AN IMPORTANT artefact of Newcastle's history was returned home yesterday almost 23 years after it left.
On December 28, 1989, the city was devastated by a 5.6-magnitude earthquake at 10.27am.
At that exact time a clock fell from an office in Newcastle Customs House and stopped forever.
Yesterday it was presented to Newcastle Museum by Customs and Border Protection history officer Kerry Hannan after he found it stored away in a Canberra cupboard.
It is the first customs object to arrive at the museum and will take its place among other remnants in the Newcastle Earthquake exhibition.
"It's finally coming home," Mr Hannan said.
"No one quite knows how it got to Canberra but it's here now. It's been missing ever since the earthquake."
Newcastle Museum director Belinda Betts said she was delighted to receive another piece of Newcastle history.
"The earthquake is obviously a significant event and it was one of the major impacts on Newcastle in modern times," she said.
Mr Hannan also presented a series of books filled with newspaper clippings to Newcastle Region Library manager David Jenkins.
The collection features clippings from 1960 to 1984, mainly relating to the commercial history of the city.
"The wealth of information to be meticulously collected over that time is just a godsend," Mr Jenkins said.