Cape Jaffa Lighthouse

Old Cape Jaffa Lighthouse in Kingston


The Cape Jaffa Lighthouse is a "must see" tourist attraction that is located on the foreshore (Marine Parade).

The lighthouse was originally built out to sea from Cape Jaffa, on the Margaret Brock Reef where is stood for 100 years.

In 1974, the local community, with the help of the National Trust, decided to dismantle the structure and to reassemble it again in Kingston SE.

Guided tours are available during School Holidays and long weekends between 10am and 4pm. Alternatively, arrangements for a tour can be made at the Visitor Information Outlet or by phoning 08) 8767 2033






Work commenced on the 41 metre (134 ft) high structure towards the end of 1868 and was completed for opening on 24th January 1872. This type of lighthouse is known as a Wells Screw Pile and is most durable because of its wrought iron construction and the fact that its narrow foundation piles of 20 cm. diameter provided little resistance to waves.

The designer, G. Wells, submitted the tender that was accepted for the construction of the lighthouse at Cape Jaffa. W.F. King carried the burden on his shoulders as Superintendent of Works.

The contract time limit for the construction was 12 months, but due to adverse weather conditions, etc it took 3 years to complete. A clause in the contract stated that the contractor was liable for £10 damages per day for non completion of any portion of the work within the time limit.

The original 13 screw piles screwed 2.7 metres into the solid reef. The original decking and jetty remains intact and can be seen from this position on clear days. A workshop was originally placed on this decking but was dismantled with the rest of the lighthouse. The bottom 6 metre section of this 36 metre structure was re-built from original specifications. The remainder of the structure has been re-assembled from the original parts.


The 8 rooms of this dwelling accommodated 2 families and sufficient stores to last for several months. One room was set aside as an office and signal room. For a short period there were 3 families and 11 children living on the lighthouse, but in later years only 2 men lived on the structure. This lighthouse was a weather station until 1973.


The lantern room 3.6 metres in diameter contains the very valuable light apparatus which floats on mercury and is operated on the weighted chain principle of the grandfather clocks. The 142,000 candle power light showed for a distance of 40 km.

The pressure kerosene burner has a single mantle and used approximately 18 litres of kerosene per week. This apparatus was the last of its type to operate in Australia. It operated until 1973. The original burner was a multi-wick burner which was replaced in 1909.

The original cost of the lighthouse was £20,700 and the cost of the light alone was £3,000. All materials were of the highest quality and the lighthouse was assembled in England prior to shipment. Original part numbers can be seen on cast panels in the apparatus room and on the brass sections of the prisms.


During 1974 material began arriving ashore at this site under the direction of the Department of Transport. A helicopter removed the top sections and placed them on shore and the 2,000 ton lighthouse vessel 'Cape Pillar', transported the heavier sections to a point opposite this structure where an amphibious craft ferried the section to this site.

It is the first time in the history of Australia that a lighthouse has been shifted from a site at sea and rebuilt on land. The Kingston Branch of the National Trust undertook the mammoth task of reconstructing the lighthouse.

On the 24th January 1976 the lighthouse was officially handed over to the National Trust of S.A. by the Commonwealth Department of Transport. Approximately 700 attended this function on the same day that it was opened 104 years ago.