Hellsgate Lighthouse, Tasmania by Nick Elliott

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Hellsgate Lighthouse, situated near the small town of Strahan on the west coast of Tasmania. This photo was taken in the fading evening light at the end of a day long boat trip exploring the Gordon River area & Sarah’s Island, a former penal colony. This lighthouse is built on Entrance Island and is the most photographed lighthouse in Tasmania.

Hell's Gates in Strahan is an intimidating sight. The Gates signal the entrance to one of Australia's most dangerous harbours - the Macquarie Harbour in Strahan on the rugged and wild west coast. The entrance name dates back to the early 1800's. The first convicts who arrived and who were imprisoned in the Macquarie Harbour Penal Settlement on nearby Sarah's Island named it. They described their arrival through the entrance as the "entrance to hell". The dangerous conditions caused by the "Roaring 40s" also contribute to the title. The Roaring 40s are strong westerly winds found in the Southern Hemisphere at latitudes of 40 and 50 degrees south. Strahan's Macquarie Harbour is the second-largest natural harbour in Australia after Port Phillip Bay in Victoria and is six times the size of Sydney Harbour.

Macquarie Harbour was discovered in 1815 and within a year, the Huon Pine timber cutters arrived. Navigation of the channel was a huge shipping and boating hazard and a signal station was installed at nearby Cape Sorell in 1822. The signal station was manned by convicts and is the second highest lighthouse in the Southern Hemisphere, also, two six-sided wooden lighthouses were erected - one on each of the headlands: Macquarie Heads and Entrance Island.

On the day of my trip I was very lucky that the “Roaring 40’s” were very quiet and the evening light showed off the island to great effect.

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