Shining a light on the heritage and museums of the region
Tucked away in museums big and small all over the Mid North Coast are some rare treasures and some very everyday objects. However they all have a story to tell of the fascinating and varied history and changing lifestyles of the region. This rich heritage is found not only in the stories and collections of our museums but in our buildings and landscapes.
SHINE provides the opportunity to shine a light on this heritage by showcasing it through a number of unique special events being staged, many in the twilight or evening or with a twist on the concept of shining a light on our heritage.
The Highway of Light
For hundreds of years now the historic lighthouses dotted along the Mid North Coast have been lighting up our dramatic coastline. These towering symbols of our maritime heritage offer a unique experience. Some lighthouses in NSW national parks offer tours and stays in restored lighthouse cottages.
During SHINE our lighthouses are featured in special events at Smokey Cape Lighthouse and the Mid North Coast Maritime Museum but why not check out our beacons of light.
From south to north these are:
Sugarloaf Point Lighthouse
Sugarloaf Point Lighthouse stands on a dramatic headland east of Seal Rocks village. Completed in 1875, it is the first lighthouse designed by colonial architect James Barnet and one of only two towers in Australia with an external stairway. It was originally built to guide ships along the rocky coastline, after a number of incidents, including the shipwrecking of the SS Catterthun and the Rainbow. Despite the coast being illuminated by the lighthouse, 20 wrecks have occurred since the lighthouse was built.
Below the lighthouse are the Lighthouse Keepers’ quarters and outbuildings that have been refurbished to offer holiday accommodation for visitors. On the grassy slopes next to the lookout point and cliff edge, you’ll see three memorials dedicated to people associated with the lighthouse.
Designated of State Heritage Significance February 22 2019.
Crowdy Head Lighthouse
The Crowdy Head Lighthouse was built in 1878 to support the work of a pilot station was established in 1860 at nearby Harrington to assist ships navigating the entrance of the Manning River with cargoes of timber, livestock and limestone. It was the last of a series of small lighthouses designed by James Barnette Crowdy Head tower was made of stone and painted white. It was originally manned by one light keeper. In 1928 the apparatus was converted to automatic acetylene operation providing 1500 candelas and the keepers withdrawn. The light was finally converted to mains electricity in June 1972.
Tacking Point Lighthouse
Built in 1879 by NSW architect James Barnet, Tacking Point Lighthouse is the thirteenth oldest lighthouse in Australia. The lighthouse sits atop a rocky headland which offers stunning panoramic views along Australia’s Mid-North Coast. Due to the elevation of the rocky headland, the lighthouse itself is only eight metres high. The lighthouse reserve is open all year. Access via Lighthouse Road just south of Port Macquarie. The tower is closed to the public. but there are extensive interpretation panels available telling its many stories
Smokey Cape Lighthouse
Smoky Cape Lighthouse is surrounded by the stunning coastal scenery of Hat Head National Park. Built in 1891, this heritage lighthouse is one of the last designed by the Colonial Architect, James Barnet. Smoky Cape headland was so named by Captain Cook after he saw Aboriginal fires burning there in 1770.
South Solitary Island Light is an active lighthouse on South Solitary Island, an island within the Solitary Islands Marine Park, about 15 kilometres northeast of Coffs Harbour, New South Wales, Australia. The lighthouse located at the summit of the island was automated in 1975. Access is now restricted but tours are run limited times a year.
Headlights & Spotlights And Blue Light
Our rivers were once the highways and byways of the region. Settlements and farms were established along and around the four rivers and their estuaries with boats of all shapes and sizes moving people and produce. Once roads were established, river ferries and punts were used to cross our rivers and eventually bridges were built to connect communities to each other.
Capture this heritage with a journey on our two remaining car ferries.
Port Macquarie-Hastings Council operates two ferries that provide vehicle access across the Hastings River to the North Shore, The Settlement Point Ferry and the Hibbard Ferry. There is no set timetable for ferry crossings, as the time taken to journey across the river varies depending on tidal conditions, but it generally takes no longer than five minutes per crossing.
There is also a car ferry to the Mungo Brush area of Myall Lakes National parks from Bombah Point (operates 8am to 6pm, 7 days a week).
For a different perspective why not take a Sunset Cruise on the Hastings River on board the Port Adventure to capture what life on the river used to be like and enjoy an unforgettable sunset.
Why not explore the multi-award winning online exhibition, Our Rivers Our History, www.oroh.com.au This covers dozens of stories and objects relating to the Manning, Camden Haven, Hastings and Macleay Rivers.
Another great source of local stories can be found at https://midcoaststories.com/stories/ This is a comprehensive collection of stories. images and local resources that preserve and promotes the unique history of the Gloucester, Great Lakes and Manning regions of NSW. The stories are intentionally short, factual and often quirky, describing the people, places, and events that have influenced the region.