The simultaneous ringing of six giant church bells will soon be heard for the very first time around town when a special restoration project at the Anglican Parish of Bundaberg’s Christ Church is complete.
The War Memorial Bell Tower, located in the church on Woongarra Street, has been undergoing work to house the large full-circle ringing bells, called The Peace Bells, in April.
It’s been a project more than 80 years in the making according to The Bells Committee member and Christ Church parish councillor Russell Cobb.
“Construction of Christ Church was completed in 1927 and part of the design included a very substantial brick tower,” Mr Cobb said.
“The Parish founders had a vision for the War Memorial Tower which included six full-circle ringing bells as part of the design.
“Only one bell was ever fitted to the frame — a tenor bell which weighed 748kg.”
In order to complete the original vision of a six-bell tower, Mr Cobb and The Bells Committee undertook a feasibility study from 2014 with the parish council officially approving the project in August 2016.
The bells arrived in Bundaberg last year in time for Armistice Day.
“Construction of the walls, roof and tower at Christ Church commenced shortly after the end of the First World War to honour our servicemen and women, so it was fitting that The Peace Bells were dedicated on the Armistice Centenary,” Mr Cobb said.
“This was thanks to donations of nearly $135,000 from parishioners and friends of the project, together with funding grants of $54,000 from the Queensland Anzac Centenary Lasting Legacy grants program and the Federal Government’s Armistice Centenary Grant program.”
Now, Mr Cobb said the bells await their final destination at the top of the bell tower.
“When finally installed, Bundaberg will be home to the heaviest peal of six bells in Australia,” Mr Cobb said.
“There are only three other churches in Queensland that have full-circle ringing bells so what we have before us a unique opportunity to deliver something wonderful for our city.”
Mr Cobb said plenty of work was involved to bring the project together.
“The extra bells were cast in The Netherlands and tuned by a specialist bell foundry in England before arriving in Bundaberg,” he said.
“We have also planned for alterations to the interior of the tower to house the bells.
“Then the last step is the installation of the new bell frame and new bells which is a major undertaking requiring professional riggers and other local tradespeople.”
Mr Cobb said it was hoped the bells would be installed by April this year.
“It is exciting to be completing a project that has lain dormant for over eighty years,” he said.
“The completed tower will become a treasure of both the City and The Parish and I am honoured to be involved in such a significant project.”
The Peace Bells
- The first bell was donated in memory of Mrs Beatrice Buss- a dedicated parishioner and the wife of Mr Horace Buss.
- Horace provided the funds to develop the park we now know as Buss Park, opened in 1931.
- On the 11 November 2018, the Bundaberg bells were dedicated as The Peace Bells with each bell given its own name.
- The names honour the fruit of the Holy Spirit as described by St Paul in his letter to the Galatians.
- Existing tenor bell 748kg Peace
- Bell 5 548kg Love
- Bell 4 344kg Faithfulness
- Bell 3 331kg Joy
- Bell 2 275kg Goodness, Gentleness and Kindness
- Bell 1 254kg Patience and Self-control
- Other news: Fresh coat of paint for Christ Church steeple