You are not permitted to download, save or email this image. Visit image gallery to purchase the image.
The Port Chalmers Historical Society plans to return the timeball, similar to one reopened in Lyttelton late last week, to its spot on the township’s flagstaff.
Research by Port Chalmers Maritime Museum curator Norman Ledgerwood showed the timeball began service on June 1, 1867.
At 12.45pm each day, apart from Sunday, it was hoisted at the yard-arm on the flagstaff.
Navigating officers would stand by their chronometers — used for navigation and determination of longitude — and an apprentice would stand outside watching the timeball.
At 1pm the ball would drop, the apprentice would yell " stop", and the officer would check the accuracy of the time-piece.
Once wireless radio became common the system was no longer required.
Mr Ledgerwood said he wanted the service to begin again " because it’s part of our history".
It was the first timeball in New Zealand, and it was appropriate it should return.
He said it would be popular with the likes of cruise ship visitors, tourists and those who flocked to the flagstaff to watch ships arrive.
Nautical historian Garry Bain said the flagstaff area was a focal point for the township, and the timeball had served a critical function when it was in place.
Mr Ledgerwood said an accurate estimate of the cost would be worked out, and a public fundraising campaign started.
He hoped that could start early next year.The timeball would have to be rebuilt, as the original had not been kept.
The Lyttelton timeball was reinstated last Friday after it was put out of action by the September 2010 earthquake.