Friday, August 29, 2008

Leading Lights, Port Melbourne

Sea Beacon, Port MelbourneBelieve it or not, there are aspects of my lie that are not related to Art Deco.

For one, I am a foundation member of the Port Melbourne Historical and Preservation Society (PMHPS) which naturally covers the whole area from before the first settlers in the area in 1839 through to the present day.

The 29th March 2008, marks the 100th anniversary of the visit of America's Great White Fleet to Melbourne, and therefore Port Melbourne, as part of their world tour. The US Navy frigate, John S McCain berthed at Station Pier today to commemorate that event.

None of this is deco but I wanted to stay within Port so I came up with the Leading Lights.

They date from the mid 1920s and consist of two beacons, one on land and one in the sea. When the lights from these beacons are aligned, they guide vessels to the piers at Port Melbourne.

Inland Beacon, Port MelbourneThe photo above shows the sea beacon while the photo at right shows the inland beacon. The sea beacon can just be made out in the distance.

The Leading Lights have been superceded by more modern navigation aids and the inland beacon now houses a tri-part light which appears white when the ship is on-course without the need to be aligned with the other beacon.

Still, they are a landmark of Port Melbourne and it is kinda fun to have a lighthouse on the edge of a city park. The housing development which has been built at its feet is called Beacon Cove and the street designed to maintain and celebrate the line of sight between the two beacons is called Beacon Vista.

That is Beacon Vista below with the base of the inland beacon in the foreground and the sea beacon in the background.

For the ship buffs, that red funnel over the palm trees is the QEII berthed at Station Pier on one of her last visits to Melbourne.

Beacon Vista, Port Melbourne

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