By Casey Neill
Drum Theatre’s landmark clock tower didn’t always feature a clock.
The Lonsdale Street building started life as the Dandenong Town Hall in 1890.
Greater Dandenong Council’s Bridget Flood said there weren’t the funds to install a clock in the John Beswicke-designed tower at the time.
“That was very similar to a lot of town halls,” she said.
“They built the town hall and the clock was installed years later.”
Dandenong raised funds for the feature at jubilee celebrations in 1933.
It was installed the following year and struck 117 times on the night it was unveiled.
“Someone had to go up there and turn it off,” Ms Flood said.
“The clock would just go haywire in the middle of the night.
“People used to have to go down there and turn it off.”
Guests at the hotel across the street used to complain, and the caretaker living in the hall had to endure the incessant chiming.
Ms Flood said lightning had struck the clock on several occasions and in November 1982 four youths risked their lives to scale the tower and smashed the clock face.
But the timepiece has endured and is a recognisable Dandenong feature.
Ms Flood said the tower space wasn’t open to the public, so the Journal’s images offer a rare glimpse inside.