A historic World War I searchlight emplacement in Point Lonsdale was opened today after being restored by the Borough of Queenscliffe. Borough of Queenscliffe Mayor Bob Merriman and Minister for Water, Police and Emergency Services Lisa Neville opened the site, encouraging residents and visitors to learn more about the town’s rich maritime and military history.
The concrete emplacement was originally constructed in 1914 but fell into disrepair due to its age and location, and was closed to the public last year among safety concerns. Now this important reminder of a bygone era is on display once more, housing more than a century of memories inside it.
“By restoring this place, we are enabling generations to come to share in the memories and history that make our community so special,” said Borough of Queenscliffe Mayor Cr Bob Merriman.
The area has long been associated with naval history, and navigational structures have been in place at Point Lonsdale since 1863. The outbreak of the First World War prompted moves to install defence structures in the vicinity of the lighthouse, of which this is one.
A Heritage Victoria grant of $90,000 under the Living Heritage Grants Program was provided in addition to the $86,000 allocated by Council towards the project, which includes rehabilitation of the structure, safe public access and interpretation signage. A timber stairwell now also provides a direct link between the beach and the structure, which hosts sweeping views across Port Phillip and the infamous rip.
“Between the Borough of Queenscliffe, the Victorian Government and members of our local community, we have worked together to restore this searchlight emplacement and make it more accessible to everyone,” Cr Merriman continued. “I want to thank everyone who has played a part in the site’s restoration for their efforts.”
Members of the public can access the site from today.