Booderee National Park

The ruin of Cape St George lighthouse is perhaps the most significant European site in the park.

The ruin was listed on the National Estate Register in 1981 in recognition of the ruin’s important setting and stonework and as a relic of early European occupation.

The lighthouse has a fascinating and grisly history of death and disaster:

  • In 1867, Isabella Jane Lee, the daughter of the principal lightkeeper from 1863 to 1873, died of typhus fever.

  • In 1882, another resident, 13-year-old George Gibson, died from pleurisy.

  • Typhoid struck again in 1885, killing Florence Bailey, the 11-year-old daughter of the third assistant lightkeeper. Her father, Edward Bailey, supplemented his income by fishing for sharks on the rocks below the lighthouse. In 1895, he was washed from the rocks. Entangled in his lines in heavy seas, he was taken by sharks as his son watched in horror.

  • Francis Henry Hammer, the son of Mary Hammer (a single woman who lived at the lighthouse) had a habit of pushing large rocks over the cliff edge to amuse himself. He either toppled over or lost his footing when part of the cliff collapsed. He was only nine or ten years old.

  • William Markham, the assistant lightkeeper from about 1878-1883, was kicked in the head by a horse and died before he reached Nowra Hospital.

  • In 1887, Kate Gibson (the principal lightkeeper’s teenage daughter), tripped while skylarking with a loaded firearm. The gun discharged, striking her friend Harriet Parker (the assistant lightkeeper’s daughter) in the back of the skull, killing her instantly. Her gravesite can be found in the Green Patch camping area.

Nowadays the lighthouse is the best place to watch the whale migration and return.

Download the Cape St George lighthouse podcast (MP3 - 3.72 MB)