LARC TOUR: The Bustard Head Lighthouse features in a popular LARC trip called the Paradise Tour.
LARC TOUR: The Bustard Head Lighthouse features in a popular LARC trip called the Paradise Tour.

150 YEARS: Milestone for Agnes lighthouse with dark past

A NOW heritage-listed site with a dark past intertwined with murder, an abduction and suicide will today be celebrated by those who have turned it into a tourist attraction.

Today marks 150 years since the Bustard Head Lighthouse was first operational.

Commissioned in 1868, the lighthouse is one of Queensland's oldest buildings and is the only lighthouse in Queensland open to the public.

From murder to suicide and abductions, this lighthouse has seen some dark times.

Its fascinating history was documented by former caretaker Stuart Buchanan in his 243-page book, which was printed in 1999. He said in 1887 the light keeper's wife, who had four teenage daughters, took her own life.

"There would have been so many hardships for the early people who lived here. It was basic living," Mr Buchanan has previously told The Observer.

"They would have lived their lives in desperation."

 

There will be a small celebration at Bustard Head Lighthouse on July 26 to mark its 150 years since it first became operational.
There will be a small celebration at Bustard Head Lighthouse on July 26 to mark its 150 years since it first became operational.

"The tragedies were most fascinating," he said.

In 1898, a one-year-old girl was scalded with boiling water.

Then in 1912, 18-year-old George Daniels was accused of murder and kidnap near the lighthouse.

He was in a love triangle with Edith Anderson, who was the daughter of the Bustard Head light-keeper, and 32-year-old Arthur Cozgell.

The couple were riding toward Bustard Head when someone attacked them.

The assailant, Mr Daniels, shot Arthur and abducted Edith. An extensive search was done by authorities, but George and Edith were never found.

The Bustard Head light is a necessary coastal navigation aid for shipping and the vigil was consistently maintained by light-keepers until 1986 when the light was automated.

But this unfortunately led to vandalism over the next 16 years, and some buildings were almost destroyed.

In 2002, with the formation of Bustard Head Lighthouse Association, restoration of the National and State heritage-listed site began.

Today all the buildings are in pristine condition and the light station's tale of Australian history lives on through volunteer caretakers and guided tours.

It features in one of the most popular tours offered by the 1770 LARC, the Paradise Tour, where owner and operator Neil Mergard offers a guided tour of the lighthouse.

Today a small gathering of people with a connection to the lightstation, from historians to photographers, will celebrate the light turning on for the milestone of its 150th year.



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