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New life for Capes’ lighthouse cottages

Declan BushAugusta Margaret River Times
Cape Leeuwin Lighthouse caretaker Paul Sofilas at his old Keeper's Cottage, which will become an interperative centre.
Camera IconCape Leeuwin Lighthouse caretaker Paul Sofilas at his old Keeper's Cottage, which will become an interperative centre. Credit: Declan Bush

Works are under way to turn the Capes’ historic lighthouse cottages into interpretative centres to attract more visitors.

Renovations at the Cape Leeuwin Lighthouse are removing remaining asbestos from the heritage cottages, landscaping the area to better reflect its past and providing an indoor space for education groups.

At Cape Naturaliste, cottage 1 will become an office selling souvenirs, while the second cottage will be an interpretative centre and the third a cafe with decking.

A playground next to Cottage 3 would use salvaged jetty timbers, while the lighthouse would get a viewing platform, audio tours, a lighthouse keeper’s cottage vegetable garden and signage.

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Margaret River-Busselton Tourism Association chief executive Pip Close said Augusta’s Cottage 2 would became “a state-of-the-art interpretative centre to tell the many stories of the lighthouse, its precinct, the lives of those who operated it”.

She said Cottage 1 would be remodelled with Heritage Council approval to give a better visitor experience.

“Visitors will have an interactive and engaging experience that draws on technology as well as traditional interpretation methods. Work is under way to research those stories,” she said.

Cape Leeuwin Lighthouse caretaker Paul Sofilas used to live in the cottage and said he was “stoked” at the renovations, which he said would make the area more appealing for visitors.

“It’ll be world class and it adds to Augusta,” he said.

The $2 million renovations were funded from $1.5 million in Royalties for Regions and $500,000 from the MRBTA.

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