NEW ZEALAND LIGHTHOUSES
Dog Island (1865)
Photo courtesy of MSA.
View From Bluff, Photo (2005)
Reference Number: PA1-o-261-09-1
View of Dog Island and the Dog Island Lighthouse from the sea. Photographed by an unknown photographer on 28 March 1924
Dog Island Lighthouse, 1910-1913
Reference Number: PA5-0372
Located at the eastern approaches to Foveaux Strait, Dog Island Lighthouse marks a low flat island which only rises a couple of metres above sea level. The tower was the second to be designed by James Balfour, Marine Engineer to the Otago Provincial Council. 10
With the formation of the Marine Board of New Zealand in 1865 (renamed The Marine Department in 1866) who took of operations of all lighthouses, Balfour was appointed the Marine Engineer and Inspector of Steamers on October 11, 1866. 10
Equipment for the lighthouse was shipped from Glasgow, Scotland aboard the City Of Dunedin leaving June 5, 1863 and arriving in Port Chalmers, Dunedin on September 3, 1863. a
The light apparatus was shipped from Glasgow, Scotland aboard the Resolute leaving December 17, 1863 and arriving in Port Chalmers, Dunedin March 17, 1864. Also aboard this ship was the light apparatus for Taiaroa Head. b
Tenders were called in February 1864, and a contract was let on April 9 of that year. 10 The tower was built from stone quarried on the island and stood 110 feet tall. 3 The light was first lit on 1st August, 1865, 1 and costing was over £10,000 to build. 18 2
The Lighthouse was originally a three keeper station. 1 Supplies were sent out on the government supply ship every 3 months.
Due to soft peaty subsoil it was found that the tower would shake in the wind. By 1871 it had started to lean and after many unsuccessful repairs, including encircling the tower with heavy timber and iron bands, it was necessary in 1916 1 2 1918 10 to encase the tower in Ferro concrete. 2 the tower was also increased in height to 118 feet. 3
Dog Island had the first revolving light in the country, consisting of sixteen individual oil lamps each with it's own lens rotating inside a single lantern. Other lighthouses had a single oil lamp with a rotating lens. 1
In 1925 the individual lamps were replaced with a single lamp with a rotating lens the same as other lights of the time. In 1954 the light was converted from oil to diesel-generated electricity. 1
After a landing strip was built on the island in the mid 1960's 2, supplies were flown out fortnightly. 1
The light was automated in 1989. 1
In September 1999, the 1925 light was removed and replaced with a modern rotating beacon, illuminated by a 35 watt tungsten halogen bulb. Electricity to power the new light is supplied from battery banks charged by solar panels. 1
The tallest lighthouse in New Zealand, the tower is painted with black and white bands to make it standout during daylight hours. There are only two other lighthouses in New Zealand with stripes. Cape Campbell Lighthouse which looks similar to Dog Island and Cape Palliser Lighthouse, which has red and white stripes. 1
The 1925 lens on loan from Maritime New Zealand is displayed at the Museum of Wellington City & Sea. The rotating mechanism is at the Maritime Museum in Bluff. e
Registered with the New Zealand Historical Trust
Register Number: 395
Date Registered: 22-Nov-1984
Historic Place - Category 1
The Dog Island lighthouse has along with others been featured on New Zealand postal stamps issued by the Government Life Insurance Office.
Part of the lighthouse series that was released in 1969 when New Zealand changed to decimal currency, the Dog Island stamp had a value of 15 cents.
In 2009 the New Zealand Post announced a lighthouse commemorative stamp issue celebrating the 150th anniversary of New Zealand’s lighthouses. A technological first, the stamps have special glue whereas the beams from the lighthouse actually glow in the dark,. This is activated by sunlight or holding the stamp under a light for a short time. The five stamps are in different denominations, ranging from fifty cents to $2.50 and feature Pencarrow Head, Dog Island, Cape Brett, Cape Egmont and Cape Reinga.
Stamp Web Sites
Inaccessible to the public.
Views of the lighthouse are available from the lookout point at Bluff or drive up Bluff Hill for a great 360 degree view of the Bluff Harbour and Dog Island.
a. Henry Brett, White Wings Volume 1. Quoting Otago Daily Times. 1924 http://www.nzetc.org
b. Henry Brett, White Wings Volume 1. 1924 http://www.nzetc.org
c. Gail Meikle
d. Dominion Post. Feb 16th, 2013.
e. Stephen Mead (Sept 2012)
Hume (April 2012)
Text and photographs. Copyright © 1999-2011 Mark Phillips. All rights reserved.
If anyone has any information on this light please contact me. firstname.lastname@example.org
Last Updated: December 29, 2009