A Timeline of South Solitary Island
1856 - desirability of lighthouse discussed by Governments of New South Wales, Victoria, South Australia and Tasmania.
1863 - Legislative Council recommended that provision should be made on the estimates for the erection of a lighthouse.
1873 - a conference of the marine departments of the Australian colonies was held at the Marine Board Office, Sydney, to discuss the question of lighthouses generally.
31st October 1877 - the Marine Board, accompanied by the Colonial Architect, Mr James Barnet proceeded to the Island to select the sites for the buildings.
17th June 1878 - Plans and specifications were prepared by the Colonial Architect and approved by the Minister and tenders called for.
9th July 1878 - After the tender was accepted, Mr McLeod and his partners, despatched their first steamer the James Comrie to the island.
1878 - first gantry (jetty) constructed, 5 metres above sea level.
1878 - Horse Tramway and temporary barracks for men constructed.
1879-1880 - Jetty storehouse constructed.
1st March 1880 - first Head Keeper appointed - Captain Leddra at a salary of £180 per annum. His two assistants were Mr Skelton (£108 p.a.) and Mr Burgess (£96 p.a.)
18th March 1880 - Light first exhibited.
1887 - George Dammerel appointed Signal Master at Emerald Beach on the mainland (now Dammerel's Headland)
5th April 1888 - George Dammerel's young son, George Jnr, aged 10 dies.
1894 - Buildings re-roofed by George Boothby.
1894 - New washhouses constructed near the fowl house.
10 Nov 1894 - George Dammerel's wife, Sarah dies in childbirth (the child stillborn)
1st March 1900 - George Dammerel's eldest daughter, Hannah marries.
12th November 1901 - Steamer, Wyong, is wrecked on the island after losing its propellor and becoming unmanageable.
15th January 1902 - Keeper, William Henry Williams appointed.
1904 - A larger Gantry (jetty) was constructed after first gantry was destroyed.
25th April 1905 - George Dammerel's second eldest daughter, Matilda marries.
1910 - Flagstaff erected on the island.
1st March 1910 - Keeper, David Robert William Gow appointed.
18th Sept. 1912 - George Dammerel's third daughter (fourth child), Maud marries.
21st November 1912 - Lydia Gow aged 17 years, eldest daughter of the head keeper, Mr D Gow, dies on the island from Typhoid/Enteric Fever
1913, 1914, 1915 - Jetty further reconstructed and repaired.
1918 - Signal Station closes down (note: various dates of closure are recorded)
1930 to 1935 - Keeper - Wilfred Reginal Tulk
25th May 1930 to 13th May 1932 - Keeper - Henry Thomas Parker
1932 - Jetty further reconstructed and repaired.
1937 - Wireless communication started via Morse Code Keys.
May 1942 - Light extinguished for a few nights during World War II
1946 - Harry Fanning commenced operating a launch service from Coffs Harbour.
1947 to 1951 - Keeper - Jim Duncan
January 1958 - First known helicopter lands on the island.
1959 - Jetty built, 13 metres above sea level.
1960's - Partial enclosure of verandahs on cottages for weather proofing.
1974 - Flag pole removed and a helipad was constructed.
22nd August 1975 - Lighthouse automated
29th December 1975 - All residents leave, buildings left to the birds and nature.
7th Sept. 1977 - RAAF Chinook removed the old lantern to the Regional Museum.
1985 - Lighthouse becomes solar powered.
2000 - handed over to National Parks and Wildlife as custodians.
31st May to 17th August 2004 - Stabilisations works are completed.
31st March 2009 - storm damage to the Regional Museum forces closure of the museum and no public access to the lantern.
September 2014 - new Regional Museum opens at 215 Harbour Drive Coffs Harbour, with collection of South Solitary Island artefacts and relics. No access to the original lighthouse lantern.