What is significant? The West Channel Pile Light was built in 1881 to a design by the Public Works Department. The building contractor was Robert Thornton. It is constructed of red gum with a concrete platform. The pile light replaced an earlier lightship that was installed in 1854 to mark the north-east end of the West Sand. It re-used the original lantern and upper tower of 1854 but relocated these to the present site. When the pile light was moved to a new substructure (sometime before the early 1980s) the superstructure was damaged, and most of the verandah and balustrade was lost. The walkway is also missing.
The West Channel Pile Light was installed to aid navigation along the West Channel through Port Phillip Bay, and formed a leading line along the West Channel. The South and the West Channels were the two major shipping channels for all vessels entering Port Phillip Bay on their way to Melbourne. The light continues to be used today.
The pile light was constructed with a substructure or framework of timber piles. Above this is a new concrete platform. Mounted on the platform is a two-storey octagonal timber structure that houses the light-keepers quarters and the lantern. This is accessed via an open Newell stair. The living quarters included a fireplace (no longer extant) and chimney. The light was manned until the interwar period when gas lamps were introduced.
How is it significant? The West Channel Pile Light is of historical, architectural and technological (maritime) significance to the State of Victoria.
Why is it significant? The West Channel Pile Light is historically and architecturally significant as a rare example of a surviving pile light. The West Channel Pile Light and the South Channel Pile Light are the only surviving pile lights (albeit in part) of the four manned pile lights that originally serviced Port Phillip Bay.
The West Channel Pile Light is historically and architecturally significant for its incorporation of light-keepers quarters, which demonstrates a now vanished way of life. It is one of only a few pile lights in Victoria designed with accommodation quarters.
The West Channel Pile Light is also of technological (maritime) significance for its incorporation of the lantern and upper tower of the earlier 1854 lightship. Channel lighting is rare in Victoria and this is an important example of surviving nineteenth-century light technology in Victoria. The West Channel and South Channel pile lights are the only ones of their type in Australia. [Online Data Upgrade Project - 2004]