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Maatsuyker exhibition at the Maritime Museum of Tasmania


The Friends of Maatsuyker Island (FOMI) Wildcare Inc. invites all lighthouse enthusiasts to visit their temporary exhibition at the Maritime Museum of Tasmania.

The exhibition, open until mid-March 2016, showcases urgent works being undertaken by FOMI and the Tasmania Parks and Wildlife Service (PWS) to conserve and restore the Maatsuyker Island lighthouse.

Maatsuyker is Australia’s most southerly lightstation and the most intact example of a pre-1900 lighthouse in Australia, essentially unchanged since it opened in 1891. It is the only first order Australian lighthouse that has retained its original roller pedestal, upon which the light mechanism rotates, and includes two fluted rims around the base of the lens. The lighthouse mechanism is also one of the few original mechanisms left in Australia that is still operable.

Maatsuyker was the last lighthouse station to be de-manned in Australia, in 1996. It is not only the intact lens and mechanical apparatus, however, which make the lighthouse station significant historically. The beauty of the lighthouse in its remote and spectacular location, off the Southwest Tasmanian coast, adds immeasurably to its public appeal.

FOMI, working in formal partnership with PWS, has already begun much needed work on the tower. Aided by cash and in-kind support from PWS and other sources (grants, donations, fundraising), FOMI has sought specialist advice on paint products, purchased special demountable scaffolding in preparation for exterior work, purchased and fitted a new door to the ‘catwalk’ (balcony), tested techniques to remove rust and seal fittings to prevent further rust damage, and in 2014 opened two of the tower’s lower level windows to aid air circulation. The windows had been sealed shut for more than 60 years!

The next stage of lighthouse conservation and restoration works will commence with a FOMI/PWS working bee in March 2016. Planned works include waterproofing of the lighthouse dome and lantern, corrosion management and painting the tower exterior. 

The FOMI exhibition is open daily at the Maritime Museum of Tasmania at 16 Argyle St, Hobart, until mid-March 2016. Museum entry fees apply (show your proof of Wildcare membership to receive a discount). FOMI cards, cap and the Maatsuyker booklet are also available for purchase at the museum shop. All funds raised go towards conservation of the island’s historic and natural values.

For more information on FOMI, our other Maatsuyker projects (on- and off-island) and how to get involved please contact wildcaremaatsuyker@gmail.com, visit our website (wildcaretas.org.au/branches/friends-of-maatsuyker-island/) or find us on Facebook.

FOMI thanks the Foundation for National Parks and Wildlife (FNPW) and PWS for supporting the heritage conservation works on the lighthouse, and FNPW and the Maritime Museum of Tasmania for supporting the temporary exhibition.