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Discover the Mornington Peninsula with Us
Cape Schanck is the southern most point on the Mornington Peninsula. It separates the wild ocean waters of Bass Straight and the slightly calmer waters of Western Port.
Cape Schanck was named after Lt John Schanck of the Royal Navy. Lt Schanck fame was due to the design of the raised keel used on naval vessels that allow shallow water navigation.
Until the 1970's, the Cape Schanck area suffered from over use by way of unrestricted vehicle and foot access that engendered erosion. When the former National Parks Service began to manage the area as part of the Cape Schanck Coastal Park the facilities were inadequate. Now the park is managed by Parks Victoria as part of the Mornington Peninsula National Park. The main attractions are the lighthouse, the boardwalk to the rock platform and the magnificent ocean views.
Since the early 1980's the Victorian Government has provided funds to aid in the protection and revegetation of the area. Eroded gullies have been filled, bare areas have been thatched and revegetated with local plants, and timber steps and boardwalks have been built to improve access to the beach and rock platform.
In December 1988, the area became part of the National Park.
Visitors are asked to aid in the regeneration of the area by keeping to paths and tracks to minimise damage to the fragile coastal vegetation which has to battle against strong winds, soil erosion and salt spray.
Cape Schanck is on the southern tip of the Mornington Peninsula. The Lighthouse is part of a triangle of Bass Strait lights, the other two being Cape Otway and Cape Wickham.
The tower was built in 1859 from limestone and painted white. It is the second coastal light established in Victoria.
It is considered by the Australian Maritime Safety Authority to be the most original lighthouse under its jurisdiction.
An unusual feature of this lighthouse is its stone stairway rather than the usual wrought iron.
The present apparatus, installed in 1915 is a first order Chance Brothers lens. Upgrades of this lantern were carried out in 1907, 1917 and 1940.
The original clockwork mechanism is still in place, though the light is now turned by an electric motor.
The lighthouse was renovated from the late 1970s to the early 1980s. Work included the refurbishment of the lantern.
There is an excellent Museum in the old Assistant Lightkeepers Quarters.