Australian Streetlights

Welcome to the Australian Streetlights website! Believe it or not, this has been an interest of mine since I was about 4 or 5. Streetlights come in various shapes and styles and below I have attempted to group them accordingly.

Low Pressure Sodium  (click for photos)

Gives off a dull orange colour. The first of these specimens were introduced in the 1950's when the street light revolution began. There are approximately 15 different casing shapes for these streetlights, however the lamp size generally has two variations (high and low wattage). It is interesting to see these lights "warm up" as they start with a strong red and gradually change to orange over a 30 minute time frame! While these lights were also used in areas subject to heavy fog (the dull orange colour could penetrate the fog better than white light), they are now a dying breed as High Pressure Sodium lamps have become the preferred installation, although some new fixtures occasionally are placed in some residential areas and tunnels.

Fluorescent Lamps     (click for photos)

Typical residential and arterial road white lighting. A favourite from the 1950's-1980's but are no longer installed - these lights gave off the same white light that are used in household fluorescents. There were only a few different variations but were eventually phased out due to their ineffectiveness in lighting roads when compared to other styles of lamps.

Mercury Vapour Lamps (click for photos)

The perennial street light. Started in the 1950's and is still in production today although new installations are becoming rare. These lamps give off a brilliant white light with the source being compared to a larger style household light globe and is quite effective as long as the fittings are not too old. Still possibly the most common style of arterial road street lighting in Australia, although will eventually succumb to High Pressure Sodium lamps as again, they are the preferred installation.

High Pressure Sodium Lamps (click for photos)

First used in the late 1980's, these lights are the fastest growing style in Australia, and are set to become the standard arterial road light fixture as they generally replace the older Mercury Vapour and Low Sodium lamps as they burn out. The colour of these can vary a little - generally a bright orangey/pink colour, they can also be a standard orange and also yellow.

Residential Lamps (click for photos)

A listing of current residential street lights used today. Some fluorescent lamps are still in use in residential areas (primarily NSW and SA), and they are listed under the Fluorescent link above, and not here.

Exotic Streetlights (click for photos)

Well, I couldn't think of any other name for these. Collectors items? Not sure - well the photos in here show some of the perhaps funky and rare styles of street lighting you will see in Australia. Some bore on ridiculous and others look quite good.

The information in these pages is based purely upon my observations, so if there are any errors, please let me know and I will rectify them. If you have any comments or thoughts, please feel free to email me at

Michael Greenslade

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Copyright MG 2005