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Cape Leeuwin Lighthouse: A Beacon of History

Cape Leeuwin - Lighthouse

AS THE warm sun bathed the Cape Leeuwin Lighthouse in a golden glow, I couldn’t help but feel a profound sense of history and gratitude.

This iconic lighthouse, perched on Australia’s most southwestern point, has witnessed the comings and goings of generations.

It has a unique story to tell, one that resonates deeply with the heart-wrenching experiences of soldiers returning from World War I.

Join me as we explore the rich history, breathtaking views, and heartfelt homecoming at Cape Leeuwin Lighthouse.

Unveiling History

Tears welled in my eyes as I imagined the emotions that coursed through the hearts of young soldiers returning from Gallipoli during World War I.

Cape Leeuwin Lighthouse, with its commanding presence, served as their guiding light, the last sight of Australia they saw before venturing into the unknown and the first sight upon their triumphant return.

Our tour guide, Rob, stood with us at the top of this 50-meter-tall lighthouse, narrating tales that echoed through time.

The lighthouse’s range of about 40 kilometers made it the last beacon of hope these soldiers saw as they sailed away from their loved ones.

“The light was also the first thing the survivors saw, and the scent of eucalyptus was the first thing they breathed as they returned home,” Bob shared.

“You can imagine how welcoming that must have been.”

Albany, Western Australia’s oldest settlement, was the departure point for the brave Australian troops bound for Gallipoli. The lighthouse stands as a symbol of their courage and sacrifice.

Exploring Cape Leeuwin

Visiting the Cape Leeuwin Lighthouse was a highlight of our trip to Western Australia.

My husband, Don, and I arrived early, at 9 am, eager to embark on this historical journey. For just $12 each, we were fortunate to have Bob’s undivided attention during the day’s first tour while others slept in or waited for subsequent tours.

Bob, an encyclopedia of knowledge on the history of Cape Leeuwin, regaled us with stories of shipwrecks and the explorers who had set foot on Western Australian soil long before Captain James Cook left his mark on the east coast.

In 1801, Matthew Flinders christened Cape Leeuwin, naming it after the adjoining area known as Leeuwin’s Land, a moniker given by Dutch navigators when “Leeuwin” (The Lioness) rounded the cape in 1622.

The cape’s name is etched in history, bearing witness to the passage of time and the tales of adventurers.

Cape Leeuwin holds another unique distinction—it’s where the Great Southern and Indian Oceans merge.

From the top of the lighthouse, we gazed in awe at the two swells, waves crashing in opposite directions over an outcrop of rocks just offshore.

The meeting of these mighty oceans is a spectacle that reminds us of nature’s incredible forces.

A Place to Discover

Easily accessible via Augusta, the Cape Leeuwin Lighthouse precinct is a treasure trove of history and natural beauty.

Besides the lighthouse itself, visitors can explore the well-appointed visitor center, a charming shop, and a cozy café.

Our day at Cape Leeuwin ended with a leisurely cappuccino at the café, overlooking Flinders Bay. It was the perfect way to reflect on the significance of this place, where history and nature converge.

Lighthouse a beacon for ships and soldiers

Cape Leeuwin Lighthouse stands as a beacon not only for ships navigating treacherous waters but also for the memories of soldiers who found solace in its light during their perilous journeys.

At Cape Leeuwin Lighthouse, the very rocks bear witness to stories of exploration and sacrifice and the merging of two great oceans. It’s a place where history and nature harmoniously coexist.

How to get there

The iconic Cape Leeuwin Lighthouse stands proudly at Australia’s southwestern tip, where the Southern and Indian oceans converge. As the tallest lighthouse on the mainland, it’s an unmissable attraction.  For more information and bookings, visit WesternAustralia.com

 

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First published 2013; updated 19 September 2023

PHOTOS: Jocelyn Watts

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Cape Leeuwin Lighthouse tour in pictures

Feature photo (top): Indian Ocean, left, Great Southern Ocean, right.
 
Cape Leeuwin - lady at sign postCape Leeuwin - Lighthouse scene

Cape Leeuwin - Water Wheel

Cape Leeuwin Water Wheel.

 

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Jocelyn Magazine is an affiliate of Booking.com. Purchases made by clicking on their links on this website may reward us with a small finder’s fee. It’s an easy way to show support for us and our mission to provide you with more awesome content to enjoy.

 
 
 
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