Clock repairs set to wind up

FROM once every 15 minutes, to nothing in three weeks - the chimes of the Launceston town clock have been a notable absence this month. 

But the iconic tower should have its voice back within days, with running repairs on the 104-year-old timepiece almost complete.

Launceston City Council building services co-ordinator Warren Prewer said the machinery responsible for recent clock stoppages had been spruced up in one of the most thorough services in the clock's history.  

Mr Prewer said this week the final touches were being made inside the tower, with the Westminster chimes to ring again in the next two days. 

``It's been a bit strange, not hearing the bells for the past couple of weeks,'' Mr Prewer said. 

``They usually let me know when it's knock-off time - but I've been finishing to silence.''  

Mr Prewer said the repairs had been divided into two major projects: reshaping the worn bell hammers and replacing the 54-year-old winding system.

The struggling auto-wind motor, which was installed in 1969 to replace hand-winding, was upgraded with parts ordered from Gillett and Johnson in the UK - the company from which the original clock was purchased in 1906. 

``They still have all the original plans for the clock, so they knew exactly what we needed,'' Mr Prewer said. 

``Mind you, there have been a few late-night phone calls to England to talk business.'' 

Clockwise owner and horologist Graham Mulligan said the three new winding motors were state-of-the-art.  

``Hopefully we'll get a trouble-free run now,'' Mr Mulligan said. 

The Launceston town clock was installed in September 1909 after a three-year community campaign and fund-raising effort. 

Email: adruce@examiner.com.au 

Twitter: @AlexDruce1987 

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