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Time to preserve history

03 Apr 2014

Time to preserve history Image

A piece of history will return to Docklands next month, with the iconic Water Tower Clock to be installed at Southern Cross Station.

Built in 1882, the clock is the last relic of the original Flinders St Station.

According to Museum Victoria’s senior curator Matthew Churchward, the Water Tower Clock was significant to early Melbourne.

“It was Melbourne’s first landmark clock and stood over 18m high, towering over surrounding buildings and providing the reference time piece for thousands of people in what was then a rapidly-expanding city centre,” he said.

The clock has been moved around quite a bit, starting off at Flinders St, before being moved to the eastern side of Princes Bridge (the current Federation Square site) in 1902 in order to make way for the new Flinders St Station building.

The clock was then sent off to Spencer St Station (now known at Southern Cross Station) in 1910, where it stood for 57 years, before being decommissioned in 1967.

The clock’s mechanism was given to Museum Victoria, but the iconic turret that sat on top of the tower was literally sent to the scrap heap, having been sold to a scrap metal merchant.

Luckily, it was later rescued by private collectors and for the past 14 years has sat at Scienceworks, in Spotswood.

“It has been a pleasure to serve as custodians for this great piece of Melbourne history for the past 14 years and it’s great to see heritage objects reincorporated into contemporary buildings,” Mr Churchward said.

The clock is undergoing extensive refurbishment before its expected restoration to Southern Cross Station next month.

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