Tuesday, 7 August 2018

Gawler’s Hidden Secrets: The Gawler Clock Tower

Gawler’s Hidden Secrets:  The Gawler Clock Tower


In 1878, the end of the world rung out from the Gawler Post Office Clock Tower, or so local Gawlerites thought, when the clocks bell rang 100 times in a row, plenty said their prayers that night, only to wake the next day to another winters day.

 The Gawler Town Clock committee was first formed in 1867, with the intent to buy and install a town clock in the tower of the main street post office. Wednt’s Jewellers of Rundle Street, Adelaide supplied the clock, four dials made of milk glass, spanning three feet and six inches in diameter.
  On the 6th of September 1867, the Mayor of Gawler as well as Mr Wendt and a few councillors went into the clock tower, and a few minutes before 4pm, set the pendulum in motion. At 4pm that day, the clock struck the hour on time…which over the coming years, the clocks lack of time keeping would be a major issue and the butt of many jokes by townsfolk.

 The clock was originally powered by two weights suspended on cables, which are wound on drums, attached to the clock mechanism. These cables had to be manually wound once a week.
The clock mechanism was converted to electric winding and was maintained with biennial visits by a company called Adelaide Clock and Parts Supplies.
Throughout the years, it was often noted that the Gawler town clock was hardly able to keep time. One young police officer noted it could be up to four minutes slower than the clock at the Gawler Railway Station!

In 1998, Gawler watchmaker Mr Kaesler took over the winding duties of the clock, and also regular maintenance.

At Mr. Kaesler's suggestion a clock tower committee was formed, to restore and maintain the clock.

“The Friends of the Clock Tower” began in March 2002 and continues to this day.
 The Friends of the Clock Tower were also responsible for returning the clock to its former hand wound glory, removing the electric winder, restoring broken parts, and replacing broken glass.
An interesting piece of Gawler Trivia is a mistake on the clock, which lies on the eastern side, which if you go up into the Target carpark and look across you can see for yourself. on the eastern face, which shows, written in Roman Numerals a four is where the six should be!

P.S. there are actually 2 mistakes on the clock, the second mistake being that The Roman Numeral for “Four” is “IV” not IIII as marked on the clock faces.

You can also find more of Allen’s work on his Blog and facebook on the links below:
Blog:  http://hauntedadelaide.blogspot.com/

For More history on the Town of Gawler, please visit the Gawler History Team page “Gawler: now and Then” at: http://www.gawler.nowandthen.net.au/Main_Page