Cape Brett Lighthouse keeper's cottage

The Cape Brett Lighthouse keeper's Cottage was built 1908.

Management
Fabric
History
Fabric significance
Historic significance
Future management

Cape Brett Lighthouse Keeper's Cottage. Photo: DOC.
Cape Brett Lighthouse keeper's cottage

Management

Cape Brett Lighthouse Keepers Cottage is managed by the Far North District Office.

Fabric

The only remaining house of three identical buildings that formed part of the lighthouse settlement at Cape Brett. It was a simple weather board building of three bedrooms, sitting room, kitchen/living room, etc. Glazed ceramic chimney pots are an interesting feature, designed to modify the power of prevailing winds. Pieces of these have been retrieved. Internal modification to the house over the last 88 years has included removal of walls, doors & modification of the kitchen. In 1996 the building was converted into a hut with bunkrooms and a composting toilet. There have been few alterations to the exterior. It is now used by trampers on Cape Brett Walkway.

Map of Cape Brett. View a larger version of the Cape Brett map (65K).
Map of Cape Brett. View a larger version
of the Cape Brett map (65K)

The house is in a magnificent setting, on the tip of Cape Brett Peninsula at the end of a scenic walkway, and is still associated with the Cape Brett Light.

History

The lighthouse settlement was established in 1908. The light was the first in New Zealand to have a mercury float light installed. This increased the speed of revolution and allowed a more powerful beam to be shown. After 70 years of continuous operation the lighthouse was decommissioned, a smaller automated light installed, and the settlement was closed. Most of the reserve was transferred to the Department of Lands and Survey in 1984 and to DOC in 1987. This reserve area contains all features associated with the settlement, and the foundation remains of the WWII radar and signal station. The lighthouse and a small area of land in the reserve is currently managed by the Maritime Safety Authority.

Fabric significance

A typical lighthouse keepers dwelling of the early 20th century. The only one of its type remaining in Northland. Its ceramic chimney pots are of particular interest.

Historic significance

It’s association with the first lighthouse in New Zealand to install a light revolving in a bath of mercury.

Future management

Remedial work has been completed on this hut and it will be maintained to protect its fabric and minimise deterioration. It has continued use as a trampers hut. An interpretation is being developed to outline the maritime history of the area, and the significance of the lighthouse.

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