From the cedar felling days of the 1830s, sea transport had been of major significance to the region. Vessels of all kinds sheltered in the bay to load timber, then wheat, and diary produce, and later basalt. Commercial pressure for increased harbour facilities resulted in the construction of a lighthouse in Kiama in 1886. The design of the lighthouse is attributed to the Chief Engineer of the Marine Board, Rdward O. Moriarty. The total cost for the tower… and apparatus was £1,350, £80 below the state government’s estimate.
Situated on the round apex of Blow-hole point, the Kiama lighthouse stands from the sea level to the light at a height of 224 ft. (It is actually 121 ft above.) The foundation is concrete, 14 ft in depth and 12 ft in diameter; from the bottom of the foundation to the top of the entrance is 16 ft. The height of the building from floor to the coping is 36 ft, to the light is 40 ft, and to the top of the weather vane is 50 ft. The building is of brick, cemented outside and plastered within. The ascent is accomplished by means of 3 iron ladders, leading from one storey to another, the staircase being lighted by side lights.
The original apparatus was an oil lantern manufactured by ‘Chance Brothers’, Birmingham, England. The light was of a fixed green flame that had 15 lenses and was visible at a 9 mile-radius. The oil burner was upgraded to local coal gas in 1908. This was further upgraded to acetylene gas in 1920 and the light was demanned. In 1969 the light was converted to 240v mains electricity, which used a tungsten halogen lamp, using the original Chance Brothers lens.