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Big decisions for Carterton’s Big Ben!

The once heralded “Carterton’s Big Ben” has been under repair this year after a seismic assessment in 2015 identified the structure as being earthquake prone.

Once the strengthening work is complete, the tower will need to be repainted, providing a unique opportunity to review the identity of our town’s icon.

The Council’s Place Making Advisory Group has worked hard to come up with three colour options for the Carterton community to vote on. The three design options are the status quo (white and grey), a colour scheme that embraces the 1960s architecture of the tower, and a bold and vibrant rainbow colour scheme. All options cost the same and will be paid for out of the existing budget.

How the voting process will work

The colour scheme which receives the most votes will determine the final design. There is one vote per household in Carterton, with your official voting token in the September edition of the Carterton Crier. Please bring this token to the Events Centre reception and place in one of the three boxes which corresponds to the design you want to vote for. Please fill out your contact details on the token for the purpose of eliminating duplicate votes. Only cut-out tokens from this edition of the Crier will be accepted as a formal vote. Voting is available Mon – Fri 9.30am – 5pm and Sat 10am – 4pm from 14th September until 5th October.

Landscaping and lighting potential

Once the clock tower has been painted, there is future potential for ground lighting, tower lighting and could be repainted every few years, funded through external grants. We may be able to expose the bells on two sides using perspex panels, if the engineering of the structure allows for it. The landscaping image above indicates some of the future design concepts for the area surrounding the clock tower.

All three options have the potential for exposed panels and lighting but would require external funding yet to be sourced.


Below are your three colour options!

What’s the situation with potential clock tower lighting?

We know there have been a lot of great ideas out there about what should happen with our town clock, some of which we would love to carry out. However, at this stage we only have the budget to repaint the clock tower structure.


Any additional promises of exposed panels and lighting are extremely premature – we have not confirmed the engineering of the structure allows for exposed panels and we have not secured any of the required funding for internal lighting.


The council is not comfortable presenting our community with an uncertain option and allowing people to vote for it when we have no way to guarantee we can deliver it. All three design options have the potential for lighting should external funding be available. The information on this page and on our authorised two page spread in the Carterton Crier provide the accurate information regarding your clock tower vote.

Status Quo - White and Grey

The Carterton clock mechanism and tower have not always been paired as we see it today. In 1907, the clock mechanism was part of the Carterton Post Office on the corner of Library Street (now Holloway Street) and High Street.

However, the 1942 earthquake saw the demolition of the Post Office building. The clock mechanismwas moved into storage in the council yard.

In 1957 the council decided the clock was too valuable to be kept in storage and in 1962 the current clock tower was officially opened.

A vote to maintain the current colour scheme would see a revitalisation of the current off-white paint, giving the tower a refreshed and clean look and restoring its image in its present form.

Embracing the tower's 1960s architecture

This contemporary colour scheme aims to highlight and celebrate the iconic 1960’s architecture and can dynamically transform by night using low energy coloured LED lighting (funding permitted). At night coloured light could reveal the bells, inner workings & structure to create a glowing lantern in the centre of town. Carterton’s clock tower can be used to illuminate local, national & even international observances in coloured lights yellow wash for Carterton’s daffodil day & cancer awareness, or pink for breast cancer awareness. A wash of red may mark ANZAC Day.  Imagine a glowing cycle of the rainbow colours to celebrate diversity — the possibilities to create and transform the night-scape using LED lighting on Carterton’s clock tower as a canvas abound!

Rainbow Clocktower

The rainbow paint option aims to create an icon with recognition  beyond our district by creating the first rainbow clock tower in the world. It’s a bold option with the potential to attract visitors, as well as being a statement about how we view our town of eclectic, diverse and kind people. The colour scheme strives to be more than just a symbol supporting diversity and kindness – it’s about visual impact and photogenic quality to create a  must-see attraction for people to stop and remember Carterton. The design objective is to gain attention so people stop to have a look, grab a coffee, and check out the shops. The potential for flow on economic benefit to our businesses is huge. The idea behind the design is maximum  impact for minimal cost.