Low Head

Susan Fereday, 'Lighthouse at Low Head', undated (ALMFA, SLT)

Low Head, named by Matthew Flinders in 1798, lies at the mouth of the River Tamar. Its strategic importance as a signal post for vessels was quickly recognised by Colonel William Paterson when his vessel ran aground on first entering the river in 1804. One of his first activities on arrival was to locate a signal fire and personnel there. A pilot service was soon established, with William House appointed pilot in 1805. In 1833 John Lee Archer designed the first lighthouse. This was replaced with the current tower in 1888. Initially, the pilot station consisted of wooden huts but in 1835 Archer designed a row of cottages to house the growing numbers in the service. Today Pilot's Row houses a museum and archive.

Further reading: D Phillips, An eligible situation, Canberra, 2004.

Diane Phillips