The life of the lighthouse keeper of old could be a tough and lonely existence. The first lighthouse was built by the ancient Egyptians in 290BC, and used a giant mirror to magnify light from a constantly burning fire to guide ships to the entrance to Alexandria harbour.
Fast-forward to the 17th century when maritime trade boomed and so did lighthouse construction. Thousands were built around the world. There are an estimated 50,000 lighthouses in the world today.
Two of those remaining lighthouses are now much-loved attractions in the Margaret River Region – Cape Leeuwin Lighthouse and Cape Naturaliste Lighthouse.
Situated at the most south-westerly point of Australia, Cape Leeuwin lighthouse, built in 1895, is the tallest on mainland Australia and is at the point where the Indian Ocean meets the Southern Ocean.
Paul Sofilas is the site manager at Cape Leeuwin, and lives and works at the lighthouse site. He’s a full bottle on the history of the building, the day to day operations, and the people who visit daily from around the world.