Model Strasbourg Clock by Sydney Boon, 1915

While researching Tasmanian clock and watchmakers, I found an article in The Examiner on 26 February 1917. It stated Mr Sydney Boon made a ‘magic clock’ on view at the Longford Summer Show.

Described as ‘most cleverly worked out,’ it stood ‘6 feet high and 3 feet wide, it told the days of the weeks, dates of the month, months of the year, and the different phases of the moon. A globe of the earth revolves slowly every 24 hours. The four stages of man were shown, also the angels of life and death. At the side was a spiral stairway of 48 steps and two landings. The figures of our Saviour and six of the Apostles, and Satan, move by clockwork springs, as do all the other representative figures. The work does great credit to the ingenuity of the designer.’

After reading the article, I wondered where the clock could be now. It sounded amazing! Surely a clock of this importance and size must be somewhere. So that started me on a hunt to find the clock. I checked with a few antique dealers, asking if they had ever heard of such a clock, to no avail, so I decided to investigate Sydney Boon. Maybe one of his descendants had it.

Sydney lived at Longford, so I talked to a local historian for the Longford area, and he told me, yes, I know the clock; it’s on display at Clarendon House, out the back in the local history room.

So, Sallie and I went out to find it. From a clockmaker’s view, I was a little disappointed because the construction materials seemed to be whatever was at hand at the time: clock movements, kerosene boxes, etc. But it was a marvel in its day and toured Tasmania in the 1930s for all to see.

© Graham Mulligan 2022

BOON, Sydney Roy
Born 25 June 1893, Palmerston, Cressy district
Parents: Arthur Edwin and Margaret Boon (formerly Downey)
Employment: Bicycle business owner at Evandale, bootmaking business with his father, engineering work at A G Webster and Sons, road roller driver with the Longford Council, and his own engineering business at Longford.
Marriages: 23 December 1925, Methodist Church, Evandale, to Pearl Florence Maclean, (d. 19 October 1941).
22 April 1944, Methodist Church, Longford, to Sylvia Alice Baker (b. Tubb).
Other: Constructed a model steam engine, exhibited at the Launceston Exhibition.
Died: 7 November 1944, Launceston
Funeral: 10 November 1944, Longford Methodist Cemetery

TAHO: RGD33/1/76 no1363 Birth 1893, File No. 1151 Names Indexes: 1968141 Marriage 1925, AD961/1/19 Will No. 6948 1945.
Web: National Trust Tasmania,
The Examiner (Launceston) 20 October 1941, 28 April 1944, 11 November 1944.