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10 August 1871 Lighthouses

 10 August 1871 Lighthouses

The lighthouse at Cape Jervis went into operation on 10 August 1871. The first lighthouse in South Australia was the Cape Willoughby on the eastern end of Kangaroo Island erected in 1852 and in 1858 the Cape Borda light on the western end went into operation. By 1876 these three lighthouses were connected by telegraph to Normanville enabling the movement of shipping to be notified to each one. Before the installation of lighthouses on dangerous areas of the coast there were many wrecks. Prior to the erection of the Troubridge light in 1856 one ship to come to grief on the shoal was the Marion in 1851. The passengers were able to launch the lifeboats and some of these reached the shore of Yorke Peninsular while others crossed the gulf and made landfall at Cape Jervis and Yo Ho Beach. There was only one fatality, that of a woman who was badly injured when a dray overturned on the way from the beach to a farmhouse.

Even after the installation of lighthouses ships managed to run ashore. One of the largest was the Orient liner Sorata which ran aground at Cape Jervis on 3 September 1880 where she remained stuck fast until 13 November when she was eventually re-floated and sailed for Port Adelaide for repairs.

R.F. Williams, To Find the Way Yankalilla and District 1836-1986, Lutheran Publishing House, 1986, pp.72-4.

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