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Maritime history brought to light at East Shores 1B

An iconic piece of Gladstone’s maritime history is set to take the spotlight at Gladstone Ports Corporation’s East Shores 1B, with the installation of one of the South Trees Lead Lights at the recreational precinct.


Gladstone Ports Corporation (GPC) Acting Chief Executive Officer Craig Walker said the original lead lights were installed at South Trees Inlet in the 1960s to ensure the safe passage of vessels navigating through the channel.


“Many Gladstone locals will remember seeing the lead lights at South Trees Inlet, which played an important role in the history of the Port of Gladstone, ensuring ships could safely navigate through the channel,” Mr Walker said.   


“East Shores 1B will celebrate the rich history of Gladstone and feature other maritime artefacts including a calcite tunnel display and a D6 dozer. 


“We look forward to welcoming the public to view this historical piece and enjoy the new facilities, including a waterfront café, big-screen outdoor theatre and cruise ship passenger terminal, when East Shores 1B opens in mid-2020.”


The original installation of the South Trees Lead Lights in the 1960s was a delicate process conducted out on the water.


The concrete piles that held the lead lights were built near Auckland Hill and transferred by barge to South Trees Inlet to be assembled.


A petrol motor winch drove the concrete piles into position. To aid in the pile-driving process, two water hoses were temporarily attached to the pile being driven, allowing it to be secured in place.


“Once the piles were in place, the pad for the lead hut to sit on was created by hand on site, as there was no ready-mix concrete available in those days,” Mr Walker said.


“The hut itself was fashioned from ironbark timber due to its hardiness and durability, and was fastened in position on the concrete base standing in the water.


“A qualified carpenter working on the lead lights had a reputation for being a strong diver, jumping into the water to retrieve hammers, chisels or items that were accidentally dropped into the water during the installation process.


“Fifty years on, the structure has stood the test of time, having weathered severe wind and rain events without the additional support of beams and bracing,” Mr Walker said.


For more information about East Shores and Gladstone Ports Corporation, visit