Australian Historical Art Fund & Heritage Government Residences

Regulator Longcase Clock, C.1810

James McCabe (1748-1811), London, England

Formerly the property of William Stewart (1769-1854), Lieutenant Governor of New South Wales, who lived at 'Strath', Mount Pleasant, Bathurst Plains, NSW. The clock is reputedly the first longcase clock to have been carted across the Blue Mountains and inland. It was presented to The Australiana Fund in 1978, in memory of Stewart Jamieson, great-grandson of Major-General William Stewart.

The clock face is inscribed 'James McCabe Royal Exchange London'. James McCabe was born c.1748 in Ireland, in a small town south of Belfast. He was the youngest of four brothers, Thomas, William, John and James, all following their father, Patrick, into the family trade of clock and watch making. He moved to London in the 1775 to set up his own business in Royal Exchange.

After his death in 1811 his son James McCabe (Jnr.) took over the business and the business became renowned for high quality watches and time pieces.

1978.11 2

Skeleton Clock, c.1835

Francis Abbott (1799-1883)
Brass, steel, wood and glass
Height: 29cm

Skeleton clock manufacture, devised to display the clockmaker's skill, began in England around 1820 in imitation of earlier French clocks. This skeleton clock has a single train, an eight day movement, a modified recoil anchor escapement within a scrolled frame and is mounted on a rosewood base. It was made by Francis Abbott, a clockmaker who was transported to Hobart in 1844 for "obtaining two watches under false pretences". The clock is signed "Francis Abbott, Manchester" where it was made prior to Abbott's conviction.


Long Case Clock

Long Case Clock, 1827
James Oatley (1770-1839)
Height: 225cm

James Oatley is the most highly regarded of Australia's clock and watchmakers of the early days of the colony of N.S.W. Oatley came to Sydney in 1815 as a convict for stealing bed linen in England. Appointed by Governor Macquarie as the Keeper of the Town Hall Clock, Oatley was employed to install the still functioning turret clock in the pediment of the Hyde Park Barracks in Macquarie Street. After 1803, long case clocks could be purchased in Australia, but they were imported clock movements installed in locally made cases.


This selection represents a small sample of our collection. Our book detailing the collection is currently out of print.
An updated edition has been published in 2017.
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