On this day …….. 31st of January 1798
Governor John Hunter was Governor of New South Wales from 1795 to 1800. Present on the First Fleet, and instrumental in the development of the colonies in both Sydney and Norfolk Island, Hunter succeeded Australia’s first Governor, Arthur Phillip on the 11th of September 1795. Hunter experienced great opposition to his authority, especially when Lieutenant Governor Francis Grose allowed the military to have too much control over the convicts. Regardless, Hunter sought to implement order in the colony, initiating new construction and works in Sydney and Parramatta. In 1797, Hunter commissioned the building of Australia’s first public clock tower, after the HMS ‘Reliance’ brought the clock to Sydney on the 26th of June 1797. The 150-foot tall tower was erected on Church Hill, one of the most elevated locations in Sydney, and completed in January 1798. On this day in 1798, the clock was positioned on the tower in front of a small gathering. The building served not only as a clock tower, but as an observation tower for members of the military who had an interest in scientific pursuits.