Ship movements in Victoria harbour – upgrades made to existing system of Marine Department, newspaper report 1950

IDJ has sent the following article on…

HF: I have retyped the original article to aid clarity and searches, maintaining the exact script as in the original.

Thanks to SCT for proofreading the original text.

The image below, source and date unknown, was also sent by IDJ.

Marine Department Look Out Towers 1st & 2nd Generation Signal Towers From IDJ

Marine Dept look-out signal towers 1st & 2nd from IDJ


New Look Out For Victoria Harbour Image From IDJ

The caption attached to this rather murky image in the article reads: When the new look-out post of the Marine Office comes into operation next month, ship movements in Victoria Harbour will come under direct “three-point” control by all three look-out posts in port. The Signal Tower (below) will serve as the office while telegraphists and watchmen keep vigilance in the post above (“China Mail” Photo).

New look-out for Victoria harbour

Beginning next month, ship movements in Victoria Harbour will be under direct “three-point” control by the look-out posts of the Marine Department.

The Signal Tower, Blackhead Station and the Green Island Station will be linked by direct “blink system” communication when the new look-out post above the Marine Office comes into operation early in April.

Now nearing completion, the Marine Office look-out post erected above the resent Signal Tower will be able to cover completely the areas stretching from the Star Ferry lane to the Western Channel area bounded by Green Island and Stonecutters Island.

Communication between these three look-out posts covering Victoria Harbour is by ordinary blink lamps and land telephone. The Signal Tower, acting as the main unit, maintains contact on a 24-hour schedule by radio telephony with Waglan Island – the “eye” of the port of Hong Kong.

Waglan Island, some 12 miles East of the harbour proper, heralds the approach of any ocean-going vessel calling here. The information is then relayed in the authorities concerned, including the agent, stevedores, and Police.

The new look-out post will have two telegraphists, and watchmen on daylight duty. The present Signal Tower will serve as office.

The station on Green Island was recently manned. It keeps vigilance on vessels coming in from the river ports.


Blackhead Station, located on Blachead Point, has a panoramic view of Kowloon and Hunghom Bays. When a ship passes through Lyemun Pass – entrance to Victoria Harbour – this is immediately “blinked” or telephoned to the Signal Tower, which does the necessary routine relay.

A change or mooring or berth while the ship is still in port is also recorded. The Signal Tower operates as the receiving centre as well as look-out post.

General information pertaining to ship or crew movements are exchanged in code through the Signal Tower’s “blink system.” A small fee is charged for this service, open to the public at any hour of the day.

Source: The China Mail 20th March 1950

This article was first posted on 17th October 2021.

HF: Related Indhhk articles: This is the first article posted for very many years where no related articles have been posted.

If you can contribute any further information about the identification and control of shipping in Hong Kong water I would be delighted to hear from you.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *