Historic Lightstations, Forts and Mansion to get a new lease on life

Parks Victoria

Plans to ensure the future of some of Victoria’s most significant heritage sites are underway.

Parks Victoria has started planning for repairs at the Werribee Mansion, the lightstations at Cape Otway, Wilsons Promontory and Cape Schanck, the lighthouse at Point Hicks and the historic forts at Point Nepean through the Heritage Icons program

The Victorian Government’s $16.5 million investment in these works will help Parks Victoria continue to manage the largest and most diverse collection of historic heritage places on public land in the state. Including buildings, infrastructure, significant trees, objects, archaeological sites, and shipwrecks.

Parks Victoria’s Director of Community Programs, Tony Varcoe, highlights the importance of the conservation program – “these significant and iconic heritage places have endured years of wear and tear, heat and storms. These works will ensure they remain standing for many years to come and enable the community to visit and learn about Victoria’s rich history.”

In western Melbourne, the ageing Welsh Slate roof of the Werribee Park Mansion will be repaired to safeguard the heritage-listed building and its contents from leaks or weather events. Parts of the mansion’s stonework, which have felt the effects of time, and the clock tower’s glass face will also be restored.

Further west, Parks Victoria are providing funding to assist the Great Ocean Road Coast and Parks Authority to undertake repairs to the Cape Otway Lightstation – the oldest surviving lighthouse on the Australian mainland.

Across to the east of the state, Point Hicks Lighthouse will also benefit from major conservation works. The light tower, which has safely steered ships to land since 1890, will receive repairs to stop the structure deteriorating.

Down south at Mornington Peninsula National Park, the Cape Schanck Lightstation cottage, home to lightkeeper’s families since 1859, will undergo maintenance to help reopen areas currently closed to the public.

The fortifications at Point Nepean, a series of structures that protected Melbourne during World War I and II, will also receive major structural repairs to keep them safe and accessible to the community. These works aim to reopen several sites that are currently closed – ensuring the public can continue to visit and learn from this special place.

At the southernmost tip of mainland Australia, the Wilsons Promontory Lightstation will be upgraded to keep the 1859 built structure a special place for all to visit.

What’s next for these projects?

Heritage architects will soon be appointed to undertake the complex assessments required for the works. They will collaborate with Parks Victoria to provide guidance on how projects are delivered and will work with Heritage Victoria to understand any heritage approvals prior to works taking place.

Construction across the sites is expected to start in late 2024 and is forecast for completion in 2026. The works will boost the local economy over the coming years by creating jobs in specialist trades and ensuring these sites can continue to be visited by local and international tourists.

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