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Portland Island (1877)

Photo Date: [between 1889-1910]

Portland Island, Hawke's Bay. Wright, Henry Charles Clarke, 1844-1936 :Negatives. Ref: 1/1-020441-G. Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington, New Zealand. http://natlib.govt.nz/records/22830864

     

Photo (2006)                                                                                        Photo (2000)

New replacement lighthouse at Portland Island  Photo courtesy of MSA.

  

Portland Island is off the Mahia Peninsula on the east coast of the North Island.

 

Captain Fairchild, on his late trip to this port in the Colonial Government p.s. Luna, 1 paid a visit, to Portland Island with the view of ascertaining whether stone was to be found there suitable for the erection of the proposed lighthouse. He has brought some specimens of the Portland Island stone with him. It appears to be in every respect usable.

112Daily Southern Cross, Volume XXVIII, Issue 4761, 27 November 1872, Page 4

 

STATEMENT ON MARINE MATTERS. The Commissioner of Customs (the Hon "W. Hunter Reynolds) said —Mr. Speaker,  Having obtained all the requisite information as to the sites and class of lights required, an order was sent to England in February last for the necessary apparatus for tights to be erected on the Brothers in Cook's Strait Puysegur Point and Centre Island in Foveaux Strait, at Mokohinau Island, in Hauraki Gulf at Cape Maria Van Dieman at the extreme north of the North Island, and at Portland Island off the Mahia Peninsula. Advices have been received from the Engineer in Great Britain that the contracts for the lanterns and apparatus have been let and no time will be lost in erecting the necessary buildings, so that they may be ready, or nearly so, to receive the light when they arrive in the colony. 

117. Press, Volume XXIV, Issue 3110, 11 August 1875, Page 2

 

The original wooden lighthouse at Portland Island is now situated in the town centre of Wairoa.

Designed by Marine Engineer, John Blackett and operated from 1877 (plaque) 1878 (Leading Lights) the wooden tower was on Portland Island off the Mahia Peninsula. When it was noted the structure was rotting a new light on a steel tower was built in 1955 (Leading Lights) and the old light decommissioned in 1958 (Plaque).

Portland Island was the last light to use a kerosene powered lamp and a clockwork mechanism. It wasn't until 1955 that diesel powered generators were installed to run the light on electricity. 4

The old lighthouse was moved to Wairoa in 1961.

 

 

 

DIRECTIONS:

Located on Marine Parade in Wairoa. 

 

Island North
Province Eastland
Location Original tower in Wairoa
Number K3970
Date Commissioned 1877 (1878) 
Date Decommissioned 1958 (1955) ????
Automated 1982
Latitude 39° 18' South
Longitude 177° 52' South
Elevation Above Sea Level 97m
Height 8.5m          8 m*
Character Flashes white, red, green in sectors every 15 seconds*
Range 8 beams up to 50km    9 N. miles*
Made
Construction Wooden (Kauri)    White square tower*
Converted Kerosene To Diesel
Converted Diesel To Mains Electricity
Wattage
Present Tower Not original
Authority Owned and operated by Maritime Safety Authority
Date Visited 25 January, 2000
 

*  Present tower.

Date Commissioned 1877 (1878) 
Date Decommissioned 1958 (1955) ????
Automated 1982
Latitude 39° 18' South
Longitude 177° 52' South
Elevation Above Sea Level 97m
Height 8.5m          8 m*
Character Flashes white, red, green in sectors every 15 seconds*
Range 8 beams up to 50km    9 N. miles*
Made
Construction Wooden (Kauri)    White square tower*
Converted Kerosene To Diesel
Converted Diesel To Mains Electricity
Wattage
Present Tower Not original
Authority Owned and operated by Maritime Safety Authority
Date Visited 25 January, 2000

 

 

Principal Keeper From To
  1st Lit, 1877/78  
     
Nick Sciascia   March 1898 (Killed by station bull)
     
     

 

Assistant Keeper (1st) From To
  1st Lit. 1877/78  
Charles William Skill  22   January 28, 1878  22 August 6, 1882  22                                  (Dismissed August 21, 1882)  22 
John Frederick Rayner  80 August, 1882  80  December, 1883  80
David Partington  22  (Probationary Keeper)  22 November 5, 1882  22  March 31, 1883  22 
David Partington  22 April 1, 1883  22  1884  22 
     
William Hebden Bennet  80 February, 1885  80 May 1887  80
George Charles McCartney  22 March, 1891  22
     
Andreas Anderson  22   (Probationary Keeper)  22   1895  22
Andreas Anderson  22 April 30, 1896 August 31, 1897  22    (Resigned)  22 
     
George Odey  22   (Probationary Keeper)  22 December, 1907  22  March 31, 1908  22 
     
Harold Edwin Conway  22  (Probationary Keeper)  22 December 3, 1910  22   
Harold Edwin Conway  22    July 13, 1911  22 
     
A. Simpson  22   Probationary Keeper  22 June 13, 1913  22   
     
Rainsford Henry Neal  113   1917  113
     
Percy Edwin White  166    
     
John R. Murray 13a November, 1969  13a    
     
Thomas Smith    
     

 

One of the earliest Italian immigrants was Nicolas Sciascia, who became a lighthouse keeper at Māhia Peninsula. He married a Māori woman, Riria McGregor, and together they had 11 children. Nicolas died in 1893 on Portland Island, off the peninsula, and his descendants, who number over 2,000, meet every few years to commemorate his life and legacy. http://www.teara.govt.nz/en/photograph/4211/sciascia-reunion

 

 

 

Sources

Additional Sources:

112Daily Southern Cross, Volume XXVIII, Issue 4761, 27 November 1872, Page 4

113. Evening Post, Volume XCIV, Issue 82, 4 October 1917, Page 6

117. Press, Volume XXIV, Issue 3110, 11 August 1875, Page 2

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

 

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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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