Neil Black – the Mayor of Lighthouse

 The Tacking Point Lighthouse in 2010 was in very bad shape having been neglected for many years. It was an eyesore and was detracting from the image of Port Macquarie, especially since it had long been a key tourism landmark in the area. Neil and others in the Rotary Club of Port Macquarie Sunrise observed this and set about exploring what could be done to obtain funding to support the lighthouse restoration.

It took a monumental effort and uncountable hours for Neil to almost single-handedly develop the necessary documentation, establish the relevant government departments’ requirements and to then persist with trying every avenue to gain support for the project and ultimately obtain the grant money necessary.

Once this had been done, Neil then worked closely with the volunteer workers from Rotary, the contracted tradespeople and the Work for the Dole program people to make sure the money was spent as effectively as possible. On many occasions Neil has worked from dawn to dusk at the Lighthouse to see his vision realised.

This hasn’t happened once. There have been 5 stages of work in total to date. Each time Neil has carried out the steps described above, working tirelessly and cheerfully to bring each stage to fruition. You can review the full project by clicking here.

The community has benefited enormously from Neil’s work on the Lighthouse. It now looks so much better, the access stairs have been greatly improved. There is now a proper and safe walking area that allows access to the lighthouse and the lookout area on the point. In addition there is now a walkway extending back along Lighthouse Road facilitating safe access for walkers. Finally there is now appropriate interpretive signage in place allowing everyone to better appreciate the history of the lighthouse, the lighthouse keepers cottage and the natural highlights of the location.

This icon of Port Macquarie is now well on the way to becoming a location every resident can be proud to show to visitors. Neil’s vision, persistence and just plain hard work has made this happen.

It is little wonder we call him the Mayor of Lighthouse.