Lighthouse love-triangle ended with murder, abduction

THE light still shines on the Bustard Head Lighthouse, but this historical site has a very dark past intertwined with murder, an abduction and suicide.

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This week, on June 29, marked 148 years since it was first lit.

Today it's a tourist attraction, and features in one of the most popular tours by the 1770 LARC.

Bustard Head Lighthouse, 1770.

Photo Brenda Strong / The Observer
Bustard Head Lighthouse, 1770. Photo Brenda Strong / The Observer Brenda Strong GLA301013ESSA

First commissioned in 1868, the lighthouse is one of Queensland's oldest buildings.

Families manned the light station from 1868 until it was automated in 1986.

Its history was shun into the spotlight when former caretaker, Stuart Buchanan, wrote a 243-page book, which was printed in 1999.

From murder to suicide and abductions, this lighthouse has seen some dark times, and Mr Buchanan wrote about it all.

"The tragedies were most fascinating," he said.

"In 1887 the light keeper's wife had four teenage daughters. She walked out of the house and slit her throat.

"There would have been so many hardships for the early people who lived here. It was basic living," he said.

"They would have lived their lives in desperation."

That was just the first of the tragic events the lighthouse was a backdrop to. In 1898, a one-year-old girl was scalded with boiling water.

Then in 1912, 18-year-old George Daniels, was accused of murder and kidnap near the lighthouse.

He was in a love triangle with Edith Anderson, who was the daughter of the Bustard Head light keeper, and 32-year-old Arthur Cozgell.

The couple was riding toward Bustard Head when someone attacked them. The assailant, Mr Daniels, shot Arthur and abducted Edith. An extensive search was done by authorities, but George and Edith were never found.

"There's been murder, suicide and abduction so you'd think there would be some bad vibes there, but there's not," he said.

"I'm not into that sort of thing but I have had people who are come here and say it's all good vibes," he said.

Mr Buchanan now lives in Brisbane, but he returns to Agnes Water three times a year where he helps run tours, sharing his stories of the lighthouse.

"(Tourists) love it because I'm an old light keeper, and I think people think there's something special about having the man who wrote the books there.

"Some people do get spooked."

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