The lighthouse iitself is currently the only protected building on the site, having been included on the Register of Government Buildings in 1982.
VCH Executive Director Steven Avery has formally recommended that registration be amended to also include other significant buildings and features - including the fog horn and rocket sheds, searchlight emplacement and Buckley’s Cave - as well as the site’s cultural assets.
“It is proposed the name is changed from ‘Point Lonsdale Lighthouse’ to the ‘Point Lonsdale Maritime and Defence Precinct’ to better reflect the significance of the place,” Mr Avery's recommendation said.
“It is proposed the existing permit exemptions are revised to provide clarity around works that can be carried out without the need for a permit application to Heritage Victoria.”
In detailing the case for a stronger classification, Mr Avery said the precinct was historically significant for the strategic role it has played in maritime navigation and rescues since the 1950’s.
“The establishment of maritime navigational aids at Point Lonsdale was key in assisting the safe passage of vessels from Bass Strait into Port Phillip Bay. Safe passage through this stretch of water was important in the development of Melbourne as a major port.
The Point Lonsdale Maritime and Defence Precinct is also historically significant for its role in maritime rescue and its connections to the numerous shipwrecks that have occurred off its coast.”
He said the reserve was also important because of its connections to world wars one and two and through its ties to William Buckley.
“Buckley’s Cave is significant as it is widely believed that William Buckley sheltered here. Buckley was an absconder from the 1803 camp at Sullivan Cove near Sorrento. He is a key figure in early contact between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal people around Port Phillip Bay.”
The recommendation follows a VCH decision earlier this year to add Queenscliff’s Shortland’s Bluff to the Victorian Heritage Register, protecting that headland’s historical assets from inappropriate development.
It means the Borough of Queenscliffe must now seek Heritage Victoria approval before actioning any projects on either site.
Mayor, Bob Merriman welcomed the new controls and said they would not impact current Council plans for the reserve, including the removal of two P1 Defence huts and re-purposing of the remaining two.
“The Borough of Queenscliffe has been working closely with the Victorian Heritage Council to ensure the Point Lonsdale Lighthouse Reserve gets the heritage recognition it deserves. This recommendation is an important milestone that will allow improvements of the site to move forward,” he said