Friends of the Point Lonsdale Lighthouse Reserve
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It reinforces the importance of the protecting the natural environment. CSIRO studies in 2008 and 2012 concluded that a well-managed and carefully planned network of protected areas will help to buffer the effects of climate change on the landscape and minimise the loss of biodiversity.
The Point Lonsdale Lighthouse Reserve, despite its remarkable maritime and military history and environmental attributes, is not on the National Register. To rectify this oversight, an application was made in February 2017 to have the Reserve assessed for National Heritage listing under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999.
In June 2017, Hon Sarah Henderson MP, announced that the Pt Lonsdale Lighthouse Reserve had made the Finalized Priority Assessment List for the National Heritage List for 2017-18. The Minister for the Environment, the Hon Josh Frydenberg MP, nominated two sites for consideration - one was Point Lonsdale and the other was Finniss Springs mission and pastoral station located west of Marree, South Australia which has Aboriginal traditions for Arabanna, Kuyani and Wangkangurru, and was a mission in the 1940s and 1950s.
In September 2017, the Australian Heritage Council invited members of the public to make comments on whether the Point Lonsdale Lighthouse Reserve and its environs (‘the Reserve’) meets any National Heritage criteria and whether it should be included in the list. It was very pleasing that the Queenscliff Council wrote in support of the National Heritage proposal. A group formed to prepare a detailed submission covering the Reserve's extensive military and maritime history dating back to the colonial period. This submission covers many subjects such as; colonial development, defence history, the evolution of the lighthouse, shipwrecks, maritime rescue, the beginnings of the Pt Lonsdale Surf Life Saving Club, artists, and indigenous heritage. It is also worth reading the remarkably well-researched 2001 Department of Natural Resources and Environment’s master plan for the Reserve which formed the basis under which the Pt Lonsdale Lighthouse Reserve was handed to the Queenscliffe Council, and seemingly adopted by the Council in 2011.
The submission is large and has been broken into two parts - please allow time to download.
The submission was lodged with the Australian Heritage Council in November 2017 and is currently undergoing a formal assessment process which can take several years.
As part of the submission for Point Lonsdale, it was recommended a thematic review of defences at Port Phillip Heads be undertaken. In response, in May 2018, the Commonwealth provided a grant under the Protecting National Historic Sites program in the 2018/19 Federal budget to the Federation of Australian Historical Societies to undertake a thematic study of the early defence of Australia specifically focusing on defence fortifications of Sydney Harbour and Port Phillip Bay Some 600 pages of research have been written by a variety of contributors and in May 2019 the study was submitted to the Australian Heritage Council which will now assess whether National Heritage is appropriate. The research paper makes a very solid case for Point Nepean (VHR H2030), Shortland Bluff (VHR H2367), Fort Queenscliff (H7821-0002), South Channel Fort (VHR H1502) and Point Lonsdale to achieve National Heritage.
The map below shows how both sides of the Heads are inherently linked with rich heritage and national parks. It makes perfect sense to have these links formally recognized, potentially with an integrated heritage zone at Port Phillip Heads.