Cape Leeuwin Lighthouse and Quarters


Shire of Augusta-Margaret River

Place Number



Leeuwin Rd Cape Leeuwin

Location Details

Local Government

Augusta/Margaret River


South West

Construction Date

Constructed from 1895

Demolition Year


Statutory Heritage Listings

Type Status Date Documents
Commonwealth List YES 22 Jun 2004
Heritage List Adopted 08 Aug 2012
State Register Registered 13 May 2005 HCWebsite.Listing+ListingDocument, HCWebsite.Listing+ListingDocument

Heritage Council Decisions and Deliberations

Type Status Date Documents
(no listings)

Other Heritage Listings and Surveys

Type Status Date Grading/Management
Classified by the National Trust Classified 02 Jun 1970
Survey of 20th Ctry Architecture Completed 01 Mar 1988
Register of the National Estate Permanent 21 Oct 1980
Municipal Inventory Adopted 01 Jul 2012 Exceptional Significance
Municipal Inventory Adopted 17 Jun 1996 Criterion 1

Child Places

  • 04976 Memorial - HMAS Nizam, Cape Leeuwin Lighthouse

Statement of Significance

The following is an extract from the Heritage Council of WA’s Assessment Documentation for the place:Cape Leeuwin Lighthouse and Quarters, a small precinct which contains a stone lighthouse, keepers’ quarters (stone) and various service buildings, has cultural heritage significance for the following reasons:• the place is part of a system of coastal lights that was developed at the end of the nineteenth century by the various Australian colonies to improve the safety to shipping operating in Australian territorial waters. Although recognised as being of major importance to the eastern colonies, it was fully funded by the state government of Western Australia and the fourth coastal lighthouse constructed by the state government; • the place, in particular the lighthouse, has retained a high degree of authenticity and integrity; • the place has aesthetic value both in its design and as a striking landmark on Cape Leeuwin; • the place was historically important to the local timber industry which relied on small ships to transport the timber to other ports. As Cape Leeuwin could be treacherous in bad weather, the light was a valuable navigational aide; • the place represents a way of life that is no longer practised in Western Australia and one which is rapidly becoming scarce in other parts of Australia and the world; • the place has strong associations with John Forrest who tried for many years to establish a new light near Cape Leeuwin; with M.C. Davies, an important entrepreneur in Augusta, who pushed for a light on Cape Leeuwin and George Temple Poole who supervised the construction of the light and was responsible for the design of the keepers’ quarters; • the place is socially important to the people of Augusta-Margaret River for its tourist potential; • the place has the potential to reveal archaeological evidence about how people lived in isolated conditions; • the lighthouse is a fine example of the type of stone towers erected during the nineteenth century to house lights; and • the place at one time had the most powerful lamps in Australia and it was also the last to receive a modern tungsten lamp. While the new service buildings on the western side of the cottages are considered to have some historic importance, they are architecturally intrusive and are assessed as having low significance.

Physical Description

The following is an extract from the Heritage Council of WA’s Assessment Documentation for the place: Cape Leeuwin Lighthouse and Quarters comprises the stone lighthouse tower and oil store (1896), three stone cottages (1896) detached stone laundries to the cottages (1896), two asbestos cement garages (1953), asbestos cement store (former fuel room 1954), asbestos cement office (former power house, 1954), asbestos cement weather room (former radio hut 1954) and a new brick power house and beacon room (1970s). Detailed descriptions of each of the key elements of the site are included in the Heritage Council’s Assessment Documentation (available on-line at The quarry used for the construction of the original buildings is still visible near the lighthouse site and is an integral feature for the purpose of this place record.


