Tales from the lighthouseJune 27, 2014

If Stephen King were alive during the nineteenth century, he might have been inspired to write a novel on Bustard Head lightstation. It wouldn't be a tale of greed and vengeance, which "The Fog" was all about. But the lighthouse was where the climax took place, a chilling experience that wasn't due to fear of heights. Located in Eurimbula National Park, Queensland, the Bustard Head lightstation stands out. From a bird's eye view, the structure looks gorgeous amidst a verdant headland. The area is eye candy on a clear day, majestic when dusk sets in. Who would have thought that it had a sinister past.

Bustard Head Light, which was first lit on June 29, 1868, was stained with blood. The place could be cursed, but locals find it balderdash. After all, the tragic events took place during the colonial era and the early years of the republic. It wasn't hard to imagine the place to be isolated during that time, so there was risk being there.

A workman during the lighthouse's construction was the first victim, suffering a fatal head blow. It was hard to tell if this was an ominous sign of bloody incidents to come, as this part of Queensland wasn't Transylvania. The wilderness wouldn't be called haunted either. But those who witnessed the unfortunate event knew the feeling after the death of Kate Gibson in 1887. The 49-year old mother of four strolled out of her cottage and disappeared. A frantic search followed, which lasted fifteen days, after which the shocking discovery of her arms folded in her chest and that slash in her neck from ear to ear. It was ruled a suicide, but her arms made some wonder if there was more to the scene. (Nils, her husband, eventually found his missing razor near her body.)

Shipwrecks, drownings, and other freak deaths followed, all of which could have been made into a scary film. This was what Bustard Head lightstation have been back then.

In 1912, a sensational case involving a certain George Daniels took place at the Bustard. He was entangled in a love triangle with Edith Anderson, the lightkeeper's daughter. Arthur Cozgell was the other party in this unfortunate affair, a 32-year-old bloke whose father owned a nearby cattle station. Arthur and Edith were on their way to Bustard when George attacked them. Arthur was shot and Edith abducted. Arthur died, while George was charged with kidnapping and murder. There searched him - and Edith - that took quite some time and a lot of money. But they weren't found, not even a trace of their bodies if they were dead. Perhaps the sea could tell.

Nowadays, the lightstation is managed by the Bustard Head Lighthouse Association. This part of Queensland's coast is a sight to behold, but visitors who have no idea of its past might find it hard to believe that this is the place where tragedy strikes. They must wait until they sky darkens.

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