Esperance and Sunshine

After 2 days of crossing from the border to Norsemen we arrived in Esperance to brilliant sunshine. We were able to get around in shirt sleeves and setup camp. The park is a great one as the managers have a Labrador who is very friendly and loved a cuddle from two dog starved travellers. We had a quick drive about the town and soon found Taylors Beach Bar and Café. This is situated near the Esperance Yacht Club and the Miniature Railway.

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Within the area used by the Railway called Adventureland is a clock tower. The Tower is rather striking in its appearance with two tone brickwork in a European style

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It is quite impressive and I wondered why I hadn’t noticed it on previous visits. There is nothing attached or around it tells anything of its history or why it is here. Calling up Dr. Google I found an article detailing the erection of a renaissance-style cloisters veranda in 2013. It appears that the clock tower was initiated by Esperance Miniature Railway Club members Bob Jones, Dave Kyle and George Dutton. These guys have also erected granite pillars and tiling around the grounds. two 250kg Greek caryatid statues that were made in Esperance are attached to two corners. Areas have been incorporated so that later add an automaton to the west face of the tower, featuring small bronze statues based on caricatures of local identities.

“It will be a bit like the London Court clock face where two knights come charging out on the hour and they glare at each other and go back into the tower when the clock stops chiming,” he said. “They will troop around from one side in front of the tower and then they will go back on the other side.

“While they are going past, there will be suitable music from the bells and we are sure this will become a really good tourist attraction just for that part of the clock tower.”

Mr Jones said the clock tower would be unique once it was finally finished and would be the only mechanical clock to be built in Australia for more than 70 years.

He said it was an organic project, with the group coming up with new ideas all the time.

“We finish one project and three more eventuate,” he said.

Mr Kyle said the clock tower started in 2005 as a replacement project for an old shed that housed the society’s locomotives and wagons.

He said the team were putting the last of the caryatid statues up on the corners of the tower, putting the rest of the hands on the clocks and doing the rest of the bronzework at the site.

He said caryatids were Greek sculpted female figures serving as ornamental architectural supports.

They comprise eight main castings made from bronze and several minor castings including the arms, head and bonnet, which were cast at Mr Kyle’s shed.

Mr Kyle said automatons were features of very old clocks.

He said the tower design covered the Greek, Roman and Renaissance influences of western architecture.

“We are incorporating some of the better elements of the older designs and we are adding bits on as we go – it’s still developing,” he said.

“We wanted something that could last for hundreds of years and it had to be a style that wasn’t going to date.”

Mr Kyle said the group was also considering incorporating some Aboriginal designs into the project as it evolved.

“It’s ongoing and it’s nowhere near finished,” he said.

(Courtesy of Tim Slater – The West Australian on May 9, 2014,)

As you may be able to see this project may be a bit of a folly as it has some writing around where the automaton will be, in what maybe Latin “Respici Post Te Mortalis Te Ess Memorium” which may mean your memorials will last longer than your mortal life. If you have a better translation, please let me know. Also one of the windows has “IM LEE HERAROM” which I cannot find a reference to.

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