Facing up to a fresh future

Grant Fleming of Prosser’s Panels checks the finishing coat on replacement clock faces to be installed in Camperdown’s clock tower over the next couple of weeks.

ALL four clock faces on Camperdown’s iconic clock tower are in the process of being replaced after years of leakage resulted in extensive rust.

Heritage Victoria gave its approval for the replacement works last week, with local firm Rural Welding contracted to make the new faces from quality mild rolled steel and Prossers Panels contracted to paint them. Local signwriter Ian Currell will add the numbers.

Corangamite Shire Central Ward councillor Ruth Gstrein said a heritage conservator was helping to review the methodology to replace the clock faces to help council ensure the best results.

“We expect the work to be completed and the scaffolding removed by the second week of October, in time for Rock the Clock to set up,” she said.

“As with any restoration, unexpected problems were discovered but we’ve addressed them and the clock tower is better protected for the future.

“We’ve kept as much as possible of the heritage material and used a modern roofing system that will give better protection than the older technology.”

While the restoration project has taken longer than expected, costs are still within budget, Cr Gstrein said.

Restoration work carried out since July has included the replacement of the clock tower’s copper roof and the rehabilitation of bricks and mortar.

The work is expected to seal the tower against any further rain damage.

At its June meeting, council approved the following variations to the restoration contract:

• Repair or replacement of the clock faces;

• Extra copper cladding for the conical shaped pinnacles;

• New cedar cladding for the mansard roof;

• Rebuild of rendered mouldings around the clock faces, fixing ply wood to the roof; and

• Cleaning the clock arms.

Council successfully received $200,000 in State Government funding as part of the Living Heritage Grants Program in September 2017 to carry out the works.

The 31.4 metre tall brick tower was designed by Camperdown architect Michael McCabe and built by Melbourne builder Peter Rodger in memory of Thomas Peter Manifold who died in a hunting accident in 1895 at the age of 32.

The clock was built by Fritz Ziegler of T. Gaunt and Co. of Melbourne, with the bells custom forged in London.

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