No chimes for Woodend Clock Tower

Dale O'Sullivan at the Woodend Clock Tower. Photo: Marco De Luca

A local family’s push to install bells or chimes to the historic Woodend Clock Tower has fallen on deaf ears.

Father and son Dale and Tim O’Sullivan are campaigning to have an electronic sound system installed inside the tower, which is also the town’s war memorial, using a fund from Peter O’Sullivan, Tim’s grandfather.

But the idea has been knocked back by Woodend RSL and Macedon Ranges council.

The pair have also requested a plaque acknowledging Peter O’Sullivan be installed at the tower in return for the financial aid.

Tim first proposed the idea to the council in January, claiming “the public clock has remained incomplete for 92 years”.

He claims that when the Woodend community raised the money to erect the war memorial in the early 1900s, the Woodend Shire did not have enough funds to install the chimes, as was intended.

Tim said installing an electronic sound system “would be a wonderful gift … to assist public memory of the fallen etc and to tell the time”.

But all 11 Woodend Returned and Service League committee members voted against the idea at one of their meetings, according to president Peter Whitelaw.

“Woodend RSL thinks it’s a desecration of the war memorial,” he said, referring to the suggestion of installing a plaque.

Mr Whitelaw said his investigation revealed the original design of the tower did not include chimes, and he believed residents would not want the noise.

Macedon Ranges council officers have provided similar reasons for why they shut down the proposal, following consultation with Woodend RSL, councillors and the Woodend and District Heritage Society.

Council and customer service manager Stephen Mahon said there was a lack of historical evidence supporting the proposal, lack of support from Woodend RSL and lack of demonstrated need for the proposal.

He also said it was considered inappropriate to link a significant war memorial with an individual.

However, the O’Sullivans say they are determined to “save the original clock works” and install the sound system.