Deal Island

Deal Island is a large island on the eastern side of Bass Strait about half-way between Tasmania and Victoria.  I visited there in 21 July 1987.


Deal Island lighthouse.
2:20pm 21 July 1987
Nagaoka 5×4″ Field Camera,
150mm Linhof Schneider Symmar,
f22 1/10 second + polariser,
Fujichrome 50.

The lighthouse at Deal Island was built in 1847 and the chief architect & builder was a convict, Charles Watson, who was transported to Van Diemen’s Land (now Tasmania) in 1827 for receiving stolen goods.  The lighthouse is twenty metres high and it did not need to be very tall as it is situated 280 metres above sea level and is probably the most elevated lighthouse in the southern hemisphere.   However, its very elevation meant that it was often obscured by cloud or fog.


Deal Lighthouse from ruined convict cottage
1937 Rollieflex twin lens reflex

Originally there were two cottages near the lighthouse for assistant lighthouse keepers who at least initially were likely to be convicts.  (I think the keepers explained the convict presence when I was there but this was not uncommon for the early lighthouses of Van Diemen’s Land).  So here we see the lighthouse from the window of a ruined cottage.  The alignment of the window is likely to be no accident so the keepers could look out and check  that the light was going.  Their location near the top of a hill did also make them occasionally susceptible to bush fires.


Deal Island Lighthouse and Cottages.
Taken this one from the helicopter in the way in
Nikon FE
Probably Vivitar Series 1 28mm f1.9.
(Low res scan from book).

Originally the Head Keeper had a comfortable cottage down near the sea while the two assistant keepers stayed in the cottages near the top.  Access to the lighthouse from the Head Keeper’s cottage or the wharf was by horse and cart or by walking so would have taken a while.  Much later, access to the lighthouse by motor vehicle became possible so the second and third cottages were relocated near the Head Keeper’s cottage down below in 1936 and 1960.

Deal Is partial view-Edit

Deal Island Lighthouse and cliffs
11:00am 21 July 1987
Nikon FE
Probably Vivitar Series 1 28mm f1.9
Fujichrome 50

Postscript:  I had this image wrongly filed under another lighthouse so I add it later.  This is a view from past the settlement near the coast looking along the cliffs to the lighthouse.  It dramatically shows how isolated the original keepers who lived up near the lighthouse must have been and how long it must have taken to walk between the lighthouse and the Head Keeper’s cottage.