Maatsuyker Island

Maatsuyker Island with Needle Rocks in foreground

Maatsuyker Island with Needle Rocks in foreground. ©Robyn Mundy

Maatsuyker Island, commonly pronounced Matsyker in Australia, was named in 1642 by Abel Janszoon Tasman, the first European known to reach Van Diemen’s Land—now Australia’s island state of Tasmania.

Maatsuyker lies 10 kilometres off Tasmania’s southern coast and is part of the Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area. The island has a rich Aboriginal and European history and is home to Australia’s southernmost lighthouse.

Opening of Maatsuyker Island Lighthouse, June 1891. Photo reference NS1013/1/277, published with permission of the Tasmanian Archive and Heritage Office

Opening of Maatsuyker Island Lighthouse, June 1891. Photo reference NS1013/1/277, published with permission of the Tasmanian Archive and Heritage Office.

Maatsuyker Island Light Station opened in 1891. The lighthouse is fitted with a Chance Brothers first order dioptric lens set on brass rollers—the only mechanism of its kind in Australia still in working order. Maatsuyker was the last Australian light to be decommissioned following installation of an automated light in 1996. While the grand old lighthouse still stands,  its structure is being ravaged by weather that gives the Roaring Forties its title. If you wish to learn more about Maatsuyker Island, and the valiant efforts to save the lighthouse, please visit http://www.facebook.com/groups/FriendsOfMaatsuykerIsland or email: wildcaremaatsuyker@gmail.com

Maatsuyker Island Lighthouse. The structure has suffered further deterioration since this photo was taken in 2010. ©Robyn Mundy

Maatsuyker Island Lighthouse. The structure has suffered further deterioration since this photo was taken in 2010. ©Robyn Mundy