The Robe Obelisk (Robe, Australia)

Robe Obelisk in Australia
Photo by Les Haines

The Robe Obelisk was erected on Cape Dombey in 1852, and was used to aide in navigation through the entrance into Guichen Bay as well as storing rocket projected lifesaving equipment. The rockets carried baskets filled with equipment that could save the lives of people on distressed ships. Because nothing says “we are trying to help” like firing a rocket at a ship. Standing at a height of 12 meters, the Robe Obelisk is easily visible up to 20 kilometres away and served much the same purpose as a lighthouse. Except of course there was no light so it only worked during daylight hours.

In 1862, after complaints by the sea captains that the all white obelisk was too difficult to differentiate from the white sand hills, it was repainted with red and white vertical stripes.

The slow but steady erosion of the land surrounding the obelisk has destined it to eventually fall into the ocean. It has been determined by local authorities that the cost of saving the obelisk is too high and that its eventual fate is to be determined by nature.

If you are interested in visiting the Robe Obelisk it is pretty easy to do so. There is no admission fee and free parking makes it a cheap day trip. Having said that, it is one of the less interesting things to see in a city that has changed very little in the last 100 years.

Robe Facts

  • Robe is about 350kms south east of Adelaide
  • The town of Rode was was proclaimed as a port in 1847.
  • Robe was named after Major Frederick Holt Robe, the Governor of South Australia.
  • This small portion of Adelaide has changed very little since the 19th century.
  • Robe has more than 30 heritage sites.