Community Spotlight on Albert Sparkes


Community Spotlight on Albert Sparkes

On Friday we chatted again with Albert Sparkes who we had met previously at the town hall meeting. He had told of us of an interesting picture he had of the lighthouse and promised to come share it with us. Albert is the father of Shane Sparkes who works for the town and is helping us with our work on the trail. Arriving on his motorcycle to the barbecue on Sunday, Albert brought a framed black and white photo of the Lighthouse site as it once was.

The picture shows the structures that served the lighthouse keeper, before the practice of having resident keepers was abandoned. In the image one can make out the coal storage shed (bottom left), the boat boom (in front of the shed), the light keeper’s house, the corridor to the lighthouse and the outhouse behind. As well a set of concrete stairs and a concrete well can be made out faintly. The steps have since been washed out, leaving only three steps at the top of a rock edge, eerily leading to nowhere. Albert of course had some good stories for us about the lighthouse and his work on it. He assisted the team of engineers who worked on retrofitting the lighthouse, dropping them there by boat. Sometimes the sea would be too rough and they would have to walk back to town, no doubt wishing there was a nice place for them to rest! On their way out a helicopter was used to move the generator, miscalculating the weight he was lifting, the helicopter was dragged down towards the sea, almost having to drop the generator. Fortunately the pilot regained control and saved the generator. Now all that is left is the foundation, the filled in well, three concrete steps, and of course the solar lighthouse.

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