South Canterbury's Public Clocks 

Photo taken by Margaret Todd, Feb. 2009.
Geraldine's town clock is on the old Post Office in Talbot Street, which was opened in 1908. The PO closed its doors on the 4th April 1997. The
bracket clock over the front entrance usually shows the correct time and donkey years ago no one seemed worried if it was in fact a few minutes out. The clock stopped some years ago, but was overhauled in January 2008. A photo with the clock down for repairs. In 2005 the beautiful old building was saved, a covenant, a binding agreement, placed on it by the New Zealand Historic Places Trust so it can not be pulled down or altered structural​ly. In 2011 it is an art gallery / gift shop. The PO clock was painted white and the a similar clock appears in 1902. 2007 photo 

Photo taken by Margaret Todd, Feb. 2009.
Temuka's public clock known as the Millennium Clock is right in the middle of King Street, the main street through Temuka. The clock was supplied by a business in Wellington. There is a photo of the clock in the Temuka - Geraldine and Districts 2009 community phone book. The Geraldine and Temuka clocks were both showing the correct time when the photos were taken. There is a plaque set in the footpath opposite the clock on the west side of the street near the Temuka Post shop.
 The A.D. Hally Memorial
Clock and Temperature
Presented to the Temuka Community
by
The Rotary Club of Temuka
and the
A.D. Hally Trust
December 2000

Temuka, looking south.

There was a town clock bolted to the old Temuka Library building, 53 King St., at the intersection of King St. and Waitohi Temuka Rd but it is no longer there in May 2009 but was there in 2007. The building with the telephone box outside is the old post office, 59 King St. Both buildings are considered heritage buildings. Map. The monument on the sidewalk on the corner in front of the Post Office is the William Rolleston Memorial Lamp (1904) on the side facing the main street and on the reverse side is a plaque commemorating the upgrade of the main street in 1993. The Temuka Library, Plunket and Rest Rooms on King Street was opened by T. D. Burnett, MP, on 12 Feb 1927 and used until 1997 when a new library was built. That would be Mt Peel, covered in snow, in the background, because when you drive along SH1 from Temuka to Winchester it is almost straight in front. That is a little Zephyr, the teal one, and a Hillman (the white one in left corner) and Hillman Avenger, the white one driving through and ladies wore short skirts (lady by car) so this must be a mid-late 1960s photo postcard.


The Lions - Community clock in the CBD was installed at no cost to the Council.
The time was correct when the photo was taken 2nd March 2009.

Order placed for new town clock
By Emma Bailey - The Timaru Herald | Tuesday, 07 August 2007
They say good things take time but finally central Timaru will get a town clock. The Community Trust of Mid and South Canterbury along with Timaru Suburban Lions have given the go-ahead for a clock to grace the trust's building on Strathallan Street that was formerly owned by PGG. Trust executive manager John Wilson was talking to Timaru Suburban Lion Syd Horgan outside the building, when they hatched the plan to get a working clock in town. "We were looking at where the PGG logo had been and thought that would be the perfect place for a clock. The Lions had some funds available and the trust decided to contribute too. "It will nicely finish off the heritage building and will be in keeping with the facade." Lions Suburban president said the clock would commemorate 50 years of Lions in New Zealand and 20 years of the trust. The clock would be 1.5m in diameter and was coming from Germany. People have talked about having a town clock for years and now it will finally happen. The clock would have roman numerals and be lit up to be as visible as possible. Both organisations were sharing the cost of $9000 and expected it to be in place by the end of this year or early 2008, after it was made and shipped from Germany. The Old Bank Tavern on the corner of Stafford and Church Streets has a clock, but it was out of action.    

Photo taken 2nd March 2009 by Margaret Todd.

Looking north up Stafford St.

The Tavern clock was made in Edinburgh by Jas. Ritchie and sons in 1928, a firm that is still in business and celebrated its bi-centennial in 2009. The clock on the historic Old Bank Tavern was not working when this photo was taken 2nd March 2009. When running and wound the clock ran for eight days. The new Lions - Community clock installed in 2008, is just across the street on the Pyne's building, just a few metres away, so now, it is not a priority to get this 1928 Ritchie clock running. In 1951 the clock was taken away for repairs by watchmaker Verdon Wood and in October 2006 the building's owners and the and licensees had the clock repaired by his son, Tony Wood, who also installed a new perspex cover but now three years later it is not functioning.

The clock at Margaret Wilson Complex on Seddon Street. Photo taken March 3rd 2009.
The clock at Margaret Wilson Complex, a lovely Presbyterian home for the elderly, on Seddon Street.
 The clock showed correct time and is situated in the centre of the drive in.

