Australia 2002 Lighthouses

From Stamps of the World
Australia 2002 Lighthouses a.jpg
  • Issue Date: 12th March 2002
  • Designed by: Sean Pethick
  • Print Process: Lithography
  • Stamp Size: 26 mm x 37.5 mm


The need for lighthouses is ancient and practical. Some three thousand years ago wood-burning beacons were used to guide vessels safely to harbour. Through the ages wood was replaced by coal and oil. The smokeless oil lamp was a great improvement. Then reflective surfaces were used to increase the power of the lights. Later rotating lights and reflectors which enabled each lighthouse to produce a unique signal were a boon to navigation. At the end of the 19th century the art and industry of lighthouse construction reached its peak.

In Australia building lighthouses was first undertaken by each colony when funds were available. The Commonwealth Lighthouse Service began in 1915 with a stock of 179 marine marks, including 104 manned stations. From 1913 there was a growing emphasis on unmanned stations with automatic lights.

Currently there are some 400 light stations around Australia. They are maintained by the Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA) and State authorities. The occupation of lighthouse keeper has passed into history. All of Australia’s lighthouses have been converted to automatic lights, some have had their roles usurped by newer structures. The traditional stone towers are all heritage listed and many have become tourist attractions.

Today lighthouses and vessels use modern technology to prevent the loss of lives and cargo on reefs, rocks and otherwise dangerous shores. But something about a lighthouse lives on in spite of conversions or decommissioning and the loss of the romantic image of the solitary keeper. The allure of these magnificent guiding lights is timeless and universal.


Sheet Stamps

  • Printed by: McPherson's Printing
  • Format: sheets of 50 (two panes of 25 separated by gutter)
  • Perforations: 14½ x 14

Single Stamps

45c Macquarie, NSW Lighthouse Stamp

This was Australia’s first navigational light. There has been an aid to navigation on this Sydney South Head site since 1794 and a lighthouse since 1818. The original structure was designed by the convict architect Francis Howard Greenway who warned that the sandstone being used would deteriorate. He was correct and the original structure was replaced by a new tower based on Greenway’s original design. The lighthouse was fully automated in 1976.

49c Cape Naturaliste, WA Lighthouse Stamp

The Western Australian Engineer-in-Chief, CSR Palmer, was responsible for the design of the stone lighthouse tower and residences at Cape Naturaliste. The 20 m high tower was constructed from locally quarried limestone on a bluff so that its light was 123 m above high water. Its 4.6 m diameter lantern was manufactured by Chance Brothers of Birmingham, England. The light was converted to automatic operation in 1978 and was unmanned in 1996.

49c Troubridge Island, SA Lighthouse Stamp

Troubridge Island Lighthouse – the second to be constructed in South Australia – was designed and built by a British engineering firm headed by Alexander Gordon. The lighthouse was completed in 1855 and was the first prefabricated cast iron lighthouse built in Australia. It was built from segments shipped from Britain and bolted together on site. In the late 1970s a new lighthouse was built on Troubridge Hill. In 1981 the Troubridge Island light was fully automated and unmanned.

49c Troubridge Island, SA Lighthouse
$1.50 Cape Bruny, TAS Lighthouse Stamp

The Cape Bruny Lighthouse was designed by John Lee Archer, Tasmanian Colonial Engineer. It was built using convict labour and used stone cut on the dramatic, exposed site. Construction of the white, circular 13 m tower was completed in 1838. The cast-iron staircase was added in 1903. The lighthouse was replaced in 1996 by an automated solar light station on the adjacent headland. The historic lighthouse – a popular sight seeing and picnic destination since the middle of the nineteenth century – is no longer operational.

$1.50 Cape Bruny, TAS Lighthouse

Se-tenant Pair

Se-tenant pair x 49c

Self-adhesive Stamps

  • Printed by: SNP Ausprint
  • Format: booklets of 10
  • Perforations: 11¾ serpentine die cut

Single Stamps

49c Cape Naturaliste, WA Lighthouse
49c Troubridge Island, SA Lighthouse


Booklet cover
Booklet pane of 10 x 45c

First Day Cover

The first day of issue postmark was Beacon WA 6472. An official first day cover of the self-adhesive varieties was not produced.

First day cover

Prestige Booklet

  • Printed by: SNP Ausprint

This beautiful booklet with its lovely historic and contemporary photographs features an introduction to lighthouses in Australia, information about the lighthouses depicted on the stamps, and a fascinating selection of facts about Australian lighthouses. Also included in the booklet are the following stamps with a face value of $9.69:

  • four x 45c stamps (se-tenant block)
  • two each 49c stamps (two se-tenant pairs)
  • two x $1.50 stamps (se-tenant pair)
  • a block of four stamps comprising one of each of the four stamps in the issue. The block of four stamps is exclusive to the prestige booklet.
Prestige booklet front cover
Prestige booklet back cover
Prestige booklet pane of 4 x 45c
Prestige booklet pane of 2 x 49c
Prestige booklet pane of 2 x 45c
Prestige booklet pane of 2 x $1.50
Prestige booklet pane of 4 values

Maximum Cards

45c Macquarie, NSW Lighthouse maximum card
49c Cape Naturaliste, WA Lighthouse maximum card
49c Troubridge Island, SA Lighthouse maximum card
$1.50 Cape Bruny, TAS Lighthouse maximum card

Presentation Pack

Presentation pack front cover
Presentation pack back cover
Presentation pack of 4 values