Agitation for a lighthouse in the south-west began around 1880, with one of the first sites suggested being St Alouarn Island. However the Forrest Government finally accepted the tender of Davies and Wishart (who had been pushing for the lighthouse) in 1895. The selection for the Cape Leeuwin site was influenced not only for its excellent location but also because of the availability of limestone in the area, making construction much easier and less costly. A good description of the lighthouse and cottages was given not long after its erection by George Hope in his study of the south-western districts in 1898: A sharp descent brings us to the level of the cape. The waters from the hills has formed a grassy swamp at their base, which we skirt, and, bowling along a well-made road, we drive out down the peninsular of rock and draw rein at one of the three comfortable stone cottages which have been built for the use of the lighthouse keepers on the east side of the cape. The lighthouse itself stands at the extreme point of Cape Leeuwin, in latitude 34 deg. 24 min. south, and longitude 115 deg. 09 min, east, the site chosen is about 70 feet above high water mark. The foundations are carried down 23 feet to the granite bed-rock, and the contract for erect was let to Messrs Davies and Wishart in April, 1895, the price being just under £8000, exclusive of the dome and light. The tower is cylindrical in form, and is 135 feet high from base to vane. The focal plane of the light is 185 feet above water level. The stone was all quarried within a half a mile of the building, and is handsome white politic ironstone rock. From the ground floor a door opens into the oil room where 10 large cylinders, five aside, with a capacity of 300 galloons each, hold the heavy mineral oil, of 240 deg. Test, which is specially adapted for lighthouse work…..Inside the walls, seven feet in thickness on the ground floor, an iron spiral staircase runs around the building to the summit, broken by seven floors at intervals. In the centre is a hollow iron column, which holds the chain and three-quarters of a ton weights propelling the clock-work that causes the lantern to revolve. On the fifth floor are the telephones connecting the lighthouse with the men’s quarters, and also with the post office at Karridale, whence all messages are forwarded onto the proper quarter by telegraph….Just overhead is a tank, which catches the rainfall from the dome, and from which it is drawn by a tap on this floor. Down the wall is a lightning conductor. The culminating point of interest is, of course, the lighting apparatus. This is on the sixth floor, and was furnished by Chance Bros and Co, Limited, of Birmingham, and was the first of its kind made…..There is a raised balcony on the top of the masonry at the sixth floor, outside the dome, from which a grand view is obtained up the coast north towards Hamelin Bay, and east past the mouth of the Blackwood……At the north-east corner of the structure is a large block of stone, inscribed on its northern aspect “Foundation stone laid by the Hon. Sir John Forrest, Premier of the Colony, 13th December, 1895,” and on its eastern side, “Dedicated to the world’s mariners, 10th December, 1896”. This is commemorative of the two ceremonies which marked the commencement of the undertaking. The lantern for the lighthouse cost £425 and the optical apparatus, £4.069. During the opening ceremony, newspapers of the colony and coins were placed in a jar and buried under the foundation stone and Mr Wishart presented the Premier with a silver trowel, suitably engraved, from the contracting firm, Davies and Wishart. The trowel is now in the Augusta Historical Museum.The two southerly cottages were built of the same stone as the lighthouse, but the third northern cottage was constructed of granite/gneiss, also from the site. There was also a timber cottage erected at the time, though this is no longer standing.An important associated feature, dating from the original development of the site, is the Cape Leeuwin Waterwheel (Place # CL-02).Cape Leeuwin Lighthouse was automated in 1982 and the keepers were withdrawn.As at 2012 the lighthouse continues to operate and has also been developed as a very popular tourist attraction.


High: The original use has been maintained. Varies across the site: High (The original/significant fabric is largely intact) to Medium (The place has had some alterations, but the original intent/character is still clearly evident).


Good *Assessed from streetscape survey only


Name Type Year From Year To
George Temple Poole Architect - -


Ref ID No Ref Name Ref Source Ref Date
George Hope;"Westralia: South Western Districts" p 48 Geraldton express 1898
HCWA Assessment Documentation Cape Leeuwin Lightouse and Quarters
Cresswell,Gail J,The Light of Leeuwin:theAugusta/Margaret River Shire History Augusta/Margaret River Shire History Group 1989
Municipal Heritage Inventory 1996

Other Reference Numbers

Ref Number Description
CL-01 MI Place No.
A9915 LGA Site No.

State Heritage Office library entries

Library Id Title Medium Year Of Publication
7189 Very much on watch : the Percy Willmott photos : Augusta, Margaret River, Busselton 1901 - 1919. Book 2003
5195 Opportunity to develop visitor accommodation, facilities and services at the Cape Leeuwin Lighthouse and Cape Naturaliste Lighthouse precincts : guidelines for submissions. Report 2001
3519 Leeuwin lighthouse : a brief history. Book 1996
482 Historical sites in the Margaret River Augusta region : a photographic survey of documented and undocumented historical sites in the region carried out by students of the University of Western Australia, Department of Architecture. Heritage Study {Other} 1980
5468 Review of improvements to meet building code of Australia for the Cape Leeuwin and Cape Naturaliste lighthouses. Report 2001
3423 Conservation plan : Cape Leeuwin Lightstation Western Australia. Heritage Study {Cons'n Plan} 1992
7183 Lighthouses of Australia : images from the end of an era. Book 2001
8667 Leeuwin Lighthouse Precinct site plan. Heritage Study {Other} 2006

Place Type

Individual Building or Group


Epoch General Specific
Original Use Transport\Communications Water: Lighthouse
Present Use Transport\Communications Water: Lighthouse

Construction Materials

Type General Specific
Roof METAL Corrugated Iron
Wall ASBESTOS Fibrous Cement, flat
Wall STONE Limestone
Wall STONE Granite

Historic Themes

General Specific
OUTSIDE INFLUENCES Water, power, major t'port routes
TRANSPORT & COMMUNICATIONS River & sea transport
OCCUPATIONS Timber industry

Creation Date

30 May 1989

Publish place record online (inHerit):


Last Update

01 Apr 2021


This information is provided voluntarily as a public service. The information provided is made available in good faith and is derived from sources believed to be reliable and accurate. However, the information is provided solely on the basis that readers will be responsible for making their own assessment of the matters discussed herein and are advised to verify all relevant representations, statements and information.