The Green Point Lighthouse

The Green Point Lighthouse is an eye-catching landmark in Mouille Point with its bold rednand white candy stripes.

It is the oldest operational lighthouse in South Africa !

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nIn 1820 the construction of a lighthouse at Green Point, the first of its kind in nSouthern Africa, was put forward by Sir Rufane Donkin the Acting Governor of the nCape between 1820 and 1821.

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nThe project was designed by Hermann Schutte, a German stone mason who had npreviously been employed by the VOC (the Dutch East India Company), and was nnow working for the new administration as Inspector of Government Buildings.

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nBuilding commenced in 1821 and was completed in 1823. First lit on 12 April 1824, nthe original lanterns were equipped with single wick Argand lamps fuelled by sperm nwhale oil. The weak rays could not be seen further than 6 sea miles.

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nThe lighthouse cost approximately £6,420 pounds sterling to build. Unfortunately its structure did not stand up well to the hardships of Cape weather, and by 1840 Governor Sir George Napier was describing it as “an old ruinous building, falling fast into decay”.

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nThe building was renovated in 1842, and in 1865 its height was increased to 16 nmetres by the addition of a new tower, it was electrified in 1929.

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nIn 1922 the lantern was replaced with a 3rd order dioptric lens flashing light that can nbe seen for 25 nautical miles Its present characteristic is a white light flashing every n10 seconds.

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nMany locals mistakenly refer to the Green Point lighthouse as the Mouille Point nlighthouse because of where it stands on the edge of Mouille Point.

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nThere was indeed a Mouille Point lighthouse, built in 1842, but it was dismantled nsometime in the 1920’s.

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nThe Green Point lighthouse, which today is used as the Head Office of the nLighthouse Services (they own and maintain 45 lighthouses on the South African ncoastline), also used to sound a foghorn, installed in 1926 that sounded a 3 second nblast every 30 seconds that one could apparently hear up to a kilometre away from nthe lighthouse. It was nicknamed “Moaning Minnie” by residents in the area !

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nThis was replaced by an electrical version on the sea wall in 1986, a few metres nnorth of the lighthouse that apparently still sounds, but because of considerable nresidential development produces only a marginal noise.

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The Green Point lighthouse is a national heritage site and is open to the public nMonday to Friday from 10am to 3pm.n100 Beach Rd, Mouille Point, Cape Town – contact 021-4495171 for more ninformation regarding entry fees.

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