Repairs to Camperdown's iconic tower not running like clockwork

Major renovations to Camperdown’s iconic clock tower will take longer and cost more than expected after restoration work uncovered the need for further repairs.

Corangamite Shire councillors have approved additional funds for the work, which will include extra copper cladding for the conical-shaped pinnacles; new cedar cladding for the roof; repairing and replacing the clock faces; rebuilding mouldings around the clock faces; and cleaning the clock arms.

Acting facilities and recreation manager Jane Hinds said the historic clock tower’s rotting cedar roof would be treated, then covered with new copper cladding.

“We want to preserve as much of the heritage timber as possible so it will be covered with plywood, rather than replacing large sections with new material,” she said.

“There are builders’ notes from 1955 when some of the original cedar lining boards were replaced, and chalk lines showing the set-out of the roof. It’s a really interesting time capsule.

“This suggests the copper was last replaced 63 years ago and, with modern techniques, the new roof should last even longer.”

Corangamite Shire gave the green light to Melbourne-based Abode Restoration to carry out the works for $327,000 in late March. The 121-year-old landmark has been hidden behind scaffolding since renovations began in May.

The new works are unlikely to exceed the total $424,830 set aside for the clock tower, but the project will take longer.

It is expected to be complete within the next three months, rather than the nine weeks first set aside for the project.

When works first got under way, mayor Jo Beard said the clock faces were showing their age, while cracks in the rendering and mortar and a leaking roof were also of concern.

“The clocktower is a beautiful icon of Camperdown, a visitor attraction, a link to our heritage and a practical timepiece for locals and those passing through on the highway,” Cr Beard said.

The 31.4-metre-tall brick tower was built in memory of Thomas Peter Manifold, who died in a hunting accident in 1895 at the age of 32.

It was designed in gothic style by Camperdown architect Michael McCabe and built by Melbourne builder Peter Rodger.

The clock was built by Fritz Ziegler, of T. Gaunt and Co., of Melbourne, with the tower’s bells custom forged in London.