Point Malcolm Lighthouse Drive

Friday, Jan 20, 2017 at 20:30

Stephen L (Clare) SA

Perched on a small cliff on the eastern side of the Narrows and overlooking Lake Alexandrina is a very unique lighthouse for Australia and the Southern Hemisphere.

The Point Malcolm Lighthouse is South Australia’s smallest Lighthouse at just seven metres tall and Australians and the Southern Hemispheres only inland freshwater lighthouse. For more than 50 years, the flashing light from this lighthouse guided Paddle Steamers safely through Lake Alexandrina on their way to Lake Albert and the ports on the Murray River.

With a perfect weekend temperate in early December of around 24°, we decided to head down to the Upper Coorong to view this piece of Australian history that now sits as a reminders of its past glory.

We were up early and headed down through Murray Bridge where we stopped for our morning smoko on the banks of the fast flowing Murray.

The floodwaters had made its way down this far and the colour of the water was a very dark brown/black colour. The peak was still weeks away and by late December the levels were expected to quickly drop back to normal pool levels. Crossing over the old Bridge, we made out way to Tailem Bend and further south before turning off on the road signposted to Narrung.

Just before the ferry crossing at the Narrows, is a small car park and a cleared track that leads up to the lighthouse. The cliff top where the lighthouse is located does not appear that tall, but offers great views overlooking the vast expanse of water that is known as Lake Alexandrina.

The old light keepers cottage that for decades was slowly decaying away has now been restored and looks like it will last for another 100 years. Many visitors to the lighthouse may be unaware, but there is a small cave cut into the cliff where produce was stored and transport in the days of the steamers. Directly above the back of the cave, a small hole was cut through the limestone where a hoist was used to haul goods to the top of the small cliff.

After a good look around the site, it was time to take the small trip across The Narrows on the Murray Ferry “Dotterel”. Every South Australian River Murray is know by a unique Murray Bird, so next time you take a trip on a Murray ferry, take notice of its name.

The small town of Narrung is located across the other side and if anyone is looking for a great free camp, right on the banks of Lake Alexandrina and overlooking the Point Malcolm Lighthouse, then this is the spot for you with lawns and toilet block, with the added bonus of fires being permitted when out of the Fire Danger Season.

From Narrung it is only a short drive to the small Aboriginal Community of Raukkan, which was the home of the famous Aboriginal James Unaipon and his son David. James Unaipon was the first Australian Aboriginal deacon and co-authored writings on the Ngarrindjeri language and David was a writer and inventor, who along with the Raukkan Church, is featured on the Australian fifty-dollar note.

Rather than back tracking the way that we had come in from the main highway, we took the interesting drive around Lake Albert to Meningie, a small town that sits on the shore of the vast body of water of Lake Albert. One very special feature for the town is the large hand crafted old pine tree into a giant pelican by Ants Redgum in August 2015.

Before leaving the town, we headed to one of the highest points in the town, the local lookout that give great views over the district.

North of Meningie on the main highway you pass a large pink lake, which is also a local tourist attraction. We then headed through to Wellington and again crossed over the Murray and proceeded to Milang, which also sits on the banks of Lake Alexandrina.

Like many towns in the area, they are steeped in local history and today offer visitors many great options of what to do and water activities are very high on the list. From here we travelled through the many great little towns in the Adelaide Hills, slowly making our way back to Clare.

Stephen Langman

January 2017
Smile like a Crocodile
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