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Manukau South Head (1874)

 

 

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The worst shipwreck
On a fine day on 7 February 1863 the HMS Orpheus – carrying naval stores – approached Manukau Harbour. Seeing it was off course to cross the bar, the onshore signalman motioned to change direction. But the warning was too late, and the ship ran aground. As the sea got heavier, it began to break up. Lifeboats were swamped. With the crew clinging helplessly to the rigging, the ship’s masts fell one by one into the sea. Of the 259 people on board, 189 drowned. It remains New Zealand’s worst maritime disaster.

In March 1857 Wing was appointed Harbourmaster and pilot of Manukau Harbour, a post he held for 30 years. With the advent of steamships the Manukau Harbour had become an important anchorage, and it was a vital link between Auckland and the theatre of war during the Taranaki and Waikato conflicts. However, the harbour had serious navigational shortcomings which were highlighted when the Orpheus was wrecked at the entrance on 7 February 1863. Wing had already warned the provincial authorities of the potential dangers, but nothing was done. Finally, after a near disaster in 1865, the Royal Navy banned its ships from using the harbour until Wing's suggested improvements were made. During the 1870s there were three major developments to the harbour: the signal station at South Head was connected to the telegraph system in 1873; a lighthouse was established at South Head in 1874; and in 1878 the Onehunga wharf was linked to Auckland by railway. In 1886 the Manukau entrance was resurveyed.

 

LIGHTHOUSE FOR THE MANUKAU.

The  steamer Airedale, having been chartered by the Government, proceeded to the Manukau Heads yesterday morning, for the purpose of selecting the most suitable place for the erection of the lighthouse. The steamer left the wharf at eleven o'clock, having on board Lieutenant Wood, Captain Wing, Captain Burgess, Captain Kennedy, Mr. Stewart, O.E., Mr. Brewer, H.M.C., Mr. Yon der Heyde, Mr. Henderson, and about twenty-five others. The weather was beautifully fine, and a very pleasant day was spent, the vessel returning to the Onehunga wharf late last evening.

Auckland Star, Volume II, Issue 341, 11 February 1871, Page 2. 101

 

103Evening Post, Volume X, Issue 169, 4 September 1874, Page 2

 

The first lantern built for the South Manukau head was destroyed by fire in 1870.

The new lantern was the first to be fitted with the "Captain Doty's" patented paraffin burners instead of the usual colza oil burners. At the time colza was 2s 5d a gallon and paraffin was only 1s 7d a gallon. The light was a success and far cheaper to run. By 1877 only Pencarrow and Tiritiri Matangi were still burning colza oil.

The building overseer was James Stewart  a civil engineer who arrived in New Zealand from Scotland in 1859. He also designed Bean Rock and Ponui Passage lighthouses. 55

9 m (30 ft) wooden tower. 18

The original lighthouse collapsed in 1944 when nearby coast artillery were test fired. The second light, a short concrete tower, came into imminent peril of collapse due to beach erosion; it was deactivated in 1986 and demolished early in the 1990s. 21

The Manukau Heads Lighthouse Trust was formed in 2000 to organize the reconstruction, which involved nearly everyone in the Manukau community in some way. Awhitu Enterprises has a web site for this restoration effort. The rebuilt lighthouse was dedicated by New Zealand Prime Minister Helen Clark on 23 September 2006, and a decorative light was established on 7 June 2008.The original cast iron lantern and 2nd order Fresnel lens, stored since 1986, have been reinstalled on the replica tower. 21

http://www.manukauheadslighthouse.co.nz/

 

DIRECTIONS:

Lighthouse has been demolished and a new modern beacon has been placed on the Signal Station.

Located at the end of Manukau Heads Road near the signal station. Accessible by road; parking available.

Island North
Province Auckland
Location South Head Manukau Harbour
Number K4108
Date Commissioned September 1, 1874
Date Decommissioned
Automated
Latitude 37° 03' South*
Longitude 174° 33' East*
Elevation Above Sea Level 234m*
Height
Character Oc. White light every 6 seconds*
Range 12 N.miles*
Made
Construction
Converted Kerosene To Diesel
Converted Diesel To Mains Electricity
Connected To Mains Electricity
Wattage
Present Tower Not original
Authority
Date Visited
 

* Present tower

 

Principal Keeper From To
  (1st lit September 1, 1874)  
Robert Wilson  82  86  200 June, 1874  82  86 February 16, 1883  82  86   1881  200
Richard Tregurtha  82  86  May 7, 1883  82  86  February, 1892  82  86
Charles W. Scopes  82  86 March, 1892  82  86  January, 1893  82  86
Felix McGahey  82  86  January, 1893  82 February, 1899  82  86
David Lyall  86  1899  86  1900  86 
William Colley  82  86 April 28, 1899  82  86  November, 1903  82    1904   86 
Elisha W. Tutt  82  86 January, 1904  82  86  August 25, 1906  82  96
John Jess  82  86  22 September, 1906  82  86  May 21, 1908  82  86  22
Edward R Wilson  82  199 June, 1908  82  86  199  May 9, 1911  82   June 8, 1911 199
James Anderson  82  22  86 May 9, 1911  82  86 June 9, 1914  82  86
Frederick Woodbury  82  86 June, 1914  82  86  1919  86
Edward Parks  86 1919  86 1922  86
William Marshall  82  96  February 1, 1922  82  86 1927  86
Norman H. Harvey  82  86  January 22, 1927  82  86  1947  86    Retired  86
     
