Tasman Bridge to Iron Pot Lighthouse 22.3km

The Iron Pot Lighthouse is located on Iron Pot Island, just off the coast of the South Arm Peninsula. It marks the entrance to the Derwent River.


The Iron Pot Lighthouse began its life as a wooden light tower in 1832. It was manned by a keeper and two convict assistants.

Its light was inadequate, so the whole lighthouse was upgraded. A new stone tower was built and the apparatus was improved, but the light was still not up to scratch. A new lamp was fitted in 1835, but people said it was still not satisfactory. Further improvements were made to the apparatus in 1851, but the light was still not acceptable.

By 1858, a new stone hut had been built next to the lighthouse.

In 1862, it was claimed that a gold nugget was found on Iron Pot Island by one of the keepers’ children. Two hundred potential diggers flocked to the island, but they were disappointed when no further gold was discovered.

Twenty-two years later, the Iron Pot Lighthouse was renamed to the ‘Derwent Lighthouse’.* A new Chance Bros colza-burning light apparatus was installed shortly before this.

A new two-storey cottage was built next to the lighthouse for the head keeper in 1885.

A decade later, Essie (or Elsie) Margaret Roberts became the first and only person to be born on Iron Pot Island. She was the daughter of the head keeper.

A storm devastated the island in 1895. Living quarters were flooded as water tanks and sheds were washed away. A stone retaining wall even collapsed! Fortunately, no lives were lost. The keepers worked all night to keep the light going.

A light apparatus that burned incandescent petroleum was installed at the Iron Pot Lighthouse in 1904. It was the first in Australia to use vapourised kerosene.

Sixteen years later, a revolving cylinder was installed at the base of the apparatus so that the light could rotate. At the same time, the apparatus was converted to use acetylene gas.

In 1921, the keepers were withdrawn from the Iron Port Lighthouse. The huts and cottages were sold under the condition that they be dismantled. The materials extracted from them are said to have been recycled into other buildings in Hobart.

Solar panels were installed at the lighthouse in 1977, making it the first lighthouse in Australia to be powered by sunlight.


The Iron Pot Lighthouse is still active.

The crane that once lifted supplies on and off Iron Pot Island is still intact.

Rod Watkins on the 12 February 2022 was the  first swimmer recorded to swim from the Tasman Bridge to the Iron Pot at the mouth of the Derwent River. This swim had not been attempted before but now may become a popular event. Rod started at the Tasman bridge at 6.00am and finished at the Iron Pot at 12.52pm. Rod swam a total 22.3kms in a massive time of 6hrs 51min. The true distance of the Tasman Bridge to Iron Pot Lighthouse swim is 22.3km.


A swim organised by Val Kalmikovs @ iswimhappy - click here to register