On 1 July 1915, the Commonwealth of Australia officially accepted responsibility from the state government for all landfall and coastal lights around Australia.
Today, the Australian Maritime Safety Authority is responsible for maintaining aids to navigation at some 388 sites around 37,600 kilometres of Australian coastline.
The 37,600 kilometres of Australian coastline has countless potential hazards for ships approaching landfall, such as reefs, sandbars and strong currents. Foundering vessels and the consequent loss of life and goods created the need for manned beacons built on harbours, islands, coral reefs and beaches, to warn mariners of the dangers.
Traditionally, the lamps in early lighthouses were powered by kerosene but with the introduction of solar power, all ‘off grid’ beacons were converted to electricity. From the 1980s, there was a concerted effort to automate the remaining 41 manned lighthouses – a task which was completed on 22 August 1996. Despite advancements in satellite navigation systems, these lighthouses are still operational.
When the Commonwealth of Australia officially accepted responsibility for all landfall and coastal lights around Australia, it comprised of 167 lighthouses, 103 of which were manned. Since 1991, the function of maritime aids to navigation has been the responsibility of the Australian Maritime Safety Authority.
This commemorative coin recognises those who devoted their lives to manning and maintaining lighthouses in Australia and celebrates their contribution to a century of aids to navigation.
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