Come in, lighthouses of the world

BASED in a chart room next to the lighthouse at Flagstaff Hill, the maritime village’s amateur radio group connected with other lighthouses around the world over the weekend.

Flagstaff Hill Amateur Radio Group members Robert Wright (left), from Grampians, with Warrnambool’s Peter Honey and Greg McNamara. 140817LP03

Flagstaff Hill Amateur Radio Group members Robert Wright (left), from Grampians, with Warrnambool’s Peter Honey and Greg McNamara. 140817LP03

International Lighthouse Weekend is held annually across the globe to celebrate the significant role of lighthouses throughout history. 

The weekend was initiated in 1998 by the Ayr Amateur Radio Group in Scotland to promote public awareness of lighthouses and other aids to navigation and their need for preservation and restoration, as well as encouraging amateur radio operators to practice their skills. 

The six members of the group chatted to other enthusiasts in Barcelona, Mauritius, New Zealand, Germany and Norway.

Radio operator Greg McNamara said members spent the whole weekend from Friday evening chatting to more than 150 stations.

“This year we are doing it in memory of our original organiser Alan Gilchrist,” he said. Mr McNamara thanked Flagstaff Hill for allowing the group to stay at the village. 

“In some of the lighthouses people have to hike in and out each day,” he said. “We are lucky enough to stay here.”

At the Wilsons Promontory lighthouse the radio operators hike 25 kilometres with all of their gear to reach the beacon.

Flagstaff Hill Amateur Radio Group member Peter Honey said one of the more interesting lighthouses is located at Alice Springs, along the Todd River.

The Australian Maritime Safety Authority acting chief executive officer Mick Kinley said 2014 marks 99 years of continuous aids to navigation management by the Commonwealth.

“A lot has changed in 99 years, from new illumination technologies and automation of lighthouses to the introduction of digital vessel identification systems,” he said.

“But despite these changes, lighthouses continue to play a vital role in shipping safety.”

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