Stephen's Scribble

Cape St Francis Lighthouse restaurant about to openThere’s something very special about living close to a lighthouse. A symbol of safety and security, protecting mariners from harm…. a reminder of how precious life is. The beams are like an ever steady heartbeat. They bred life into this place nearly one hundred and fifty years ago. To this day they still flash across the sky, ever consisitent …. never missing a beat …. It’s almost mystical.

Sadly for decades the lighthouse precinct here in Cape St Francis has slowly been rotting away. Many of the buildings had been abandoned and fallen into complete disrepair. The area surrounding the iconic tower had been neglected for decades. As one walked passed it looked almost like a minature ghost town ….. but not for much longer …..

I’m sure many of you are aware of the hive of activity that’s been happening recently in the lighthouse precinct. I had a wander around with Paul who passionately shared his vision. I also met Wesley who’s going to be skippering the ship. It seems they are just weeks away from opening and both were super amped!

A major draw card for the locals is going to be the restaurant. “Nevermind” stands on the footprint of the old penguin sanctuary. Seeing the pictures of that dilapidated cesspit it was, it is hard believe the transformation. It looks truly amazing.

The idea behind the restaurant is that it will offer quality as well as value, primarily serving the greater St Francis community. Most of the produce is going to be sourced locally. Fresh organic greens, free range grass fed beef, locally caught fish and bread baked right there are going to be the order of the day.

The design of the restaurant is both practical and aesthetically pleasing. Open fire cooking with high tables, sweeping wind protected decks with utterly spectacular views. There’s going to be a barista banging out coffee all day with fresh pastries from the bakery. Inside a wine bar and plentiful informal yet contemporary seating. At first glance it’s really impressive.

But wait, there’s more …. Adjacent buildings too are being renovated, as accommodation. The crème de la crème of which are the two cottages at the foot of the tower itself. Basically people are going to be able to stay in the same house that all the lighthouse keepers stayed in throughout the years gone by. As I understand, it’s the only lighthouse in the country where one will be able to have this experience.

On weekends, there will also be opportunity to make a donation towards a local worthy cause and climb the tower itself. Spiralling up numerous flights of stairs then finally scaling a near vertical ladder may lead to a few sweaty palms, but it’s worth it. Standing up there on the viewing deck in a busting westerly one can really sense the danger. I felt something unfathomable. It was almost as if the souls of lost mariners were whipping around in the gusts trying to blow me off! And the views … 360 degrees of epic!

The lighthouse precinct is indeed a very special place, soon to be entering a different era. People are again going to be welcomed into the fold. The scene has been set. The beam keeps on turning. I for one am looking forward to hanging out there. After a dawnie for a coffee in the sun or an evening meal perhaps. And maybe one day, an overnight stay …. just to be a lighthouse keeper for a night

Stephen Praetorious

Article by Stephen Praetorious