     
     
     
     

 

Assistant Keeper (1st) From To
(1st lit September 1, 1874)
Alexander McKinlay  82  87  80 July, 1874  82  87 April, 1878  82  87
Albert E. Brookes  82  87   April, 1878  82  87 April, 1881  82  87
John Leith  82  87  July, 1881  82  87  May 31, 1887  82  87
Charles Robson  87 1886  87 1889  87
John V. E. Ansin   82  87 June 1, 1887  82  February 2, 1888  82  87
James Anderson  87   (Probationary Keeper)  22 December 23, 1887  87  22  February 23, 1888  87  22
Charles Moeller  82  87  201  22 February 2, 1888  82  87 June, 1897  82
George Greig  82  87  June 14, 1897  82 October, 1900  82  87
Henry Jacobsen  82  87  October, 1900  82  87 May, 1902  82  87
Duncan Dawson  82  87 June, 1902  82  November 11, 1904  82  87
Alfred Andrew Parker  82  87  22   (Probationary Keeper)  22 November, 1904  82  87  22 May 4, 1905  22  
Alfred Andrew Parker  82  87  22  May 5, 1905  22   March, 1907  82  87
Jacob B. Hill  82  87 April 13, 1907  82  87 June 6, 1907  82  87
William Samuel Hill Creamer and Eliza Louisa Creamer  82  87  191 July 17, 1907  82  87   1908  191 September 15, 1910  82  87
Walter H. Champion  82  87  September 14, 1910  82  87   October 28, 1912  82    1913  87
George F. Marlow  82  87  December 5, 1912  82  June 29, 1914  82  87
Robert G. Wilken  82 July, 1914  82 March, 1916  82
William Knight Cleverly  82  87  284  May, 1916  82  1916  87  284
Rupert J. Truman  82  March, 1917  82  June 3, 1917  82
E. S. Agnew  82 February, 1919  82  September 4, 1919  82
William Smith  82  87  August, 1919  82    c.1920  87 1921  82
William J. Ross  82  November 9, 1921  82  January 10, 1923  82
T. F. Babbage  82  87  January 10, 1923  82    c.1922  87
 

 

 

 

North Head Signal Staff From To
  (1st lit September 1, 1874)  
June, 1902  22    
Felix McGahey  82   September 6, 1886  82  December 4, 1886  82 
Charles H Robson  82  December, 1886  82   January 1, 1889  82 
Horace A Wakefield  82  January 1, 1889  82  May, 1890  82 
Henry Jacobsen  82  May, 1890  82  September, 1894  82 
John Jess  82  22 September, 1894  82  August, 1899  82 
Charles H. S. Broughton  82 August, 1899  82  May 5, 1902  82 
Henry Thompson  82  22  July 4, 1902  82   June, 1902  22 March 6, 19??  82 
Robert Cathcart  82  22  March 1903  82   December 31, 1904  82 
Peter Grenfell  82 January 2, 19??  82   
Jacob B Hill  82 June 6, 1907  82   May, 1908  82 
Francis L Eden  82 May 2, 1908  82  January 9, 1911  82 
Robert T Fellowes  82 January 5, 1911  82  February 23, 1912  82 
Alfred Andrew Parker  82  22 April 20, 1912  82  22  July 20, 1923  82 
Charles Riesop 13a   January, 1916 13a
     
     

 

 

Sources

Additional Sources:

22. Akaroa Museum

55c. Anne Stewart Ball, 2007. 

80http://www.angelfire.com/ga3/gretasplace/Resources/Lighthouse/Stopforth.html

82. http://www.angelfire.com/ga3/gretasplace/Resources/LighthouseKeepers.html

86http://www.manukauheadslighthouse.co.nz/archive/keepers.html

87. http://www.manukauheadslighthouse.co.nz/archive/assistants.html

101Auckland Star, Volume II, Issue 341, 11 February 1871, Page 2

103Evening Post, Volume X, Issue 169, 4 September 1874, Page 2

191. William Creamer (Noeline Fairchild (daughter of Charlotte May Creamer, eldest daughter of W & E Creamer), April 7, 2013)

199Edward Wilson (Lynda Webster, March 9, 2012)

200. Robert Wilson (Olwyn Bourne, Feb 8, 2013)

201. Charles Moeller (Gary Harrison, June 20, 2012)

284. Dominion, Volume 10, Issue 3093, 25 May 1917, Page 4

 

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Text and photographs. Copyright © 1999-2013 Mark Phillips. All rights reserved.

If anyone has any information on this light please contact me. thekiwimark@msn.com

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