Striated Skies No. 27 – What’s in a name

27. What's in a name

The Green Point Lighthouse is the oldest working lighthouse in South Africa. It is located at 33°54’04”S 18°24’02” E, in the suburb of Mouille Point. Due to this fact the lighthouse is often referred to as Mouille Point Lighthouse. This is incorrect as the Mouille Point lighthouse is no longer functional and the remnants of the building stand on the CPUT campus in Granger Bay. The two lighthouses could not have the same name, hence the name Green Point Lighthouse.

What remains of the Mouille Point lighthouse courtesy of HiltonT on Flickr What Remains of the Mouille Point Lighthouse 

The Green Point Lighthouse was commisioned in 1820 by Sir Rufane Shaw Donkin, who was the acting Commissioner of the Cape at the time.The lighthouse was designed by Herman Shutte a German emigrant. It took 3 years to complete the lighthouse as the official governor of the Cape, Lord Charles Somerset was not been consulted and thus the building was stopped with bureaucracy between London and the Cape. The lighthouse originally had two lamps that were lit using sperm whale oil. A watercolour from the Stellenbosch University archives show the original lighthouse which was first lit on 12 April 1824.

Original Green Point Lighthouse Design – Courtesy of Stellenbosch University Archives 

The lighthouse was expanded to its current state in 1865 with one light beam that has a reach of 22 nautical miles and some serious sounding mercury halide floating table. The building was certified a Provincial heritage site on 12 January 1973 and is open week days from 10am to 3pm. Due to modern technology the lighthouse is only manned by one person.

I would suggest taking a walk along the Sea Point Promenade and stopping off at the lighthouse to take a look.


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