Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Dog Island Radio

Just outside Bluff Harbour and 10 miles south of Awarua Radio lies a small island given the name Dog Island.  This low lying little island is just half a mile long and a quarter mile wide, and its shape as shown on the map resembles a small dog.
             In 1865, New Zealands tallest lighthouse 118 feet high was built on this island.  On two separate occasions, the Dog Island Lighthouse has been pictured on postage stamps issued in New Zealand.
            So strong are the southern winds over this island that over a period of time the lighthouse began to take a lean.  At one stage there were three families living on the island, and they received their needed living supplies by boat every week or two.
            On November 28, 1939, the coastal vessel Wikouiti ran aground at the island, and the ship radio called nearby ZLB on the emergency maritime frequency 500 kHz.  Due to this incident, a small communication radio station was subsequently installed at the lighthouse on Dog Island, under the callsign ZMG.

            However, as the last manned lighthouse in the country, this lighthouse was automated in 1989, and since then the island is uninhabited.  Currently there is no public access to Dog Island, though historic tourism is under consideration.
(AWR-Wavescan/NWS 337)