Time is too slow for those who wait, too swift for those who fear, too long for those who grieve, too short for those who rejoice, but for those who love, time is eternity.

Henry Van Dyke

Kalgoorlie Post Office Clock Tower

At the beginning of your life, time is a commodity that is easily found. Although you cannot stop it, you can choose to squander or kill time. Towards the end of your life it is easier to lose time than find it and what you thought you owned, is simply borrowed time. As it starts to gather speed it waits for no one. Why are we obsessed with time?

Going Back in Time

There is nothing like going back to revisit the place of your childhood to get you thinking about time. As you wander around town you become aware of the passing of time as so much has changed since you were a child. It is also a sign of the times that everything seems different. Your old house and street seem so much smaller than you remembered.

Apart from the advances in technology – there are now traffic lights on every corner and much more traffic on the roads, time races by at an alarming pace.

Having thought I would spend a few quiet days with plenty of time on my hands, I became a tourist and quickly got caught up in rushing from one attraction to another. I did spend some reflective time out in the bush where time seems to stand still. It was the same native vegetation, red earth and vast blue skies that I remembered.

As a child I had felt at peace in this familiar environment. Sadly, now I felt no real connection to my roots or the place of my birth. It was disappointing that I now felt like a tourist with no intimate attachment to my surroundings.

Comforting Chimes

A Childhood Attachment

As I quietly lamented this fact, I became aware of a faint sound in the distance which was so familiar it took me back many years. As the Post Office Clock chimed the hour, I suddenly felt a huge emotional attachment to these chimes. A part of the child in me had been left behind in this town after all. 

These sounds that had connected to the child were calling out to me now. I eagerly waited to hear the chiming of the quarter hour. They didn’t disappoint as they rang out the half hour, three quarter and of course the next hour. I listened in the middle of the night and took great joy in knowing where I was in the space of time. 

As a child I lived within hearing range of this clock and remembered taking great comfort in listening to the chimes especially at night.  Often scared of the dark, I lay there waiting to find out what time it was, comforted to know that it would only be a few more hours until daylight again.

Until now I had not realized what an important part this clock had played in my life. It probably explains why I am such an obsessive clock watcher and cannot get by without a wristwatch.

Iconic Clock Tower, Hannan St Kalgoorlie

An Historic Icon

Since the Kalgoorlie Post Office clock was first built in 1901, many residents have been tuning their watches to this Goldfields icon. Built by the government architect J H Grainger, the Kalgoorlie Public Buildings which housed the 30-metre clock tower also included the post office, the mines department, the courts, and police district office.

A recognised Kalgoorlie landmark, the clock is manually wound twice a week by a local electrician who has been doing it for 36 years. Should the clock stop at any time or the timing is out, people are quick to ring up and tell him.

Nowadays people often rely on mobile phones and electronic sounds to tell them the time. It is comforting that some are still happy to be soothed by the chimes of an icon that has withstood the test of time and witnessed some amazing events in history.


  1. Frances on September 23, 2020 at 10:43 am

    ah nice to reflect on things past and what they meant to you. The past is always with us, we remember the good things and the bad things that made us who we are today. Did we improve on our beginnings.

    • Moira on September 24, 2020 at 6:03 pm

      Hi Frances

      Thanks for your input. I guess the past is an important part of who we are today. We can always reflect on what was, what is and what is about to be.


  2. Marla on September 24, 2020 at 11:33 am

    For me it’s standing on the deck of the Seattle/Winslow ferry savouring the salty, damp smell of Puget Sound and the gray blue of the sky – so different from the smells and colours of Oz. And I know I’m home.

    • Moira on September 24, 2020 at 6:01 pm

      Hi Marla

      Lovely to receive your reply. The sense of smell is supposed to be the strongest for evoking memories. I can imagine how nostalgic that scene is for you with the salty damp smell of the Sound.


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