OUR POST OFFICE CLOCK

September 1994

Contributed by Ron Hore

When the building of the Post Office was planned in 1885, no clock tower was included. The cost of the building was £1,500. The Council of the day and local residents requested that a clock tower be added to the building. A donation of £100 from Mr. Peterkin and £50 from the Council resulted in the tower being built, at a cost of £200.

TraralgonPostofficePHOTO: Post Office and Clock, is from the archives of the Society. "Traralgon P.O. as originally built (later altered) about 1900"

The Post Office was opened in 1887 but the clock was not installed in the tower until 1892, the reason being that the town could not raise the final £25 needed to pay for it. Finally, through the efforts of the local Progress Association, the money was raised but it is believed that not enough was raised to include a bell. At this time Morwell was part of the Traralgon Shire but would not support the appeal.

The clock was a grandfather-type of mechanism, driven by a weight and pendulum which drove the four falls through bevel gears and wound once a week. Lights were added to the faces in about 1948.

When major alterations were carried out to the back section of the Post Office in 1965, the clock was converted to an electric drive. In 1982 stronger hands were added and in 1985 the original Roman figures were painted on the faces. I have been maintaining the clock full-time since 1991, checking and cleaning it every 4 to 5 weeks and lubricating it every 6 months.

In May 1994, the local paper ran a feature article about the history of the clock and the local Post-Manager, Alan Burton, and I took the opportunity to launch an appeal for sponsors to raise $2,500 for the installation of electric chimes. The response was overwhelming and with the help of the City and Shire Councils, businesses and local citizens, the money was raised in quick time. The chimes were ordered and installed and started on 22nd July, 1994.

The system has four different chimes:

  • Bim Bam - the classical tune
  • Westminster - the world-famous chimes from the Houses of Parliament in London (Big Ben)
  • Whittington - the popular English chiming clock melody
  • Ave Maria - the famous bells in the Basilica at Lourdes

It is hoped that a plaque or something similar will be installed and an official opening of the chimes held later to recognise the efforts of the people involved.