SIMPSON Francis (Frank)

Name Francis (Frank) SIMPSON
Country Of Origin New Zealand
Born 1869
Died 1958
Birth/ Baptism Born 1869, Hokitika, New Zealand
Parents Francis and Jemima Simpson
Apprenticeship John Sparrow, Brisbane Street, Launceston
Skills Clockmaker, Watchmaker, Jeweller, Optician
Work Locations Launceston
Street Address
Brisbane Street, Launceston
Charles Street, Launceston
16 The Quadrant, Launceston
136 York Street, Launceston
Marriage/Spouse 4 August 1897, St Paul’s Church, Launceston, to Jane Mary Doran (d. 1900).

1901, Tasmania, to Bridget Murray.

Arrival Approx. 1880
Other Employers: John Sparrow, Launceston (21 years), F & W Stewart, Launceston (two years).

March 1888: Frank was noted as an apprentice of Mr J Sparrow in the local newspaper.

From 1909: Undertook maintenance of the Launceston Town clock after its installation.

Frank was responsible for tolling the bells in the clocks tower to mark the deaths of King Edward VII in 1910 and King George V in 1936.

During the great flood in Launceston in April 1929, he ‘caused the clock to strike for 30 minutes, as a prearranged warning to residents of Invermay to evacuate the danger areas.’Frank resided at 2 Cimitiere Street, where he kept a clock in every room. A report in 1944 made special mention of Frank’s ‘Cabinet of Memories,’ a miniature cabinet used to store watchmaker’s tools, and hidden away on the backs of the small drawers were diary entries of memorable events. The cabinet is still intact in 2022, owned by a Tasmanian collector.

Approx. 1913: Business partnership with Sydney Napper
(Napper and Simpson).
22 June 1914: Partnership dissolved. Sydney Napper continued at York Street under his own name.

1923: Business premises, 16 The Quadrant advertised for sale.

1942: Negotiations were undertaken with the Launceston City Council to continue maintenance of the Town Clock, resulting in an increase in salary to £18 a year.
November 1943: The Launceston Town Clock struck continuously for 14 minutes due to a small piece of metal on the striking mechanism breaking.

June 1946: Watchmaker and jeweller Walter D Eastburn relocated to Frank Simpson’s premises in The Quadrant.

December 1947: Frank announced his retirement from the custodian role of the Town Clock after 38 years.

In early 1948, Mr Barnard, Minister for Repatriation, suggested an electric winding system should be installed.
‘Since it was first stated that an electric motor to wind the clock would interfere with the electric telephone and telegraph service, 50 years had elapsed. Mr Barnard refused to believe that his suggestion was not practicable.’

1969: An electric winder was installed in the Launceston Town Clock.

SEE Hands of Time post: Frank Simpson,
The first timekeeper of the Launceston Town Clock

Death 20 November 1958, Launceston
Graham Mulligan collection.
TAHO: RGD37/1/58 no501 Marriage 1897; AD960/1/88 1959.
Web: Findmypast: New Zealand Birth, 1869/24345; Ancestry: Australia Marriage Index 1901.
The Examiner (Launceston) 8 March 1888, 16 October 1900 [Jane Simpson], 23 June 1914, 20 July 1942, 21 July 1942, 10 November 1943, 15 June 1946, 3 February 1948; Daily Telegraph 29 August 1913, 10 October 1923; The Mercury (Hobart) 3 February 1944, 10 December 1947.