History Of Mildura Wreck And Vlamingh Head Lighthouse

The SS Mildura was a cattle ship which was wrecked on March 10, 1907. The ship clipped the North West reef of Western Australia and got damaged. The 2217 ton steel steamer was built in Glasgow in 1901. However, though the crew was rescued all the cattle on board were left to die.

Today the wreck can be found at the end of Mildura Wreck Road. It now presents a site for photographer’s delight as well as a nursery for reef sharks. The place is known as the Vlamingh Head. The Harbor and Lights Department decided to build a lighthouse on the place in 1909 and it was finally built in 1912. It is a concrete tower of 12.2m height and 73.2m above the sea level. It was originally known as the North West Cape Lighthouse on Vlamingh Head. However, due to the location of, it has become a popular watchtower for enjoying the most spectacular views of Ningaloo Reef and the Cape. The first light came from it was on December 10, 1912. Though the tower was once damaged by cyclone, it was fully restored later. It is the only kerosene burning lighthouse of Australia.

However, the original keeper cottages that were built in 1912 are being used as personal residence for the owners of Caravan Park today. It makes an excellent spot for viewing the large varieties of wildlife of the place. Osprey, sea eagles and humpback whales during their migration are most commonly seen. The place has gained its historical importance as the sight of the shipwreck of SS Mildura can be seen directly from the shores of the Bay. Along with this, the bay also holds a variety of beaches to its credit. The beaches are ideal for fishing, swimming, and windsurfing. Moreover, it is ideal place for viewing the famous West Australian sunset.

North West Cape is a very important place as it acted as the re fuelling depot for US Navy ships during the Second World War. For the operation a Radar post was developed near the Vlamingh lighthouse. Eight years after the second Word War, in 1953 a cyclone damaged both facilities. Though the quarters and main parts of the tower was not much damaged and repaired in next one year, the Radar Tower deteriorated to such an extent that it could not be restored again and hence a replica structure was constructed in 2001.The light source in the Vlamingh Head is derived by heating kerosene in vapor tubes. However, after 1953, the tower was once again damaged from Cyclone Vance in 1999. In the later part of 2000 and early 2001 huge amount of restoration works were carried.

Recently no tour is conducted to the place. However, it deserves to be the most extinguishing tourist spot by Exmouth Sea. It is closest to the Surfer Beach and Ningaloo Marine Park. Mackerel Island with its 200 species of coral and a small museum makes another exclusive tourist destination beside it. If you are a fish lover, Oyster Stacks and Turquoise Bay along the beach are the best places for you.

Source by Julia Joy Jones

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