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2015/30/1 Architectural model, Macquarie Lighthouse, wood / plastic, made by the Department of Navigation, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia, c.1880. Click to enlarge.

Architectural model, Macquarie Lighthouse, c.1880

  • c 1880
This lighthouse model is a record of a significant Sydney building and landmark. It shows the design of the second lighthouse built on the sight at Dunbar Head, Vaucluse, lit in 1883, and designed by colonial architect James Barnet. The original lighthouse, designed by convict architect Francis Greenway and lit in 1818 had deteriorated by 1823 due to the soft sandstone used in construction.

Scottish immigrant James Barnet arrived in Sydney in 1854. A trained builder and architect, he became …


Object No.


Object Statement

Architectural model, Macquarie Lighthouse, wood / plastic, made by the Department of Navigation, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia, c.1880

Physical Description

The model features the lower section of the building: three doorways and stairs to each, two windows on each side, two small domes on each side, and the lighthouse structure in the centre. The model details the cupola, lantern room and gallery deck. The model is painted white with gold and timber detail.



1885 mm


975 mm


420 mm



The model was made in the 1880s as an architectural model for the Department of Navigation, Sydney, Australia, by or for the colonial architect James Barnet.



This model was used to display the external aesthetics of the lighthouse. It was used by the Department of Navigation, Sydney, from the 1880s. It was lent to the Museum of Applied Arts and Sciences in 1907 for an educational display. The model has been conserved and stored in the Museum's collection from that time, and was formally acquired in 2015.

H.R. Carleton from the New South Wales Public Works Department at the time wrote an excellent description of the lighthouse reproduced in the book 1987 book, 'Engineers and their works in New South Wales 1884-1914'. He noted that Macquarie Lighthouse was:

'situated immediately in the rear of the old lighthouse at South Head, of Port Jackson. The tower is 61 feet high from the ground to the lantern and is divided into four stories. It is circular on the plan, 11.5 feet in diameter inside, built of sandstone, dressed both sides, designed to resemble as closely as possible the old lighthouse. The base of the tower, externally, is 23.5 feet square, to a height of 17 feet, above which it is circular, the walls being 4 feet thick near the bottom, tapering to 3 feet thick at the top. Bluestone gallery round lantern, with gun metal railing. Engine room, oil stores, and workrooms are provided in 2 one storey wings, one on either side of tower and attached to same, the wings being each about 24 feet square, surmounted by domes constructed of woodwork and covered with lead. The engine room contains two 8 hp Crossley's gas engines, and two De Meritens magneto-electric machines, weighing 2.5 tons each. A gasholder, containing 4 or 5 days supply, is also provided, connected with the mains of the Australian Gas Light Co.'.

The lighthouse cost 19,620 pounds to erect and its light was described as '1st order dioptric, holophotal, revolving white light, electric light, gas or oil; visible between N. by E. quarter and S. by E., showing a flash every minute and making a complete revolution in 16 minutes'.

The lighthouse had a staff of 5, comprising an engineer superintendent, 1 assistant engineer and 3 under keepers. They were accommodated in five single-storey houses.


Credit Line

Gift of Port Authority of New South Wales, 2015

Acquisition Date

12 May 2015

Cite this Object


Architectural model, Macquarie Lighthouse, c.1880 2021, Museum of Applied Arts & Sciences, accessed 28 July 2021, <>


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