The ruling means the entire area, not just the lighthouse itself - as has been the case up until now - is deemed to be of significance for its maritime, defence and cultural role in the state’s history.
All buildings, ruins, archeological features, roads, trees and landscape elements will be covered.
The decision formalises a Heritage Victoria recommendation made in September and takes the reserve a step closer to gaining National Heritage Listing.
“The proposed changes in this amendment will ensure that other significant buildings and features are included in the registration,” said Heritage Victoria Executive Director Steven Avery. “It will also includes land to protect the cultural heritage significance of the place.”
The reserve was deemed historically significant for the strategic role it has played in maritime navigation and rescue dating back to the 1850s, for its associations with national defence including both World Wars and for cultural reasons including as the location of Buckley’s cave.
Under the ruling, no works can be carried out on the reserve without prior approval.
It is unclear what it means for a current Queenscliffe Council plan to demolish three of the four remaining World War II (P1) huts on the reserve. Under that proposal, unanimously endorsed by Councillors in January in contradiction to the recommendations of its own community reference group, only the MacDonald hut would be retained and restored as an interpretive building.
Without clarifying the impact, Borough CEO Martin Gill welcomed the ruling: “The Borough of Queenscliffe is delighted by the announcement of expanded heritage protections for the Point Lonsdale Lighthouse Reserve. In fact, Council was actively encouraging residents to support the proposal on its website and in mayor’s columns,” he said.
“This expanded listing not only ensures this much-loved location gets the protection it deserves, but ties in closely with Council’s plans to clean up and improve the existing site.
“We are also actively seeking the view of the Waddawurrung to recognise and acknowledge the Indigenous heritage on the site. The expanded protections provide a strong base for partnership with the Victorian Government to protect and enhance the site.”
“Improvement plans are currently making their way through the relevant approval processes. We hope to have more news to share with the community soon,” said Mr Gill.
The State Government has contributed $500,000 and the Borough of Queenscliffe $100,000 towards the $600,000 cost of the reserve masterplan, which also includes new pathways, improvements to the lighthouse surrounds and a ship viewing platform.
The reserve has been placed on a priority assessment list for inclusion on the National Heritage List.