Newspaper article Fraser Coast Chronicle (Hervey Bay, Australia)

Keeping the Time

Newspaper article Fraser Coast Chronicle (Hervey Bay, Australia)

Keeping the Time

Article excerpt



THE heritage-listed Maryborough Post Office has been in continuous use for over 150 years.

It was built on the corner of Bazaar and Wharf Sts in the mid-1860s to a design by architect Charles Tiffin. Tiffin, pictured, was the government architect for the colony of Queensland for a number of years. Many of the surviving buildings we have from the 1860s were designed by him including Parliament House, the Ipswich Court House and the Maryborough Bond Store.

While our historic Post Office continues to perform its primary function of processing mail in more or less the same fashion as it did from the day its doors opened, its role in regards to public timekeeping in Maryborough has changed. The different forms of timekeeping have been a subject of debate throughout Maryborough's history, right up to the addition of a clock tower to the City Hall in the 1930s.

The Post Office tower provided the town's first public time instrument: a time-ball, which lowered at 1pm every day.

While this was an asset to the town, quite understandably, residents and visitors looked to the tower with its space for a clock and hoped for more. A letter published in the Maryborough Chronicle on 29 October 1868 under the pen name Tempus Fugit (Latin for "time flies") stated that:

"... Everyone will agree with me that this is a most pressing want; for under present circumstances 'the time of day' is a thing which is very hard to come at - no two watches or clocks are alike - and the 'time ball', (if the ugly looking basket arrangement which is hauled up a crooked pole can be so- called) is of little or no use as a time keeper, as it only tells it once a day. The tower on the Post Office was evidently built with the intention of having a town clock placed in it ... surely we are entitled to receive from the Government the price of a clock ... It is needless for me to point out the many advantages which would accrue from the possession of such a boon - to say nothing of the beauty it would add to the really fine Post and Telegraph office buildings . …

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