Old Shire Office Dromana
McCrae Lighthouse
Lighthouse, Dromana West, now McCrae

Places of Interest in McCrae

Eastern Shore Light, McCrae.

Melways Ref. 158K10

For over 100 years the Eastern Shore Light, McCrae, also known as the McCrae Lighthouse, has guided mariners in Port Phillip Bay.

It was decommissioned in 1994, and in 1998 it was extensively renovated and a noticeboard providing historical details was erected. This replaced an earlier board which provided similar details and technical information. The text on both boards is shown.


The following text prepared by the Department of Natural Resources and Environment has been displayed since 1998:

McCrae Lighthouse

The original McCrae lighthouse was a timber structure built in 1854 and following years of service was dismantled in sections and was transported by bullock wagon to the nearby top of Arthurs Seat to be used as a lookout.

The present day lighthouse, built in England in 1874 by Chance Brothers and Co of Birmingham, was transported to Australia by sea and erected on this site in 1883.

The structure, which is listed on Victoria's Historic Buildings Register, is one of two such types remaining in Australia and at 33.5 metres is the tallest lighthouse in Port Phillip Bay.

The lighthouse comprises of a central circular column, housing a 120 step spiral staircase which ascends to the lantern housing. The central column is 1.5 meters in diameter and is constructed of riveted steel plate. The small brick portico at the base of the lighthouse has been added in more recent times.

The lantern housing located 30.8 metres above sea level is constructed of steel and timber and is protected by a glass surround and a lead dome roof. A narrow steel balcony surrounds the lantern housing.

The lighthouse was decommissioned in 1994, following modernisation of other navigational aids in Port Phillip Bay.

In 1998 the Victorian Government's Department of Natural Resources and Environment undertook significant restoration works to ensure the lighthouse's structural condition will be preserved well into the next century. The restoration which included the repair of corroded sections of the steelwork, the removal of existing coatings of paint and applications of new coatings to the external structure will ensure its ongoing historical importance to the community.

The following photographs are also displayed:

Photographs are courtesy of the Dromana and District Historical Society.


The following text was presented on a notice by the Ports and Harbours Division, Ministry of Transport prior to 1998:


A tall timber skeleton framed structure was the first light established at McCrae. It was later taken in sections by bullock wagon to the top of Arthurs Seat to be used as a lookout. In 1874 Chance Bros. & Co. of Birmingham, England built the present day lighthouse. It was transported to Australia by sea and erected on this site in 1883.

Measuring 33.5 metres in height it is the highest lighthouse in Port Phillip Bay. There are 120 steps up the spiral staircase inside the narrow central turret leading to the lantern housing. Here at an elevation of 30.8 metres above sea level the light from a 500 watt globe is transmitted through an array of lenses that make the light visible at a distance of up to 25 kilometres. The light provides the back mark of the leading navigation line through the main fairway of the South Shipping Channel.

The light is sectioned: high intensity white beams project along the South Shipping Channel and towards Melbourne, and a red warning sector arcs over the dangerous sandbanks to the North of the South Channel. An acetylene gas standby system automatically switches into operation in the event of a power failure or fault in the electric circuitry.

Principal Data:

Position:Latitude 38 Degrees 21 Minutes South
Longitude 144 Degrees 55 Minutes 42 Seconds East
Height of tower:33.53 Metres
Height of Light:30.79 Metres
Light:Third Order dioptric system
Holophotel Lens
Occulting 15 sec. (Flash duration 12.5 sec., eclipse 2.5 sec.)
Sectors:White from 81 Degrees through East to 132 Degrees,
red to 150 Degrees, white to 205 Degrees,
obscured elsewhere.

Ports and Harbours Division, Ministry of Transport.