Fort Scratchley Historic Site open 6 days a week...10am to 4pm...closed Tuesdays ...Free Entry to site ... paid guided tours of tunnels available at 10.30, 11.30, 1.05, 1.40...last tour 2.30pm...3.45pm LAST gate entry

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.



The Fort is open 6 days a week, (closed Tuesday) from 10am to 4pm.

Admission and self guided tours (excluding tunnels) of the Fort is free.

Society’s Office

Ph: (02) 4929 3066



Self guided Fort Tour