After almost 122 years the light at Eddystone Point in Northeast Tasmania was switched off in February, replaced by a balcony mounted plastic beacon.
Two main issues were used to justify the downgrading - custodians of the site, the Aboriginal Lands Council were concerned that short-tailed shearwaters (mutton-birds) were striking the light, and if opened for guided tours. The lense which sits on a bed of mercury presents a health issue. (though other lights with mercury troughs have operated tours for many years).
Eddystone was one of six remaining lighthouses in Australia still operating on mercury troughs - Cape Byron, Cape Leeuwin, Cape Naturaliste, Rottnest Island, & Cape Schanck.
The role of the lights as main navigational aids is diminishing and in some cases gone, but just wait till we have an electro-magnetic pulse which wipes out all navigation aids, or Patrick Tilley’s Fadeout scenario comes true, then we’ll wish for a candle!