A small piece of Disney Magic
If you’ve ever dreamed of the life of a lighthouse-keeper, why not discover the historic Grotto Point Lighthouse and imagine what it’s been like to live and work there? This active beacon, located on a rocky headland near Dobroyd Head, lights the way across the scenic northern waters of Sydney Harbour National Park, near Manly Due to its cuteness, it is often referred to by locals as the ‘Disney Castle’.
The distinct design were supposedly created by Maurice Festu in 1910. But Maurice Festu was actually a master mariner, not an architect. Captain Festu did not design the lighthouses at Grotto Point and Parriwi Point, and nor did he design the two lighthouses at Vaucluse Bay, which were erected in 1884, when Festu was still a teenager living in Belfast
And even if Captain Festu was capable of designing a lighthouse, there is no way the Sydney Harbour Trust, which oversaw navigation on the harbour at the time, would have let him have anything to do with lighthouse design following a very public debate between Festu and the Trust in the pages of the metropolitan newspapers.
In essence, Captain Festu considered the commissioners of the Trust inept and the editors of Sydney’s newspapers agreed with him.
For many seamen, Captain Festu’s greatest efforts on their behalf were conducted in Geneva, Switzerland, in 1929, when he represented Australian seamen at the International Maritime Conference and pushed for better pay and conditions for seamen around the world.
The lighthouse is Aaccessed along a short track, off Manly Scenic Walkway, a well-marked path leads through a stand of smooth pink-barked angophoras. In spring, these iconic trees of the Sydney sandstone shed their bark to reveal a new orange layer. Remember to take your binoculars if you want to birdwatch.
If you are taking the Lighthouse track, follow it all the way to the end, and return the same way. The track goes to the lighthouse gate. There is a small rock ledge to the left that gives expansive harbour views. It’s difficult to get a good photo of the lighthouse, being so close, but the harbour view is worth the side trip if you have energy.
IMAGE CREDIT: Daily Telegraph