In architecture a corbel serves a decorative as well as structural function as a solid piece of stone, wood or metal that is built into a wall and juts out like a bracket to carry a weight. The smoothly shaped corbel was formerly built into the external wall of the lighthouse facing the sea. It consists of two cupped, rounded forms, one bigger than the other, which are attached to a damaged flat base. Made of cast concrete, it is the same fabric as the lighthouse and shows evidence of white paint on its surface. An early architectural drawing of the tower shows the corbel as a projecting, decorative moulding underpinning the balcony floor associated with the auxiliary light. It indicates the original corbel was a much larger architectural feature which started as a solid rectangular block and terminated with a smaller block and then two tapering, rounded forms. Prepared in mid-1888, the architectural drawings for the lighthouse by Victorian Public Works Department architect, Frederick Hynes, were amended in 1888-89 to provide for an auxiliary light, which comprised an arched opening and door in the tower wall below the lantern room and small balcony. In the late nineteenth century all of Victoria’s lightstations installed a red auxiliary light to serve as a danger warning to mariners sailing too close to shoare. Existing lightstations, like Cape Otway, built a pavilion below their lighthouse facing out to sea, but newly constructed towers like Point Hicks and Split Point incorporated them into their designs. The efficacy of auxiliary lights became a controversial issue and all were discontinued on 1 January 1913. The Point Hicks balcony was removed from the face of the tower in 1971 after it was found to be badly rusted. This resulted in the complete removal of the corbel, from which the rounded moulding and part of the base survives. The auxiliary light and door were subsequently removed in 1975 and glass blocks now fill the opening. Cape Schanck Lightstation retains four cast iron brackets from its auxiliary light balcony which are currently stored in the lighthouse on the ground floor. No other architectural fabric associated with the auxiliary light has been identified at Point Hicks Lightstation.
The fragment of corbel has first level contributory significance for its historic and architectural values as a relic of the auxiliary light and as an original moulding from the fabric of Victoria’s first concrete lighthouse.
A masonary corbel.