- Home /
- History /
- History & Heritage /
- Hermanus History and Heritage /
- Local Hermanus fisherman, Bill Selkirk, caught the world’s biggest man-eating shark with a rod and reel in 1922
Dangerpoint Lighthouse built was in 1895
- Author: Super User
- Friday, 09 August 2013
- South African Shipwrecks & Lighthouses
After more than 20 ships had been wrecked off this treacherous stretch of Cape coastline, Danger Point Lighthouse was built in 1895 in order to alert shipping to the presence of Danger Point reef. The lighthouse stands about 18 m (59 ft) tall and is visible for approximately 25 nautical miles (46 km). At night its light flashes a stern warning across Walker Bay and out to sea - warning passing ships of the dire peril that awaits them should they venture too close to its submerged reef.
In 1936, a commemorative plaque (styled after the one made in honour of the 1815 Arniston wreck) was affixed to the base of the Danger Point Lighthouse by the Navy League of South Africa. In March 1995 a Birkenhead memorial was erected in close proximity to the Lighthouse, complete with arrow pointing to the exact location (south-west of the lighthouse) where the Birkenhead was wrecked. In December 2001, the memorial was moved closer to the lighthouse.
Danger Point Lighthouse today stands as a brick and mortar memorial to HMS Birkenhead and is open to the public on weekdays between 10h00 and 15h00. A memorial service with a wreath-laying ceremony to commemorate the sinking of the Birkenhead is held annually on 25 & 26 February.
Thousands of miles away in Scotland another memorial to the Birkenhead can be seen in St Giles Cathedral, Edinburgh. It bears the following inscription:
In memory of Lieut. - Colonel Alexander Seton, Ensign Alex. C. Russell, and forty-eight N.C.O.s and men of the 74th Highlanders who were drowned at the wreck of H.M.S. 'Birkenhead' on the 26th February 1852, off Point Danger, Cape of Good Hope, after all the women and children on board had been safely landed in the ship's boats.