Cape Don is the site of a historical lighthouse on the most western tip of the Cobourg Peninsula. Recently it was the site of Cape Don Fishing Lodge (which closed in 2010) and is a well-known fishing hot spot. Prior to Cape Don Fishing Lodge it was purely a working lighthouse completed in 1917 and manned all the way up until 1983. Cape Don Lighthouse (Cape Don) was originally built by the Commonwealth Government in order to guide ships between the Cobourg Peninsula and nearby Melville Island en route to Darwin.
Due to its geographical location the lighthouse took 3 years to build. Construction could only be carried out in the dry-season and due to the surrounding reefs a jetty had to be built 5km from the actual build site. From the jetty a tramway was laid and materials were carted by trucks pulled by horses. The materials used to build the lighthouse were shipped all the way from Melbourne as the locally made ironstone alternative was deemed unsuitable for the harsh tropical conditions.
The name ‘Cape Don’ was originally given to the land on which the lighthouse was built many years earlier by Captain Phillip Parker King. In 1818 Captain King coined the headland Cape Don as a compliment to Lieutenant General Sir George Don.
Today Cape Don is Australia's most northern traditional lighthouse and still operates on an automated basis. It stands 28 meters tall from the base to light platform and has withheld severe storms, various cyclones and even earthquakes over its 97 year lifespan.