Clutha District returns piece of Dunedin history
An almost forgotten but important piece of Dunedin’s history has returned home, courtesy of a gift from the Clutha District Council.
For around half a century a glass-enclosed brass clock mechanism, originally commissioned for South Seas Exhibition in 1864, and a master clock and four clock faces from the post office building in the Dunedin Exchange were held in the Clutha district.
Recently the master clock and three of the clock faces were gifted to Toitū Otago Settlers Museum. The mechanism was given to the museum in 2019.
Clutha District Mayor Bryan Cadogan says, “Clutha District Council gifted these to Toitū Otago Settlers Museum where they can be preserved and put on display for everyone to enjoy. The clock has an interesting history for both Dunedin and Clutha, and we’ll still keep a piece of that history in Clutha.”
The DCC plans to incorporate one or two of the faces in its First Great City display at Toitū Otago Settlers Museum.
Otago Settlers Museum Curator Pete Read says “A piece of stonework from the post office building is on display so the clock face(s) will complement the story of the building. Another piece of the building is displayed in Toitū’s Twentieth Century gallery.”
One of the clock faces remains in the Clutha District, mounted in the council’s Rosebank office reception where it has ticked away for almost 50 years. The other clock faces and mechanism have been kept in storage.
The clock arrived in Clutha in approximately 1968 after it was gifted to the Balclutha Borough Council by the Cartwright family. At the time, the borough council had been looking to erect a town clock for Balclutha. However, by around 1978 it was decided that the cost was prohibitive.
Photo credits for historic images
Image: Demolition of Dunedin Stock Exchange Building 1969. Photographer John Martin. Collection of Toitū Otago Settlers Museum ; DC-0161/4
Image: First University & Customs buildings, Dunedin. Photographer J.W. Allen. Collection of Toitū Otago Settlers Museum ; 26_1