The beacon atop the Rocky Hill War Memorial will once again shine over the Goulburn district, following a year-long project to refurbish the light.
A crane loomed over the Memorial early on Tuesday morning as the new LED beacon light was installed at the top of the tower, with the original beacon removed to be placed into storage as a long-serving Memorial artefact.
The iconic structure’s rotating light has swept over the city since its installation on the Memorial in 1936 as an aircraft navigational aid.
Goulburn Mulwaree Council’s Museums Coordinator Kerry Ross has uncovered correspondence showing the Council purchased the light from the Commonwealth Department of Aviation in 1956, after electronic navigational aids led to its redundancy.
“By the mid-fifties the beacon had become synonymous with the commemorative function of the Memorial,” Mrs Ross said.
“When it was decommissioned by the Department, local community members and organisations lobbied for it to be switched back on. It continues to be an important community landmark to this day.”
Restoration works on the beacon were first undertaken in the 1990s when the motor failed. An identical beacon was located in Victoria and transported to Goulburn, where the motor was removed and placed into the existing beacon. The casing of the second beacon was stored offsite.
More recently the original beacon finally reached its end of life with the light bulbs no longer manufactured and spare parts increasingly rare.
The second beacon casing underwent a major transformation in the past year, jointly funded by a $10,000 grant from the NSW Department of Veterans’ Affairs Community War Memorial Fund, and Goulburn Mulwaree Council.
Member for Goulburn Wendy Tuckerman said Rocky Hill’s beacon is significant to the the Goulburn region and its revival is momentous.
“The beacon is a symbol which honours the ultimate sacrifce and the contributions of our region’s veterans,” Mrs Tuckerman said.
“I am thrilled that the NSW Government could support Goulburn Mulwaree Council with funding for this important project and keep the Rocky Hill War Memorial’s light shining proudly over the city.”
The new LED beacon light, supplied by Power Rail Australia, was installed by K & H Ainsworth Engineering, along with a brand new motor. K & H Ainsworth Engineering, Hollingworth Cranes and JDY Electrical worked together to install the refurbished beacon on Tuesday morning.
Goulburn Mulwaree Mayor Cr Peter Walker said the beacon’s return to the Memorial, which opened in 1925 to commemorate the First World War, would be warmly welcomed by the city’s residents.
“For years, residents driving back towards Goulburn at night have looked for the beacon shining across the sky,” Cr Walker said.
“The beacon is as much a part of the Memorial as the stones it is constructed from, and I have had many residents ask me when it would return.
“We are very grateful to the NSW Government for the funding for this new beacon.”