Turret Clocks

A turret clock is a clock with more than one dial to show the time in all directions from a tower. The town clock movement commenced in 1897, the year of Queen Victoria's Jubilee, and many towns throughout New Zealand endeavoured to commemorate the event in a substantial way; and do some work that would be of benefit to the town and remain a more or less permanent mark of respect to the memory of a well-beloved Queen. Timaru's effort was the Jubilee Water Fountain (now located at the Timaru Botanical Gardens) outside Timaru's Old Post Office, which had a clock tower. The Timaru City Council, 2 King George Place, has a clock tower. The Council Chambers are located on George Street across the street from old PO which is on Sophia Street. King George Place is between the two. Waimate also has a clock tower - the Waimate War Memorial Clock which runs a little late at the end of each week.

Photo taken by Margaret Todd, Feb. 2009.
The 12noon

Timaru Herald 21 March 2013 Timaru clock a fickle timepiece. Mechanism suffering from hot and cold flushes
Timaru's 102-year-old clock atop the council building is suffering from hot and cold flushes, gaining and losing time depending on the temperature. The heat tends to push it into the future, while in cool weather it loses time. Contractor in charge of the clock's welfare Alan Shaw said there were a lot of council workers who let him know when their tea break was late because of the mechanism's irregularities. He usually checks the clock on a monthly basis. ''It drifts and does not like change.'' The mechanical timepiece comprises counterweights and electric motors to rewind it. Cams pull wire ropes for the hammers and bells. When adjusted for daylight saving, which is coming up on April 4, it tends to take a few days to get back into its stride -- so there is no point setting your watch to it. Timaru District Council property manager Matt Ambler said there were are no current plans to replace the clock.

For twenty years from 1861 the accepted town clock for Timaru was 18 inches high, the face was nine inches in diameter. It was enclosed in a wooden case. It was owned by Mr J. Shepherd and was located in a prominent position in his general store.

Timaru Herald, 21 August 1874, Page 2
The Board of Works office is getting on famously, and is developing itself into a much handsomer and more commodious building than might have been expected for the money. There is one defect in the design, however, if we may venture to say so without treading on anybody's corns, professional or otherwise, which might be remedied with great advantage to the appearance of the town and the convenience of the public. We mean the absence of a clock-tower. There is no public clock in Timaru, if we except the obscure and erratic timepiece at the Telegraph office, nor would it be easy to select any situation except the top of the new Board of Works office, where one might be placed so as to be seen from almost every part of the town. The hood of the windmill is in an elevated, airy situation, and is visible in clear weather from the plains on the other side of the Rangitata but with all its advantages it is hardly suited for the locale of the town clock, whose usefulness would be interfered with rather by the revolution of the mill-sails, even if the light of its countenance were discernible at such a distance from the ground. Oh no, the new Board of Works office is no doubt the best place, and we would seriously suggest that a plan should be considered for adding a clock tower, before it has approached too near to completion for such an improvement to be made. It would not cost with a fourfaced clock, and a gilt weather-cock to boot, for that matter more than £200 or £250, and the work need not at all delay the occupation of the offices, or disturb the occupants. The walls are quite strong enough to bear the weight of a tower, either in front or at the rear of the building, and in view of the great benefit which it would confer on the inhabitants of and visitors to the town, it seems a pity to let the opportunity slip of making the addition while it can be done at a small expense, and without interfering with the present arrangements. The cost of it might be divided between the Board of Works and the householders of Timaru the first on behalf of country people who would make use of the clock as much as anybody, on market days and other occasions when they come to Timaru, and the latter in consideration of acquiring a constantly needed convenience, and adding an ornament to their already good-looking and fast improving town.

On September 10, 1880 a time ball was erected on the Post Office tower this was dropped daily at noon. The ball was in place until 1881 when a town clock was erected. The town clock was placed on the Post Office October 8, 1881. It was ordered by the Government form Messrs Littlejohn and Son of Wellington. It was at the time one of the largest time-pieces ever manufactured in New Zealand. The clock with all its accessories, weighed about a ton and a half. It was fitted with a Graham's dead beat escapement and carried a pendulum eight feet long and weighing nearly 200lbs. It had a bell made by Messrs Mills and Cable that weighed 6cwt. It has 4 dials 6 ft in diameter and was fitted with white Opal glass. It was illuminated first by gas and the by electricity.

The chimes for the clock were given by James Craigie in 1913 and the Post Office Tower was raised accordingly to fit them in. The chimes came from England. June 21, 1913 saw the tower raised by 15 ft to be better seen and a new clock provided by W. Littlejohn and Son Ltd added, chimes were incorporated these were originally set going June 21, 1913 by the Hon. R H Rhodes, the then Postmaster-General. The face of the new clock was 7ft and 8ins, as against 6 ft on the old clock. Five bells were installed at this time. The tower holding this clock was demolished February 1933 due to concerns about its safety during winds and earthquakes. The clock was then moved across the road to a new 75 ft reinforced tower on the Municipal Buildings where it sits today. This tower was opened December 23, 1933. The tower cost £390 to construct. The tower has a light of remembrance on top of the flag pole.

