Fingal Lighthouse

Photograph of Fingal Lighthouse keeper William Arnold and his granddaughter in front of the lighthouse and the Powder Room. The photograph was taken c1900

Tweed Regional Museum Collection

Fingal Head is the most northern headland in NSW, located on the coast of the Tweed Shire. It is the most north-eastern local Government area in New South Wales, the northern boundary being the New South Wales – Queensland border.
Early in 1872, the New South Wales Government was persuaded of the necessity of providing a beacon on Fingal Head to warn mariners of the intricate and dangerous reefs that abound in the sea in the vicinity.

Entries from the log book of the Tweed River Pilot Station under the date of Monday, 19th February 1872 note that trees were felled for the Fingal Head light, and a pole structure of approximately 30 feet high was erected to hold the light, a fixed kerosene lantern. A daughter of Mr William Arnold, the first lighthouse keeper at Fingal Headland described the lighthouse as being shaped like a large meat safe, mounted on a wooden structure resembling a pigeon loft. A hut was constructed for the keeper, who had to previously row from the Tweed Heads Pilot Station each day, and light the lantern at sunset.

In October 1878 the Maritime Board of NSW decided to build a new modern lighthouse at Fingal, and the existing structure was replaced with a sandstone tower and attached oil room with a four room cottage for the keeper a short distance away.

This light was converted to unmanned automatic acetylene operation in 1920 and all buildings other than the tower were demolished. Range was increased 8 nautical miles by conversion to electricity in 1980. The lighthouse is the oldest existing public building in the Tweed Shire. The lighthouse keepers residence ruins are 20 metres northwest of the lighthouse.

Fingal Head Lighthouse Specifications
Latitude:28° 12.2′ S
Longitude:153° 34.3′ E
Flashing:5.0 secs
Lens speed:1 revolution every 30 seconds (2 RPM)
Lamp:12V, 75W, QH, 2000hl, candelabra base
Intensity White:37,000 cd
Intensity Red:9,000 cd
Range White:17 n mile
Range Red:14 n mile