Lighthouses of the Solomon Islands

The Solomon Islands are an archipelago in the western South Pacific Ocean, off the east coast of New Guinea. The islands were colonized by Britain in the late 1800s. During World War II, Japanese forces invaded from the north and were stopped by Allied forces in prolonged and heavy fighting in and around the island of Guadalcanal. The islands became independent in 1978. In recent years tourism in the Solomon islands has been limited by civil unrest in many parts of the country.

Bougainville, the largest and northwesternmost island of the Solomons chain, is not part of the nation of the Solomon Islands. Instead, it is a province of Papua New Guinea.

As far as I know, there have never been any traditional masonry lighthouses in the Solomon Islands, but there are a number of large skeletal towers that deserve to be regarded as lighthouses. A postage stamp issue in 2000, depicted at right, has made lighthouse fans aware of two of these lights.

Honiara and Noro are the two international ports in the Solomon Islands. These ports are operated by the Solomon Islands Ports Authority, which is probably responsible for aids to navigation in the islands.

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

General Sources
Nawae Construction
Based at Alotau in Papua New Guinea, this company holds contracts to maintain and upgrade navigational aids in Papua New Guinea and the Solomon Islands; its web site has a number of lighthouse photos.

Honiara Harbour Light
Honiara Harbor Front Light, Guadalcanal
photo copyright Nawae Construction; used by permission

Choiseul Province Lighthouse
Papara Voghoe Point
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 51 m (167 ft); one long (1.5 s) flash every 10 s, white, red or green depending on direction. 12 m (39 ft) square steel skeletal tower with gallery, painted with red and white horizontal bands. No photo available, and clouds obscure Bing's satellite view of the area. Located on a prominent headland on the south coast of Choiseul, the northwesternmost major island of the archipelago. Site status unknown. Admiralty K4892; NGA 10772.

Western Province (New Georgia Area) Lighthouses
[Munda Range Rear]
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 12 m (39 ft); three quick white flashes every 15 s. 10 m (33 ft) square steel skeletal tower with gallery, painted with red and white horizontal bands. The tower also carries a large white triangular daymark. A 2000 postage stamp depicts the light tower (right stamp of the pair below), but Google has only a very distant satellite view of the area. Located off Munda on the south side of the island of New Georgia. Accessible only by boat. Site open, tower closed. ARLHS SOL-001; Admiralty K4896.41; NGA 10740.
South Island
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 12 m (39 ft); white flash every 10 s. 12 m (39 ft) square steel skeletal tower with gallery, painted white. No photo available, and Google has only a distant satellite view of the islet. Located on a tiny island marking the entrance to the sound on the south side of New Georgia. Accessible only by boat. Site open, tower closed. Admiralty K4898; NGA 10728.

Malaita Province Lighthouse
[Auki Harbour]
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 97 m (318 ft); one long flash every 5 s, white or red depending on direction. 5 m (17 ft) skeletal tower, painted white. No photo available, but Google has a satellite view showing that the light is near a very tall communications tower. Located on heights behind Auki, the provincial capital, on the northwestern coast of Malaita. Site open, tower closed. Admiralty K4901; NGA 10700.

Central Province (Tulagi Area) Lighthouses
Russell Islands
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 19 m (59 ft); white flash every 10 s. 16 m (52 ft) skeletal tower, painted white. No photo available, but Bing has a distant satellite view. The light guides vessels in what became known during World War II as The Slot: the channel between Santa Isabel and New Georgia pointing towards Guadalcanal. Located on a small island at the northeastern corner of the Russell Islands, about 65 km (40 mi) west northwest of Cape Esperance. Accessible only by boat. Site status unknown. ARLHS SOL-005; Admiralty K4920; NGA 10724.
Tulagi Harbor Range Front
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 10 m (33 ft); red flash every 5 s. 9 m (30 ft) square steel skeletal tower with lantern and gallery, painted white; lantern painted black. A 2000 postage stamp depicts the lighthouse (left stamp of the pair at right), and Google has a satellite view. Located off the harbor of Tulagi in Iron Bottom Sound, the scene of many naval battles during World War II. Accessible only by boat. Site open, tower closed. ARLHS SOL-007; Admiralty K4901; NGA 10660.
Tulagi Harbor Range Rear
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 14 m (46 ft); two white flashes every 10 s. 12 m (39 ft) square steel skeletal tower with lantern and gallery, painted white; lantern painted black. No photo available, but Google has an indistinct satellite view. Located at the tip of a promontory of the mainland, 1145 m (3750 ft) north of the front light. Accessible only by boat. Site open, tower closed. ARLHS SOL-002; Admiralty K4908.1; NGA 10664.
Indalilau Islet (2?)
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 24 m (79 ft); two white flashes every 10 s. 10 m (33 ft) skeletal tower, painted red. No photo available, but Google has a distant satellite view. NGA describes this light as "twin white steel framework towers," but the satellite view shows only one tower. Located on an islet off the southern tip of Nggela Sule (Florida Island) about 40 km (25 mi) southeast of Tulagi. Accessible only by boat. Site open, tower closed. Admiralty K4906; NGA 10680.
Tulagi and Munda Lights
Tulagi Harbor Front Light (left) and Munda Rear Light
2000 postage stamp minisheet

Guadalcanal Province Lighthouses
Cape Esperance
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 31 m (102 ft); white flash every 10 s. Approx. 25 m (82 ft) square pyramidal skeletal tower, painted white. No photo available, but Google has a satellite view. Cape Esperance was the site of one of the crucial naval battles in October 1942. Located near the northwestern tip of Guadalcanal. Site open, tower closed. Admiralty K4932; NGA 10652.
Honiara Harbour (Honiara Anchorage Range Front) (2)
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 13 m (43 ft); green (?) flash every 5 s. 11 m (36 ft) round barbell-shaped fiberglass tower, colored with red and white horizontal bands and mounted on a square concrete base. A Nawae Construction photo is at the top of this page, and Google has a distant satellite view. It's not known if this new light is still the front light of a range, and it seems unlikely that the light is green. Located on the Honiara waterfront, near the ferry pier. Site open, tower closed. Admiralty K4934; NGA 10636.
Rere Point
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 18 m (59 ft); white flash every 5 s. 18 m (59 ft) square steel skeletal tower, painted with red and white horizontal bands. No photo available, but a Google satellite view may show the station. Located on a promontory on the northeast coast of Guadalcanal. Site status unknown. ARLHS SOL-004; Admiralty K4946; NGA 10608.
Square Island
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 13 m (43 ft); white flash every 10 s. 13 m (43 ft) square cylindrical skeletal tower, painted white mounted on a platform supported by piles. No photo available, but Google has a distant satellite view. Square Island is an islet off the southeastern tip of Guadalcanal. Located on a reef off the northeast side of the island. Accessible only by boat. Site open, tower closed. Admiralty K4947; NGA 10584.

Makira-Ulawa Province (San Cristóbal) Lighthouse
Wangalaha Point
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 30 m (98 ft); white flash every 5 s. Skeletal tower, painted white. The tower height is not known, but this location would require a tall tower. No photo available, and Bing's satellite view may show the light station but fails to show the tower. Located on a promontory near Wango on the north coast of Makira (formerly known as San Cristóbal). Site open, tower closed. Admiralty K4947.6; NGA 10576.

Information available on lost lighthouses:

Notable faux lighthouses:

Adjoining pages: South: Vanuatu | West: Papua New Guinea

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Posted January 5, 2006. Checked and revised March 21, 2014. Lighthouses: 10. Site copyright 2014 Russ Rowlett and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.