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Lighthouse of the Year

Cape Byron Lighthouse, Australia – 2021

Cape Byron Lighthouse, Australia
IALA Heritage Lighthouse of the Year – 2021

This operational lighthouse and its former keepers’ accommodation incorporates an interpretative centre maritime museum, administration office, café and overnight accommodation. It is a major to urist attraction with 500,000 visitors a year.

It is a stunning lighthouse in a beautiful position, and is in a remarkable state of preservation. It retains its rotating 1st order bivalve Fresnel lens the first and only one of its kind in Australia . Not only does it retain the mercury bearing system, but also the original lifting devise for maintaining the mercury bath. The lighthouse also lays claim to being one of the first to have been built out of precast concrete blocks.

There is however one outstanding characteristic of this lighthouse that is not obvious from looking at it. That is the
comprehensive work which has been undertaken to understand the lighthouse’s importance to different interest groups from a cultural and heritage perspective. Such value is identified as going way beyond its function as an AtoN, whilst acknowledging that this remains its primary function. A 100 page Cape Byron heritage Management Plan expertly (and in detail) identifies the historical and cultural values (including physical features) and how to protect, conserve, tell and present its story. The Management Plan results from the AMSA Heritage Strategy 2018 which facilitates this joined up approach to the management of Australia’s lighthouse heritage and enables each site to be seen in a wider context.

Such a comprehensive, holistic and proactive approach is truly exemplary. The example of Cape Byron Lighthouse can be seen as a gold standard in the management of world lighthouse heritage.

Peter Hill, Chair, ENG Working Group 4


Santo Antônio da Barra Lighthouse, Brazil – 2020

Santo Antônio da Barra Lighthouse, Brazil
IALA Heritage Lighthouse of the Year – 2020


Cordouan Lighthouse, France – 2019

Cordouan Lighthouse, France
IALA Heritage LIghthouse of the Year – 2019