Rocky Hill War Memorial Tower Beacon
Funded by public subscription, the Rocky Hill War Memorial Tower was built in 1924 to 1925 as a tribute to those from Goulburn who served in the First World War. It was designed by Edmund Cooper Manfred (1856-1941), a prominent architect known for designing many of Goulburn’s most significant buildings.
Unveiled by the Governor of NSW Sir Dudley De Chair on 15 December 1925, the tower includes a sandstone and marble honour roll with the names of 1413 people from the Goulburn district who served in the First World War.
In 1936, the memorial’s iconic beacon was installed as an aircraft navigational light. It served this function for nearly twenty years and was praised as one of the best landmarks guiding pilots on the Melbourne-Sydney route.1
The development of electronic navigational aids led to the beacon’s redundancy, and it was decommissioned by the Department of Civil Aviation in 1953. However, the rotating light had become synonymous with the commemorative function of the memorial and the local community lobbied for it to be switched back on, so Goulburn City Council purchased the beacon from the Department in 1956.
The beacon began to fail in the 1990s and recently reached the end of its operational life. With components being difficult to source, Goulburn Mulwaree Council decided to fully restore the light to ensure its ongoing function into the future.
“It was important for us that the restoration works delivered a beacon light that closely resembled the look and operation of the existing light.
We were fortunate to have a copy of the original AGE Airport Lighting Equipment Handbook which included detailed specifications and figures for the beacon. For this project, the rotational speed, the angle and the ‘throw’ of the light were critical pieces of information and were used to inform the brief for our light supplier. The specifications also assisted in the identification of a new motor and the refurbishment of the casing into which the light was fitted.
The most challenging aspect of the project was in obtaining the relevant parts during the chaos of Covid as the light and the motor were sourced internationally.”
— Kerry Ross, Museums Coordinator Goulburn Mulwaree Council
After successfully applying for a Community War Memorials Fund grant, Council embarked on a year-long project with Ainsworth Engineering to re-engineer an identical beacon casing incorporating a new LED aircraft beacon light and a new electric motor. The new LED beacon light, supplied by Power Rail Australia, was installed by K&H Ainsworth Engineering, along with the new motor.
Goulburn Mulwaree Council funded a crane and an electrician to carry out the removal of the original beacon and the installation of the refurbished beacon which took place on 5 July 2022 with the assistance of three teams of contractors.
"Goulburn RSL sub-Branch strongly supports the Memorial Beacon at Rocky Hill War Memorial, Goulburn. It has been a part of the Memorial for many years and recognisable to both local people and visitors as Goulburn."
— Malcolm Ritchie, President, Goulburn RSL sub-Branch
The Community War Memorials Fund provides grants of up to $10,000 to support the repair, protection and conservation of community war memorials across the state. including specialist heritage advice and physical work.
For more information and to apply, click here.
1. ‘Airways Beacon Praised’, Goulburn Evening Penny Post, 2 May 1938, page 1.