Timaru Herald, 19 April 1895, Page 2
Either the town clock or the artist who looks after it is giving the Borough Council too much for their money. Yesterday it struck various hours apparently at random, but we noticed that several twelves were thrown m as it were promiscuously. midnights m the course of the twenty-four hours, especially when coupled with two noons, is far too many unless the. clock can be made to dole out the extra time and not merely to talk about it. We prefer a clock that tells the truth— says twelve when it really is twelve, and is silent about that particular hour till it again comes round in due course. Any other system of enumerating the hours is apt to be misleading— may perhaps suggest delirium tremens, snakes, and that sort of thing, even to a Good Templar.

14 October 2009 Timaru Herald
The original Timaru exchange was what is described by technicians as "earth working" – only one wire was used, with the earth connection giving a common return circuit for each instrument. The overhead lines for the exchange terminated on massive totara poles in King George Place at the front of the post office, and were led into the exchange by overhead cables attached to the clock tower which, many will remember, once stood above the telegraph delivery entrance. On one occasion, in 1903, lightning struck the cables – disrupting the telephone service and setting fire to the clock tower.

Timaru Herald items:
20/11/1933 - Town Clock - works to be installed shortly.
28/11/1933 - Official Opening of Town Clock.
23/12/1933 - History of Timaru Town Clocks.
26/12/1933 - New Clock Tower Opened.

The Soundshell clock. Photo taken 2nd March 2009 by Margaret Todd.
The Soundshell clock photo is taken from the back side, March 2nd 2009. The clock showed the time correctly enough, about 2 minutes out and was functioning. The 1902 band rotunda on Caroline Bay had a turret clock and a weather vane on top. In 1937 a soundshell was built to replace the rotunda.

Church Clocks

Photo taken by Margaret Todd, Feb. 2009.
High time - A church clock

St Joseph's in Temuka has a church clock which was installed c. Dec. 1881. In the tower, the grand clock (Dent, London) has four dials, placed in the masonary above the lancet windows, each being about 5ft, and strikes on three harmonious bells, cast by the Meneelay Foundry, New York The largest of which, on which the clock strikes the hours and weighs 12 cwt., the two smaller ones for the quarters, 6cwt, and about 300 cent., respectively, which were paid for by Father Fauvel (£172 in N.Y.) There are three hammers to each, along with the usual one, the clock hammer being a tolling hammer. It can be beard on calm nights at a distance of six miles. The total height to the top of the cross on the spire is 120ft.  A lightning conductor is connected with the top of the cross, and fixed to the side wall, running to the ground. Photos.

It was not unusual for the parish church to have a church clock. The Pleasant Point Church Clock on the St Mary's Catholic Church tower is currently cared for by the Catholic Church. The church is located near the Railway Museum on the main road.

New Zealand Tablet, 15 July 1892, Page 25
Temuka, July 4, 1892. I am sorry to chronicle a mishap to St Joseph's Church clock. About a fortnight ago, through the failure of a spring to act, the heavy weight was set at liberty, and came down with great velocity. Its force brought the cast-iron frame several feet out of its position in the tower, and, what's worse, broke it. It will be necessary to have it recast. Until this is done the striking weight cannot be affixed to the clock, which, however, is going, and keeping correct time. The expense of repairing will be considerable. The public have had the benefit of this wonderful clock for over eleven years now, and surely it will not be too much to ask them to aid in its repair by voluntary subscription. During the time the striking has been suspended a good many inquiries have been made as to when it would be righted. People cannot expect to eat cake without paying for it.

New Zealand Tablet, 26 August 1892, Page 18
August 22, 1892. St Joseph's Church clock will soon chime again. Indeed, its silence has had the effect of casting quite a gloom on the district within a radius of several miles round the church. Religiously speaking, it was the custom in St Joseph's School at each chime of hours to offer up prayers, and this good habit has also been contracted by the more thoughtful members of the Church. Doubtless these will welcome the resumption of the chimes. Mr Charles Story, stablekeeper, voluntarily came to Father Fauvel to offer his services in collecting money for painting the dials of the clock. In two days he succeeded in gathering £9 9a 6d.  On Thursday last Mr Murray of Ashburton arrived in Temuka and took with him the necessary parts for the re-casting. Mr Murray gave as his professional opinion that the clock is capable of going for 200 years.

A mechanical clock consists of power, a train of gears and a device to allow this power to "escape" at a uniform rate. Generally the source of power is a weight or spring.

Geraldine Public Clocks

Clock, Westpac Bank, Geraldine branch. Photo Feb. 1 March 2009 by Garry T. 

