Clock strikes 150

A TIMELESS part of Gawler’s heritage marked a significant milestone last week, when the Gawler Clock Tower ticked over 150 years of keeping the town’s time.

The clock struck the hour of the day for the first time at 4pm on September 6, 1867, when the pendulum was first started in the presence of Gawler’s mayor and several other council and town members, according to reports in The Bunyip later that week.

The winding of the clock mechanism – which works like an oversized grandfather clock – was outsourced until 1998, when local watchmaker Aub Kaesler took up local residents’ calls to carry out the clock’s maintenance.

With the help of Gawler Council and other volunteers, Mr Kaesler wound the clock on a weekly basis, but the job has since been passed on to other volunteers, including Barry Patterson.

Mr Patterson said the clock was significantly restored in 2006.

“They took all the windows out and the glass out of the faces, put new glass in there and sealed them up because it has got to be waterproofed,” he said.

“It was all full of pigeons and pretty well neglected, so it’s been repainted, power’s been put in as has a new fuse box, and all of the safety regulations that had to be done (have been met).

“It took three years to do all the painting, because that was done one day a week as a volunteer.”

The former Gawler Post Office building, on which the tower is placed, was also opened on September 9, 1867, having cost £2395 pounds to construct.

The building has played a pivotal role in Gawler’s history, being where Sir Charles Todd made the first telephone call between Gawler and Adelaide, as an experiment, on February 28, 1878, and where a repeater station was built, in 1939, to transmit telephone calls locally.

The post office would later be relocated in 1973, and the building – including the clock tower – was state heritage listed on July 24, 1980.

Mr Patterson said it was a “marvellous” building.

“It’s probably one of the best kept clocks in the state, really,” he said.

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Matteo Gagliardi joined The Bunyip in August 2016 with almost two years experience in regional print media, having previously worked at a community newspaper in Swan Hill, Victoria. Covering politics, local government and crime, Matteo likes to sink his teeth into hard-hitting issues, but also enjoys spending time getting to know the Gawler community. Matteo also has a passion for science, agriculture and the environment, and has previously worked as a media officer at the Australian Science Media Centre.

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