Cape Borda is on the north-western tip of Kangaroo Island. I visited there on 17 May 1987.
Cape Borda lighthouse, built in 1858, is the only square stone lighthouse in Australia and it also has a signal cannon. The purpose of the signal cannon was to warn ships that might be sailing into danger and it may also have been intended to warn off any Russian ships at the time of a war scare. The tower is only ten metres high because it is on top of a cliff which is 155 metres high.
In the image above, I was looking up at the lighthouse. With most cameras and lenses this will produce a tapering effect, with the top of the lighthouse appearing smaller than the base. Using a large format monorail camera with full movements and a lens with a wide image circle I was able to correct for this at the time of taking the picture. This would have involved raising the front standard and could have also involved lowering the rear standard. I think I may have had to make some sideways corrections as well.
In the early days the only access to the lighthouse was by sea and there were many times of tragedy as the small cemetery demonstrates. The first keeper died after injuring his eye walking through the bush and no outside medical assistance was available. Eight children of keepers died including one who fell off the cliff and one who simply went missing. Another keeper also died and two keeper’s wives, one of whom in childbirth. The master and nine crew of the vessel Fides drowned when the ship went down near Cape Borda in 1860 and second keeper Charles Johnson was commended for returning the four survivors to Adelaide in a small boat in a “tempestuous season”. It might seem romantic to be a lighthouse keeper but times could be hard.
This is a view of lighthouse cottages and the lighthouse, looking west towards the sea late in the afternoon.
A view of the lighthouse and cannon at a similar time. This was taken with a Mamiya 645 and the perspective corrected in post-processing.
The lighthouse and cannon after dark. Although I was using a large format camera, the wide angle lens only just covered 5×4 inches, so I was unable to correct for perspective at the time of taking the shot. Consequently, I also corrected this image in post-processing. There is some compromise in quality involved in doing it this way rather than in camera.