Geraldine was well served with clocks and it didn't seem to matter that they all told slightly different times. The Westpac Bank, 33 Talbot, St Geraldine, has a clock tower, but the clock there is a real hodgepodge of times. It has four faces, and ALL tell a different time. The photo above is a shot of the west and south faces of the clock on Westpac Bank taken at 10.50 a.m. 1st March 2009. The times are confusing, but after a year or two you realise that they are correct at least twice a day. They have been like this for a year or so now.

October 2010 thanks to Wood’s Clocks and Watches in Timaru the Westpac building clocks, owned by the Geraldine Licensing Trust, have been fully re-conditioned and re-turned. They’ve got new bearings and the works and were synchronised however, it was not long before each face was telling a different time again.  In August 2012 a new master mechanism was installed costing the licensing trust about $15,000 and the clock will automatically adjust to and from daylight saving hours.

Further up the road, Morrison Brothers new garage--well it was in the 1960s, also had a tower with a clock. Since Morrison's closed, the clock has been removed from the tower. Today there is even a trend not wear a wrist watch since the advent cell phones so no one really relies on these old town clocks. In the Four Peaks Plaza near Barker's shop there is a square face clock.

Nov. 2009. The clock is still not keeping the right time.
Nov. 2009 still out of sync.

 Photo Feb. 1 March 2009 by Garry T.
The tower with the clock removed from Morrison Bros Garage (now an art gallery.)

Timaru Herald, 21 August 1874, Page 2
The Board of Works office is getting on famously, and is developing itself into a much handsomer and more commodious building than might have been expected for the money. There is one defect in the design, however, if we may venture to say so without treading on anybody's corns, professional or otherwise, which might be remedied with great advantage to the appearance of the town and the convenience of the public. We mean the absence of a clock-tower. There is no public clock in Timaru, if we except the obscure and erratic timepiece at the Telegraph office, nor would it be easy to select any situation except the top of the new Board of Works office, where one might be placed so as to be seen from almost every part of the town. The hood of the windmill is is an elevated, airy situation, and is visible in clear weather from the plains on the other side of the Rangitata ; but with all its advantages it is hardly suited for the locale of the town clock, whose usefulness would be interfered with rather by the revolution of the mill-sails, even if the light of its countenance were discernible at such a distance from the ground. Oh no, the new Board of Works office is no doubt the best place, and we would seriously suggest that a plan should be considered for adding a clock tower, before it has approached too near to completion for such an improvement to be made. It would not cost with a four faced clock, and a gilt weather-cock to boot, for that matter — more than £200 or £250, and the work need not at all delay the occupation of the offices, or disturb the occupants. The walls are quite strong enough to bear the weight of a tower, either in front or at the rear of the building, and in view of the great benefit which it would confer on the inhabitants of and visitors to the town, it seems a pity to let the opportunity slip of making the addition while it can be done at a small expense, and without interfering with the present arrangements. The cost of it might be divided between the Board of Works and the householders of Timaru ; the first on behalf of country people who would make use of the clock as much as anybody, on market days and other occasions when they come to Timaru, and the latter in consideration of acquiring a constantly needed convenience, and adding an ornament to their already good-looking and fast improving town.

Timaru Herald, 9 May 1868, Page 2
Temuka. Our little town is further enlivened by the advent of a watch and clock maker, who has established himself next to Mr Velvin's drapery establishment, and who it is hoped will supply a want which has long been felt here — that of a standard of time. The time, I believe, may be ascertained by reference to the driver of the coach on its arrival, but it will be much more convenient for us all if Mr Crekroft should exhibit in his shop a timepiece of unquestionable accuracy, by a glance at which we can at any moment ascertain the " time o' day."

Fairlie clock is near the public toilet

Fairlie still has a public clock on the main street, near the public toilets. Someone wrote on the www "Fairlie has by far the nicest and cleanest public toilets in New Zealand - with under floor heating!" In 2014 just average toilets. The toilet block was built in 1994 in place of  the original block that was erected in 1961.The clock is similar to the Geraldine PO clock, with a plain back rim with a white face, now up a pole. St. Columbo is across the road and a little shop that sells Tip Top ice cream.  It is similar to the clock that use to be on the Fairlie Post Office. The new town clock, pre Y2K, replaced the original one put up on 5 May1956 that use to hang on a street light post at the intersection of Talbot Road and the Railway Place and SH8.


Looking towards the Two Thumb Range.

Twizel has two clocks

In the Twizel town center- the Twizel outdoor mall, there is a digital clock and a square faced clock, one face only, two minutes fast. In the foreground is a metal sculpture of two black stilts. The photo was taken at dawn, Nov. 2 2009.

South Canterbury NZGenWeb Project