Time Gun and the Time Ball
A time ball is an obsolete time signaling device. It consists of a large, painted wooden or metal ball that is dropped at a predetermined time and in Newcastle installed on the Old Customs House tower (opposite Newcastle railway station) and in conjunction with the firing of the Time Gun at Fort Scratchley to enable navigators to verify their marine chronometers from their ships offshore. Accurate time keeping is one means by which longitude can be determined at sea.
Although the use of time balls has been generally relegated to history in favour of modern technology such as electronic time signals, some time balls have remained operational as landmarks of their regions, as is the case in Newcastle.
The Fort has in its collection a '2 Pounder' muzzle loaded field gun, that is fired on a daily basis as a TIME GUN indicating the hour 1 p.m. (13:00 hrs) on all days except Tuesdays, weather permitting and is a spectacular photo opportunity.