The historic Nobbys Lighthouse has been an icon of Newcastle since its establishment in 1858. Its headland, which has history and lore surrounding it stretching back to the Dreamtime, offers incredible 360˚ views of Newcastle, Stockton, the Hunter River, and beyond.

Source: Hunter Living Stories


Nobbys Island, or Whybagarba, was significant to the local aboriginal people of Mulubinba (place of sea fern or what is known today as Newcastle) and had been known to them for several thousand years before arrival of the Europeans. The first European discovery was in 1770 by Captain James Cook, but it was Lt. John Shortland who discovered coal in the area and viewed the region as having any significance. He called the island the “Nob”, which is where the name Nobbys originates from.

Source: Hunter Living Stories

Nobbys used to be an island and was twice as tall. It caused a problem for early sailors visiting Newcastle as ships entering the Port would lose wind in their sails as they passed he tall rocky outcrop. In 1855 convict labour was used to physically reduce the size of Nobbys by 27.5 metres. The demolished rock was used as part of the construction of the Nobbys Breakwater. Nobbys was joined to the mainland by the breakwater and Macquarie pier in 1846.

Source: Hunter Living Stories

Due to its prominent position at the entrance of the port, Nobbys was chosen as the site for the third lighthouse built in New South Wales. Building was completed in 1857 and the lighthouse was first lit on 1st January 1858. At that time, the light burnt China Tea Oil, and was then later replaced by a fixed, incandescent kerosene vapour lamp. In 1935 the light was electrified and automated. The current light source is a 120 volt 1,000-watt, quartz halogen lamp and the power source is mains electricity. 


Nobbys Lighthouse sits high on Nobbys Headland guarding the entrance to Newcastle Harbour. It has been an active lighthouse for over 150 years and continues to safely direct ships in and out of Newcastle harbour. The site is an iconic landmark at a well-loved location in Newcastle. The Macquarie Pier joining Nobbys to the mainland and the breakwall extending past Nobbys Lighthouse, forms a popular exercise track while Nobbys Beach is a popular swimming destination in summer.

The Nobbys Lighthouse site is currently closed for general repairs and maintenance. The works are being carried out by the Australian Maritime Safety Authority and include a full repaint of the Lighthouse and Signal Station and are expected to be complete by April 2018. The Lighthouse grounds are normally open every Sunday from 10am to 4pm and entry to the site is free. Parking is located adjacent to Nobbys Beach at Camp Shortland. The lighthouse is an 800-metre walk from the car park, with a steep climb at the end. There is a small kiosk on site serving tea, coffee and cold drinks. Visitors are welcome to pack their own supplies and make the most of the beautiful 360-degree views.

The current lease holder, Newcastle Now, cares for the site to ensure it is open to the public every Sunday of the year. A proud and dedicated team of volunteers works hard to welcome visitors, they love to share their knowledge of the city and its surrounds with tourists. Newcastle Now, is undertaking an ambitious plan to raise funds to support the development of the site, ultimately delivering a unique tourism venue to serve the local community and visitors to the region.

Source: Webber Architects


Newcastle Now worked with key partners to prepare a Development Application (DA) to renovate the Nobbys Lighthouse site. The DA proposed a variety of uses and activities for the existing cottages and structures, with all future building works to have been undertaken under heritage requirements and recommendations.

Plans to renovate the site are on indefinite hold.

Source: Webber Architects

Cottage 1 will host a range of activities, including a gallery space, local museum and adaptable multipurpose spaces for events, functions or corporate hire, as well as a viewing deck south-west of the cottage. Cottage 2 is proposed to be a cafe with general public access and seating, with a viewing deck south-east of the cottage providing ramp and stair access to the adjacent open grassed area. Cottage 3 will then become a higher level restaurant that will aim to showcase the iconic Nobbys character and location.

Source: Webber Architects

A new single story building will be constructed between cottages 2 and 3, containing a kitchen, dry store and cool room to service both cafe and restaurant, as well as new toilets. The proposal also includes a new viewing deck to the north of the lighthouse, a children’s playground, a fitness station for general public use, and forecourt and landscape works to improve visual appearance and aesthetics.

Source: Webber Architects

Once the Development Application presented by Newcastle Now is approved, further community and corporate contributions will be needed to allow Newcastle Now to move ahead and make Nobbys Lighthouse Newcastle’s premier tourism venue. An exciting crowdfunding campaign will be launched in the near future to assist and encourage members of the community to get on board. If you are interested in the progress of the DA and subsequent crowdfunding campaign, please register your interest by subscribing to our email updates.



Nobbys Beach, Newcastle

New South Wales, Australia


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