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The Lighthouse That Wrecked More Ships Than it Saved

For more than forty years a lighthouse stood on a large peninsula jutting into the Tasman Sea in southern Australia. It stood at a place where it shouldn’t have, luring ignorant ships into the very rocks they were trying to avoid.

The cliffs around Cape St George just south of Jervis Bay were notorious for shipwrecks. So it was decided that a lighthouse was needed for the safe navigation of coastal shipping. In 1857, the Colonial Architect Alexander Dawson began looking for a site suitable for a lighthouse on Cape St George. Unfortunately, Dawson was more interested in the ease of construction rather than providing an efficient navigation aid.

When the Pilots Board went to verify the location Dawson chose they found that the site was not visible from the required approaches. They also found Dawson’s map suffered from “discrepan­cies so grave that it is impossible to decide whether position(s) marked on the map really exist.” The board also suspected that Dawson chose the site solely because it was situated closer to a quarry he planned to obtain stones from.

Despite the glaring deficiencies and disagreement by a majority of the board, for reasons not known, the chairman of board authorized the construction of the lighthouse. For the next four decades the ill-sited lighthouse was responsible for some two dozen shipwrecks. Eventually in 1899, the lighthouse was replaced by the Point Perpendicular Lighthouse in a much more suitable location on this part of the coast.

Even after decommissioning, the lighthouse continued to cause navigational problems especially on moonlit nights when the golden sandstone tower glowed in the dark. So near the turn of the century, the tower was reduced to rubble to prevent any further disaster.

Possible Preaching Angles:

1) Carelessness; Effort; Laziness; Motives – When there is a lack of diligence in studying of God’s Word many can be misled (2 Timothy 2:15); 2) False doctrine; False Teachers; Pharisees; Hypocrites – Scripture warns that in the last days there will be false teachers who will mislead many people into tragedy. All teaching must be carefully checked against Scripture to discern true from false.


Kaushik, “The Lighthouse That Wrecked More Ships Than it Saved,” AmusingPlanet.Com (10-16-18)

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