How the lighthouse came about
THE 60-foot Low Isles lighthouse is an iconic feature on the World Heritage coral cay and it was the tenth lighthouse commissioned by the Queensland Government to create the longest shipping lane in the world.
Located on the western edge of the main shipping channel, Low Isles was first flagged for a lighthouse in 1879 when it was recommended by the Chairman of the Queensland Marine Board.
Willeam Peter Clark, who had constructed the Bustard Head lighthouse near Bundaberg, was awarded the contract for 3195 pounds, however the final cost blew out to 4090 pounds for the buildings and 1389 pounds for the optical apparatus.
The first lighthouse keeper was Captain Daniel Owen and an unmarked grave behind the lighthouse is believed to belong to his wife Jane who passed away there in 1880.
In 1876 Daniel joined the Lighthouse Service and in 1878 became the first superintendent of Low Isles lighthouse -which commenced operating in November - and held his position until 1899.
On July 15, 1880 his wife, Jane Ann Owen, passed away at Low Isles from congestion of the lungs.
Low Isles has been used to collect weather data since 1887 and is still used as a weather station today.
It was originally powered by whale oil or cabbage oil but the lighthouse’s original oil burners were converted to kerosene in 1923 which resulted in an increase from 13,000 candelas to 100,000 candelas and in 1963 it was upgraded to an electric operation.
After nearly 120 years of lighthouse keepers, in 1993 a 16 nautical-mile self- contained beacon was installed and the station was demanned.