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The Timeball Tower

The Timeball Tower was a means whereby ships could accurately set their chronometers, since accuracy was essential for successful navigation on long ocean voyages. At precisely 1.00pm each day, the ball at the top of the tower would descend slowly down its shaft.

The Williamstown tower was built in 1849 of local bluestone. It was originally a lighthouse, and later served as a timeball tower from 1861 to 1926.

Many such towers were built, but they have not survived to anything like the degree that historic lighthouses have. Today, working timeball towers are extremely rare; apart from the one at Point Gellibrand there is a working timeball tower at Greenwich in London, and only three others in the world. It is undoubtedly the jewel of historic Williamstown.

For feedback and comments please contact the Tourism Officer at Hobsons Bay City Council on (03) 9932 1000 email visitorinformation@hobsonsbay.vic.gov.au