Our martime history saved
FOURTEEN kilometres off the coast of Coffs Harbour lies 125 years of maritime history that is now being revived by the next generation of enthusiasts. South Solitary Island and its lighthouse holds a romantic connection to the history of Coffs Harbour and today the Coffs Coast Advocate takes a look at the completed 'stage one' of stabalisation works. During a 12-week project, the National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS) contracted workers to stabilise the three lighthouse keepers cottages, at a cost of $440,000. NPWS north coast regional manager Alan Jeffery said the buildings were now weatherproof, secure and better protected from the elements, although not in condition for public use. The buildings have not been maintained since the light keepers left the island almost 30 years ago when the light was automated. The project required the NPWS team to work through a number of difficult challenges. Personnel and materials required for the works had to be transported to the island by helicopter, with all wastes then removed the same way. At the busiest point of the project 12 contract workers were on- site including painters, roof workers and carpenters, most of whom were Coffs Harbour locals. Mr Jeffery said careful consideration and meticulous planning meant that the project was competed on time and within budget. Only two days were lost to adverse weather over the 12 weeks of the project. A display is currently being developed for the Coffs Harbour Museum.