THEY turned back time when the clock struck one on Wednesday.
For the first time in almost 100 years, a field gun was fired from Fort Scratchley to coincide with the dropping of the time ball atop Customs House.
The practice, which began in Newcastle in 1878, was part of seafaring tradition.
At ports around the world in the 19th century, the time ball and firing of the guns at 1pm allowed sea captains to set their timepieces and navigational instruments.
‘‘It went through to about 1915 when the last of the small guns was pulled out of the fort, so this is all about trying to bring that tradition back to Newcastle’’ said Frank Carter, president of the Fort Scratchley Historical Society.
The gun will fire at 1pm every Saturday and Sunday, as well as the first Monday of every month.
But Mr Carter said he and members of the historical society hoped a benefactor would support them and help make the time gun a daily tradition.