"Mr. Tornaghi for the Sydney Observatory has also constructed numbers of tide-gauges, standard barometers, self-registering barometers, micrometer eye-pieces, and numberless other instruments of importance."
Tornaghi was born Milan in 1831 and arrived in Sydney in 1858 to supervise the adjustment of the Negretti & Zambra instruments ordered by Sydney Observatory.
This turret clock mechanism was probably made in England during the 1880s before being imported by Tornaghi to Australia. Clock mechanisms were often imported as it was cheaper to import them than make them locally. Tornaghi was responsible mainly for the installation and construction of the cabinets.
In the late 1800s Tornaghi won contracts with the New South Wales government and as a result many of his smaller clocks mounted in government offices. His larger turret clocks were installed in Post Offices at Albury, Orange, Forbes, Maitland, Lismore, Tamworth, Dubbo and Yass.
Although there are no records of its use at Sydney Observatory it appears this clock mechanism was used to drive a telescope or chronograph. This instrument remains of national significance due to its pioneering role in Australian science and its association with Australia's earliest astronomers. It is also significant for its association with local nineteenth century instrument makers.
By Geoff Barker, Assistant Curator, Total Asset Management Project, March 2008
Australian Men of Mark, Volume 2, Charles F. Maxwell, Elizabeth Street, Melbourne, 1889
Maguire, Roslyn, 'Angelo Tornaghi; an inventive Italian of the nineteenth century, in The Australian Antique Collector, number 29, 1985
Eccles, Daniel, Powerhouse Museum Blue File, 1997