cove is that of Rev. Mr. Baker's 11-year-old daughter, who died c. 1872 near Deal Island on a ship en route from England to New South Wales and was buried here. The grief associated with burying your child in this isolated place and then having to leave is unfathomable to us, but a necessity in the time and place.
We wandered up to Barn Hill to look at the whim, a vertical track used in the early days to haul supplies from the jetty to the Compound above. Bullocks did the heavy work then, but the whim has long since deteriorated to just a remnant of the past. A small ute (pick-up) is used now to lug supplies up and down the road from jetty to Compound. Nearby the whim, the grave of John Thomas Hague, head lighthouse keeper who died here in 1924, is fenced and well-marked.
Walking the well-worn paths on the island, visiting the museum, seeing the lighthouse and the graves, conjures up all sorts of images of the lives that were led here and of the ordeals and hardships faced. We feel privileged to have experienced this place, not once, but twice. The magic never seems to wear off.
|Days and Ways to Celebrate|
|A daily list of mostly obscure holidays and fun ways to celebrate them.|
|Waitangi Day (New Zealand)|
|Celebrates the signing of the Waitangi Treaty in 1840, making New Zealand part of the British Empire and gauranteeing the Maori their land and the rights of British citizens. Surprising, it didn't all work as agreed. Learn a little more about the Maori culture in New Zealand|
|Wear Red Day|
|While you're learning about New Zealand and the Maori people, put on a red shirt or a red sweater or better yet, put on your red dress, baby!|