Friday, January 02, 2009
ROMAN ROCK LIGHTHOUSE - Simon's Town
Roman Rock Lighthouse is built on an island rock at the entrance to the Naval harbour of Simonstown in False Bay. This is the only South African Lighthouse to be erected on a rock which is only exposed at low tide. The lighthouse took 4 years to build, the weather conditions were difficult and there were engineering problems when the expansion of the concrete caused cracks in the ground tier of plates. A granite wall was built around the base, the concrete removed and replaced with rubble masonry of granite in Portland cement. The tower is still in operation today.
Roman Rock lighthouse consists of a 17 metre circular cast iron tower and is painted white.
Originally two lighthouse keepers were employed here with a relief crew ashore, the living conditions were cramped and primitive. Sea conditions needed to be calm in order to safely land at the lighthouse.
When acetylene gas flashing apparatus was installed at Roman Rock in 1919 the lighthouse became automatic and no longer required a lighthouse keeper. Nowadays access to the lighthouse has become even more innovative with the construction of an aluminium helipad.