Skip Content


The book - "From Time Ball to Atomic Clock" - by Anthony Dyson of Information Service Department, traces the general history of meteorology as a science, particularly in China, where much early work was done and important discoveries made.

The initial suggestion for the establishment of an Observatory in Hong Kong was made in 1879 and by the summer of 1883 two men - Dr. William Doberck, the Government Astronomer, and his assistant, Frederick Figg - had arrived in Hong Kong. They formally began work on January 1, 1884.

A time service for mariners was established in Tsim Sha Tsui, where a large time ball was dropped each day at 1 pm. The time ball - later moved to Signal Hill - was used until 1933. More recently, the Observatory time service has been supplied by an atomic clock.

Apart from many details on the Observatory's historical development, the publication, with six pictorial sections and many illustrations, provides information on typhoons, the Japanese occupation of Hong Kong and the installation of modern scientific devices.

The publication is available at $34.00 a copy from the online Government Bookstore and the Publications Sales Unit of the Information Services Department.