Celebrating South Australia


1 February 1932 Time Ball - Semaphore

 1 February 1932   Time Ball - Semaphore

On 1 February 1932 the service of the Time Ball at Semaphore ceased to operate. 

The service of signalling the correct time by the dropping of a ball in the tower was begun in the Signal Station on 2 August 1875. This service was crucial for ships' captains to check the accuracy of their chronometers. The signalman raised the large black ball to halfmast at five minutes to 1 pm and to the 13 foot masthead at three minutes to the hour. At precisely 1 p.m. the Government Astronomer in the Observatory on West Terrace (near the Adelaide High School) would push an electric button which activated the mechanism to drop the ball at Semaphore. In 1920 another time ball was placed on top of the dome of the Harbors Board building in Port Adelaide. This service also ceased in 1932. The tower at Semaphore has recently been restored.

Dorothy Smith, 'The Signal Station', The First 100 Years of Semaphore, pp. 30-32.