Chris Luckham, from a nearby medical centre, says people are confused by the Ballina courthouse clock, which is slowly gaining time.
Chris Luckham, from a nearby medical centre, says people are confused by the Ballina courthouse clock, which is slowly gaining time. Cathy Adams

Court clock gaining time

HEARING the Ballina courthouse clock strike 5pm doesn’t signal the end of the working day for Chris Luckham.

She works in a medical clinic opposite the courthouse, and she has noticed the clock has been adding on a few minutes here and there.

“It’s been gaining time,” she said.

“A while ago it was only 20 minutes fast, but now it’s an hour ahead.

“It’s annoying because we get patients in and they think we’re always running late because they look at the clocktower.

“I say to them, ‘well, if that’s the right time, then I’m going home when it says it’s 5pm’.

“I’ve seen quite a few people looking up at the clock and then looking at their watches. It’s probably confusing for people.”

Ballina’s courthouse clock is more than 120 years old, but that’s no excuse – in 2006 the Attorney General’s department spent $30,000 replacing its mechanism with a silent, electronic one.

The clock has been much better since then, although it’s now due for a tune-up.

A spokesman from the Department of Justice and Attorney General yesterday promised the clock would be examined to ‘determine what is causing it to gain time’.

However its time will be pretty close to the mark when daylight saving ends on Sunday, April 4, at 3am.

At least Ballina’s clock is better than the one in Lismore at the old post office, which doesn’t work at all and hasn’t for many years.

It always reads 12pm, or 12am, depending on your interpretation.

But thankfully, there is one clocktower on the Northern Rivers that you can set your watch to.

Kyogle takes great pride in its clocktower, according to the council’s planning and environmental services director, John Hession.

“We do make an effort to maintain it. It probably breaks down about once or twice a year,” he said.

“But people are pretty quick to point it out to us, so we’re pretty quick to get on top of it.”



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