So much to Explore in Williamstown

Historical Sites, Museums, Libraries and So Much More

Historical Site

Timeball Tower

Located at Point Gellibrand, Battery Road, Williamstown


The Timeball Tower was a means whereby ships could accurately set their chronometers since accuracy was essential for successful navigation on long ocean voyages. At precisely 1.00pm each day, the ball at the top of the tower would descend slowly down its shaft.

The Williamstown tower was built in 1849 of local bluestone. It was originally known as the Point Gellibrand lighthouse and later served as a timeball tower from 1861 to 1926.

Many such towers were built, but they have not survived to anything like the degree that historic lighthouses have. Today, working timeball towers are extremely rare; apart from the one at Point Gellibrand there is a working timeball tower at Greenwich in London and only three others in the world. It is undoubtedly the jewel of historic Williamstown.

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