Historical information

The cabinet has a curved back and would have been custom‐built to fit the dimensions of the lantern room interior. It is likely to date from when the lighthouse was built in 1884 and may have been among the items delivered by the government steamer dispatch early in March which included ‘the lantern and other fittings for the Cape Nelson Lighthouse’. The Public Works Department provided a range of lightstation furnishings including office desks and cabinets, and domestic settings for keepers’ quarters, with nineteenth century items often stamped with a crown motif and the PWD monogram however the curved cupboards installed in Victoria’s lighthouse lantern rooms do not appear to display this small feature. Further research may reveal more about their manufacture and it is tempting to think that they were perhaps even supplied by Chance Bros as part of the entire lantern room installation. The company usually provided the timber battens for the lantern room paneling, and a cabinet may have been included in the assemblage. Another possibility is that the specially designed cabinet was made on site by carpenters along with other fittings. It is not known whether it is attached to the wall or movable; if attached it is considered to be a fixture and included in the Victorian Heritage Register listing for the lightstation (VHR H1773). Its location, when identified in the CMP of April 1995, was on the ‘lower lantern level’, where there was also a ‘timber step ladder’ (Argus, 6 March 1884, p6. nineteenth or early twentieth century), ‘timber framed lighthouse specification’, ‘timber framed chart’ and telephone .Residue on the furnishing indicates that it was formerly painted green, the colour of some of the other fixtures in the room, such as the original cast iron ladder. It is now partially varnished and the corner to the top’s edging on the right side has been cut off. The lighthouse also has a large curved back, two‐door cupboard. Other similar cabinets with curved backs survive at Cape Schanck, varnished wood cabinet with brass door knob, no drawers; Point Hicks, painted green with silver doors, no drawers and Gabo Island, bench top, 2‐door, no drawers, green paint removed to reveal cedar timber). Cape Nelson’s curved cabinet is unique among these examples for having drawers.


The cabinet is a unique, original feature of the lantern room and has first level contributory significance for its historic values and provenance.

Physical description

The bench top cupboard has two drawers, each above a door, and each door is framed and beveled around a central panel. The cabinet has a curved back.