The Amédée lighthouse is an iron lighthouse located on Amédée Island, 24 km away from Nouméa, New Caledonia. At 56 meters tall, it is one of the tallest lighthouses in the world and the first metallic lighthouse constructed in France.
The lighthouse was originally constructed in Paris in 1862 and stood two years in La Villette as a demonstration of its stability. Pre-fabricated iron design was a relatively new method and Monsieur Leonce Reynaud, Director of Lighthouses for France, didn’t have much faith in it. During the time when the lighthouse remained in Paris from July 1862 to June 1864, it became a popular destination for Parisians’ walks. After that it was dismantled and packed into 1,265 crates, weighing 388 tonnes in total. It was then transported along the Seine River to the port of Le Havre for the final stage of its long voyage to New Caledonia.
The lighthouse arrived in New Caledonia, in November 1864. After ten months of intense work by military personnel and local workers, it was erected on the Amedee Island. It was first illuminated on the 15th November 1865, the Saint's day of the Empress Eugenie, Napoleon III's wife. Its light signals the entrance to the passage of Boulari, one of only three natural passages in the reef surrounding New Caledonia.
The Amedee lighthouse towers 56 meters above the small island. A spiral cast iron staircase consisting of 247 steps lead to the top. The island is uninhabited, and the lighthouse unmanned except during the daytime when visitors are allowed access. These days it is solar powered but during its life it has been powered by windpump, kerosene and originally colza oil.
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