High time for clock tower works

Photo: Star Weekly

By Jessica Micallef

The Woodend Clock Tower is set to be restored.

Macedon Ranges council successfully obtained $30,000 from the state government’s Restoring Community War Memorials and Avenues Honour Grant Scheme.

The council will also contribute $30,000 to the refurbishment, which is expected to be completed in time for Anzac Day 2019.

The project involves roof and flagpole repairs, clock face repairs and renewal, balcony and balustrades refurbishment, external repairs and painting and an upgrade to the doors and entry steps.

Macedon Ranges council chief executive Margot Stork welcomed the funding.

“This will ensure the structure, which was constructed in 1927 will stand proudly in the streetscape for a further 90 years,” Ms Stork said.

Earlier this year a local family put forward a proposal to install an electronic sound system to add a chime or ringing bell into the clock.

Ms Stork said the proposal also included a request to acknowledge and recognise Peter O’Sullivan in some form, on the basis of a proposed undefined financial contribution to the project.

The plan was knocked back by the council.

“It was considered inappropriate to link a significant war memorial with any one individual,” Ms Stork said.

She said council officers assessed and declined the proposal because of the lack of financial commitment to the plans, historical evidence supporting the proposal and lack of support from the local RSL.

Woodend RSL president Peter Whitelaw said the clock tower was never designed or intended to have chimes.

“The Woodend and District Heritage Society researched the history of the clock and there were no records of chimes,” Mr Whitelaw said.

“The Woodend RSL considered the proposal in early 2018 to put in chimes and we deemed it inappropriate.

“It’s a registered World War One memorial … it should not be disturbed.

“Most locals wouldn’t want chimes ringing every hour on the hour.”