Australia · autumn · Mount Warning · old house · Tweed Valley

Towns of the Tweed ~ Fingal Head (Part 1) The Tiny Lighthouse Watching Over the Huge Ocean.

When my children were little people who loved having a bedtime story read to them each night, one of their favourite books was called “The Most Scary Ghost”. There was nothing particularly significant aboutย  this story, other than said star of our story, the ghost, resided in an old lighthouse and would run up and down the one-hundred stairs each night shrieking, “I’m the most scary ghost, whippety-woo!

A view over the Pacific Ocean.

The big attraction to this book was definitely the lighthouse. There’s something rather romantic to the image of a lighthouse, even to a child; of being a lighthouse keeper, living in the lighthouse, and being responsible for the safety of countless ships and the lives of the crew, as they pass the rocky points of land the flashing lights are a warning of.

The lighthouse sits so peacefully, overlooking the ocean. I wanted to take photos from every angle possible.

One such lighthouse exists at Fingal Head, a lovely little seaside village just south of the New South Wales and Queensland borders.

The beacon flashes every five seconds and has a range out to sea of between 14 and 17 nautical miles.

This tiny lighthouse, situated twenty-four metres above sea-level, stands only seven metres in height, making it one of the smallest lighthouses in Australia. But height wasn’t an important factor when designing and building the lighthouse in 1878, due to the natural elevation of the site.

Once upon a time this lighthouse did have a keeper, in fact the first keeper, William Arnold, happily resided in the keeper’s residence with his wife and eleven children for twenty-seven years. What a view they enjoyed, with Cook Island just half a kilometre out to sea, and the endless blue waters of the Pacific Ocean, as far as the eye can see!

Cook Island, just half a kilometre from the headland.

These days, Fingal lighthouse has the honour of being the oldest public building in the Tweed Shire. It was converted to automatic operation in 1920 and with the keeper’s cottage having no further use, it was demolished.

Yesterday, when I visited Fingal Heads, the sky was the most brilliant of blues and a pod of dolphins frolicked playfully not far from the shore. I wonder if Captain James Cook was met by such a delightful day, back in 1770, when he sailed north along the eastern coast of New South Wales, sighting Fingal Head and Cook Island, and naming the local landmarks of Point Danger and Mount Warning?

Looking down the rocks just beyond the lighthouse we saw a group of fishermen.

If there were any ghosts present at Fingal lighthouse yesterday, they were no doubt basking in the glory of the day, watching the dolphins play in the ocean below and sighing with contentment at the sight of the multitudes of happy people, enjoying a day in the sun in the surrounds of the old lighthouse.

Look carefully in the centre of the photo, you will see some dolphins in the water.

And what became of the scary ghost in my children’s beloved childhood story? The child in the story yelled “BOO!” to the ghost, and it fled down the one-hundred stairs, never to be seen again. ๐Ÿ™‚

One contented Fingal resident. ๐Ÿ™‚


10 thoughts on “Towns of the Tweed ~ Fingal Head (Part 1) The Tiny Lighthouse Watching Over the Huge Ocean.

    1. Oh yes Carol, the heights! And the edges! I don’t like them either, although this really is a baby lighthouse, so wouldn’t be too bad to climb. I don’t think it’s ever open these days, however.


  1. That sky is ridiculously blue! It looks fantastic against the white of the lighthouse. I love lighthouses, especially climbing them – the views are always spectacular.



    1. It was the most brilliant day Gary, very much my idea of summer, not too hot at all, but bright and sunny. The view was amazing without climbing the lighthouse, as it’s up on a small cliff edge, overlooking the ocean. ๐Ÿ™‚


  2. What could be lovelier than a white lighthouse framed by a gorgeous blue sky? Stunning pictures, Joanne! I have a thing for seagulls, so I LOVED the last picture. (At least I think it’s a seagull, although it looks slightly different than our local gulls.) Fingal Head sounds like a wonderful seaside town – I’m sure I’d love it there. ๐Ÿ™‚


    1. Neither words nor photos can describe how brilliant the lighthouse looked against the sky Barbara!

      You’re right, that is a seagull and he let me get very close to him to take his photo too. I know you would love Fingal Head, it’s a lovely little seaside village. ๐Ÿ™‚


  3. Eleven children growing up in that little lighthouse! What fun they must have had. Maybe they even played “Ghost” running up and down the stairs. Whippety-woo! Thank you for sharing. I especially love the blue of the sea…


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