Culture and heritage

Heritage of NSW

Life Under the Light: Lighthouse Families of New South Wales

"So what was it actually like to live on a lightstation? Lighthouses hold a fascination for the modern imagination and there is no single experience of living ‘under the beam’ as each lighthouse holds different memories and stories."

Point Stephens, 1970s

Point Stephens

Ben Boyd National Park, far south NSW

Green Cape Lightstation

Harry Handicott, former WWII commando

Harry Handicott

The lightstations of the NSW coast have a rich and fascinating history. Standing firm against the battering of fierce wind and waves the Lightstations were a beacon of safety for passing ships whilst providing a unique home for lighthouse keepers and their families.

Life Under the Light: Lighthouse Families of NSW is a richly illustrated book which provides evocative accounts of families working, raising children and carrying out domestic life within the harsh but beautiful natural environment of the lightstations.

Life Under the Light: Lighthouse Families of New South Wales is the culmination of oral history research conducted between 2008 and 2011. Over 30 former lighthouse keepers and their families were interviewed during the project, providing a rich resource through which to enhance understanding of the NPWS Lightstations. Seven of the ten lightstations managed by NPWS were included in the research including Cape Byron, South Solitary Island, Smoky Cape, Sugarloaf Point, Point Stephens, Montague Island and Green Cape Lightstations.

The 'OEH Lighthouses of NSW Oral History Project', which provided the research for the Life Under the Light: Lighthouse Families of NSW book, was 'Highly Commended' at the National Trust of Australia (NSW) Energy Australia Heritage Awards in 2010.

Download a free copy of Life Under the Light.

More information about lighthouses of NSW.

The format and structure of this publication may have been adapted for web delivery.

Page last updated: 29 May 2015