HistoryLite

For amateur historians and trivia collectors everywhere

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Location: Masterton, New Zealand

I survived school history despite the best efforts of the education system to bore me to death. Many years later, I discovered Treaties, dates, the movement of nations, are mere context. The fascination is in the details.

Thursday, January 12, 2006


This day in 1913 saw the first beam of light shine from Castlepoint lighthouse on the east coast of New Zealand's North Island. It has become one of the most photographed icons of the region and every visitor goes home with this shot.

The tower was made of cast-iron in Wellington, shipped to the site as pre-fabricated hoops and re-assembled. The light stands 52m above sea level and can be seen up to 26 nautical miles away. Yesterday's mystery photo showed part of the French-made fresnel lens that magnifies the light source.

Fully automated in 1988, Castlepoint light was threatened with downgrading to a less powerful flashing beacon five years ago. The local community was rightfully outraged and persuaded the Maritime Safety Authority to abandon the plan.

Visit composer Peter de Vocht's site, where you can see more photos and listen to mp3 files of his Castlepoint Symphony, or, if you're a Lighthouse groupie (they do exist) check out www.ihdigest.com

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