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Capes Foundation Unveils New Interpretive Centre at Cape Naturaliste Lighthouse 

By June 10, 2024Capes Foundation

The unveiling of the new interpretive centre, named the “Lightkeepers Cottage,” marks the culmination of a five-year redevelopment project at Cape Naturaliste Lighthouse. Through detailed exhibits and interactive displays, this new centre is designed to immerse visitors in the captivating history of Cape Naturaliste Lighthouse, bringing to life the extraordinary experiences, isolation, and resilience of the lightkeepers and their families who once tended the lighthouse.  

Visitors will gain insight into this historic lighthouse’s remarkable engineering and enduring legacy, which continues to guide maritime traffic after 120 years of service. The centre also highlights the region’s broader historical narrative, including the lighthouse’s significance within local history, the French exploration and mapping in the early 1800s and the 60,000-year custodianship of the Wadandi people. Environmental themes such as weather and whaling have also been explored, offering a comprehensive view of the region’s past and present. 

Initiated in 2017 as part of the Royalties for Regions project, the redevelopment of Cape Naturaliste Lighthouse has been a transformative journey. MRBTA’s Capes Foundation has brought about the adaptive reuse of dormant and underutilised buildings, resulting in critical improvements such as structural renovations to the three keeper cottages and the lighthouse itself, the transformation of a four-bay garage into a multipurpose classroom, upgrades to work sheds and storage spaces, the creation of a universally accessible observation lookout, and extensive landscaping and pathway enhancements. The newly inaugurated interpretive centre, the final phase of this ambitious project, is set to leave a lasting legacy.   

The successful completion of the extensive redevelopment project has been made possible by the collaborative efforts of our various partners. The State Government and the Department of Biodiversity, Conservation and Attractions (DBCA), the South West Development Commission (SWDC), Gibson International, the WA Maritime Museum, families of past lighthouse keepers, Koomal Dreaming’s Josh Whiteland, the Australian Society for Maritime Archaeology (ASMA), researcher Michelle Slarke, Dunsborough Historical Society, and local trades and businesses all played a crucial role in this project.  

Key Features and Exhibits  

Visitors to the interpretive centre can expect an array of engaging features, including:  

  • Audio and visual interactive displays offer personal stories from the children of past keepers. 
  • A bespoke animated film that depicts the dramatic story of the Carnarvon Castle Ship fire and the subsequent survival tales of those who reached Cape Naturaliste. 
  • Historical artifacts and items from the lighthouse’s operational past are displayed.
  • Informational story boards provide context and details about the lighthouse and its past care takers. 

MRBTA Members

Did you know that members of MRBTA have access to 2x complimentary tickets to each of the Capes Foundation attractions per year? The intention of these tickets is to allow your staff to attend to help grow their regional knowledge. To book, please contact 08 9780 5911/[email protected] and mention your business name.