Lighthouses of Australia: Coral Sea Islands Territory

Australia administers all the islands and reefs of the Coral Sea south of latitude 12° S and west of longitude 157° E. Within this area and east of the Great Barrier Reef there are 18 major reef systems that include at least a small amount of dry land and at least a dozen other reefs that are submerged entirely or dry only at low tide. In 1969, these bits of land were assembled into the federally administered Coral Sea Islands Territory.

None of the islands have ever been inhabited, and the only habitable structure on any of them is the Bureau of Meteorology station on Willis Island. The station was established in 1921 to provide early warning of tropical cyclones threatening the coast of Queensland. Willis Island is normally staffed by three meteorologists and an electronics engineer.

Navigational lights in the territory are maintained and operated by the Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA).

Admiralty numbers are from volume K of the Admiralty List of Lights & Fog Signals. U.S. NGA numbers are from Publication 111.

General Sources
Map of the Coral Sea Islands Territory
Wikimedia's useful map of the territory comes from Polish Wikipedia.
Lighthouses
Bougainville Reef (3)
Date unknown (station established 1943). Active; focal plane 15 m (49 ft); white flash every 5 s. 20 m (66 ft) square cylindrical skeletal tower with gallery, mounted on concrete piles. Lighthouse painted white. The tower also carries an automatic weather station. A very distant view is available, but the reef is only a blur in Google's satellite view. Bougainville Reef is an atoll, submerged at high tide, in the northwestern corner of the territory about 250 km (160 mi) southeast of Cape Melville, Queensland. The reef is named for the French explorer Louis-Antoine de Bougainville, who discovered it in 1768. A "temporary" light was established during World War II; it survived until being replaced with a square pyramidal skeletal tower in 1958. Accessible only by boat. Site open, tower closed. Site manager: AMSA. Admiralty K3206; NGA 9884.

Lihou Reef Light
Lihou Reef Light, 1999
AMSA photo

#[Willis Islets (Willis Island)]
Date unknown. Inactive since 2009 and apparently demolished. Previously the light was listed as being on a 13 m (43 ft) "radio mast," a steel pole carrying radio antennas as well as the light. The mast is seen just beyond the weather station in Laurie Lindner Constructions's aerial photo, but in a November 2011 photo it has disappeared. The company built the station in 2006-07. Another aerial photo of the island is also available, and Google has a very distant satellite view. The Willis atoll has three small islands, and the station is built on the south island. Located roughly 600 km (375 mi) northeast of Townsville, Queensland. Accessible only by boat. Site open, tower closed. Site manager: AMSA. ex-Admiralty K3206.5; NGA 9886.
Lihou Reef
1999. Active; focal plane 33 m (108 ft); white flash every 10 s. 34 m (111 ft) square cylindrical red fiberglass tower, mounted on a square cylindrical steel skeletal tower with gallery supported by four concrete piles. A photo is above, but the reef is only a blur in Google's satellite view. The Lihou Reef is one of the largest atolls in the world, roughly 100 km (60 mi) by 30 km (20 mi). It is named for the British ship captain John Lihou, who discovered the reef in 1823. In 1982 the atoll was established as the Lihou Reef National Nature Reserve, now part of the Coral Sea Commonwealth Marine Reserve. The lighthouse is located near the northeastern end of the atoll, about 640 km (400 mi) east southeast of Cairns, Queensland. Accessible only by boat. Site open, tower closed. Site manager: AMSA. Admiralty K3206.6; NGA 9886.5.
East Diamond Island
2006. Active; focal plane 29 m (95 ft); white flash every 5 s. 25 m (75 ft) square skeletal tower with gallery. A closeup photo is available, but the island is only a blur in Google's satellite view. East Diamond is an island in the Tregosse Reef system, which lies to the west of the Lihou atoll. Accessible only by boat. Site open, tower closed. Site manager: AMSA. Admiralty K3206.7; NGA 9887.
Frederick (Fredericks) Reef
Around 1990 (?). Active; focal plane 33 m (108 ft); white flash every 5 s. 33 m (108 ft) round multistage metal tower mounted on a concrete pier. A Bureau of Meteorology photo is at right, Vaughn Bowden has a photo, and a 2010 photo is available, but the reef is only a blur in Google's satellite view. The Frederick Reefs and Saumarez Reefs (next entry) are in the southwestern corner of the Coral Sea, east of the southern end of the Great Barrier Reef at Swain Reef. Located at the northeastern tip of the reef, about 450 km (280 mi) northeast of Gladstone and 180 km (110 mi) east of Swain Reef. Accessible only by boat. Site open, tower closed. Site manager: AMSA. Admiralty K3016; NGA 10220.
Saumarez Reef
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 21 m (69 ft); four white flashes every 20 s. 19 m (62 ft) skeletal tower with gallery; a square cylindrical section is mounted on a platform supported by four widely spread legs. The reef is only a blur in Google's satellite view. Located at the northeastern tip of the reef, about 330 km (205 mi) northeast of Gladstone and 85 km (55 mi) east of Swain Reef. Accessible only by boat. Site open, tower closed. Site manager: AMSA. Admiralty K3015; NGA 10300.
Frederick Reef Light
Frederick Reef Light, early 1990s
Australian Bureau of Meteorology photo

Information available on lost lighthouses:

Notable faux lighthouses:

Adjoining pages: East: New Caledonia | West: Queensland East Coast

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Posted March 20, 2009. Checked and revised April 13, 2013. Lighthouses: 5. Site copyright 2013 Russ Rowlett and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.