Semaphore Timeball

The Semaphore Time Ball Tower was in use 1875-1932 and is the only such tower in the State. It is significant for its uniqueness and for being a relic of the era before wireless telegraphy when the accuracy of vessels’ chronometers was checked by ‘rating’ them against time balls in major ports.

The Semaphore Time Ball was dropped at a specific time each day by an electric impulse transmitted by landline from the Adelaide Observatory. There were once at least two other time ball structures in South Australia, in Port Pirie and Port Adelaide, but both were mounted on existing buildings.

Most days you can still see the Time Ball drop at 1pm – but the tower is an old girl now so please be kind if she forgets now and then.