Cape Naturaliste Lighthouse was the last manned lighthouse on mainland Australia and is one of the few operational lighthouses the public can access.
The lighthouse stands on a 100m high bluff overlooking Geographe Bay and affords breathtaking views across the Indian Ocean and the Leeuwin-Naturaliste National Park. From the balcony, whales and their young can be spotted frolicking in the waters below during the annual migratory period, from September to December.
Friendly tour guides provide a fascinating insight into the functions of this working lighthouse. Three keepers and their families originally lived and worked at Cape Naturaliste Lighthouse and the three original lightkeepers’ quarters are still standing. Life revolved around night watches which were divided into three periods, one for each man. During each watch the keeper had to wind the clockwork, carry and then pump kerosene to the burner.
Life was hard for lightkeepers and their families. With no paid annual leave or travel assistance, lightkeepers remained at their isolated stations for many years. Once a fortnight stores and supplies were delivered from Busselton, including classwork for the children who were home schooled. The light was converted to automatic operation in July 1978 and the last lighthouse keeper, Max Nethery, left in 1996.
Showcasing breathtaking natural beauty and providing fascinating glimpses into a bygone era, Cape Naturaliste Lighthouse is open daily. Tours are conducted daily between 9.30am and 4.30pm.