Split Point Lighthouse: A man walks into a pub

Split Point Lighthouse on the Great Ocean Road Australia for Travel Blog Brads Backpack

You are sure to come across the Split Point Lighthouse when you explore the Great Ocean Road, and you might take a photo and drive on. But this lighthouse has an incredible story of one man and his beer. I didn’t explore this lighthouse myself as my tour didn’t stop there. But our tour guide delighted in regaling the story to us as we sat on the sand.

A man walks into a pub

Like the best places to visit, there’s a real story behind Split Point lighthouse. It was hearing stories that really brought alive my trip along the Great Ocean Road. The story goes that a keeper named Richard Baker applied for the job, and luckily for him, he was accepted. It was easy money for easy work. Unfortunately, he got told he couldn’t go to the pub on a Friday night with his mates. He would be required to man the lighthouse and make sure the light didn’t go off. 

Naturally, this didn’t sit well with him. Instead of accepting this is what he signed up for, he decided he was going to do something about it. He took a bit of metal and scraped away a small square of white paint on the back wall of the lighthouse. This lined up with the next to his favourite seat in his local pun. That way a small beam of light would flash through when Split Point Lighthouse was running. Richard could keep an eye on it all whilst enjoying a cold beer from his table. Unfortunately for Richard, his bosses weren’t so keen on the idea. Paying him to sit in a pub all evening didn’t appeal to them, and he was promptly fired when they discovered what he had done. Luckily during his short term, there were no accidents.

The History of Split Point Lighthouse

This lighthouse’s light first shone in 1891 and ever since it has remained critical in guiding ships to safety. Its original name was Eagle Nest Point, but it got renamed Split Point in 1913.  Personally, I preferred the original name however I’m over 100 years too late for my opinion to be relevant on that. Today though locals have affectionately given it the nickname “The White Queen” due to its white paint and crown-like top. This lighthouse has been unmanned since 1919 when it was taken over by the Commonwealth Government and has been through numerous changes in its lifetime. When it first started it used vapourised kerosene, and when it was automated it was also updated to acetylene. It wasn’t until 1972 it was converted to main electricity. 

Split Point Lighthouse Tours

In the past, only the lucky few were able to visit. However, since 2005, the lighthouse is now open to the general public for tours between 10 am to 4 pm. Access to the public grounds is free but to go inside you need tickets. You can no longer go to the very top anymore but you still can get some amazing views.

I didn’t explore Split Point Lighthouse directly, but was told the story as I passed on my tour of the Great Ocean Road. If you want to book your own tour of the Great Ocean Road, you can do so using the Get Your Guide link below. By purchasing through this link you will not be charged any extra but I may receive a commission which helps support the blog.

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