Following the Societies Annual General Meeting, John Ward will show us some of his more interesting Time Keeping devices
John Ward and Margaret Folkard are gnomonists — people who study and create sundials.
It started as a hobby for Mr Ward, which he has carried on with long into retirement.
“I was a physicist who used to work for the defence department for many years, and after I left there a friend of mine Margaret Folkard and I decided to take up the study of sundials,” he said.
Mr Ward has since made sundials for people and places across the world, and his work can be seen in Saudi Arabia, Texas, Brazil, Japan, and the Sydney Botanic Gardens.
Mr Ward said the most famous person he had created a sundial for would be the Dalai Lama.
“He wasn’t allowed to accept normal presents, which people give to each other, so we decided we could give him a sundial,” he said.
“We had quite a chat with him and we sat next to him … he’s a nice friendly guy and we got on really well.”
When Ms Folkard was at school, she wanted to do all the subjects girls were not allowed to do, such as woodwork and metalwork.
She too became a physicist, but eventually pursued her dream of working in a workshop.
“I was always a bit of a weirdo, and when I got involved in sundials, I was dangerous in a workshop because I was so clumsy and so inexperienced,” she said.
She did a four-year fitter-and-turner apprenticeship to pursue her passions.
“I said to the chap who was my TAFE lecturer in third and fourth year, that out of all the students he’s ever had, I’d be the one who got the most pleasure out of my training.”
Ms Folkard delved into making sundials to create a gift for a friend who she said already had everything.
She said as she and Mr Ward were both physicists, the sundials they made were extremely accurate compared to those available in garden shops.