The heaviest set of six bells in Australia have rung in unison for the first time today to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the Peace Treaty that was signed in Versailles on 28 June 1919.
The Treaty of Versailles officially brought World War I to an end.
The peace bells are situated in the War Memorial Bell Tower at the Anglican Parish of Bundaberg’s Christ Church and were a part of a project 90 years in the making.
Parish Council and Church Bells Committee member Russell Cobb said the project culminated in a special service at Christ Church today with the bells on show for all to hear.
“Our bells went up into the tower in April,” he said.
“In the last few months we have been adding ropes and wheels and all of the bits and pieces necessary to make them ring.
“These are bells that ring in the English style, pulling on a rope.”
Hundreds of people packed the pews of Christ Church for the special ceremony before spilling out on the street to listen to the bells ring for the very first time at this morning's service.
Six peace bells commemorate end of war
Mr Cobb said the six peace bells were a special part of the service, commemorating the 100th anniversary of the end of the war.
“We have all grown up knowing that the Great War finished on the 11 November 1918, and that's true; the cannons stopped and the bullets stopped firing,” he said.
“But the official end of the war didn't occur until the 28 June in 1919.
“At the palace of Versailles, all of the nations that participated in the war came to sign the Peace Treaty.”
Mr Cobb said there had always been a vision for the War Memorial Tower to include six full-circle ringing bells as part of its design.
“It has been a vision that has taken 90 years to come to an end,” he said.
“It is exciting to be doing something our mothers and fathers wanted from the beginning.”
Of the six bells, Mr Cobb said the heaviest weighed 748kg and the lightest weighed 225kg.
“The four other bells are all smaller but still very considerable in size,” he said.
“They are the heaviest peal of six bells in Australia and there are only three other churches in Queensland that have full-circle ringing bells.”
Community involvement and support
Mr Cobb said it had taken the support and involvement of many people to get the peace bells to Bundaberg and constructed in the bell tower.
“Its been a wonderful undertaking and a really energising experience,” he said.
“People have been wonderfully generous. We have had some support from both the State and Federal Government.
“We have also had support from parishioners, the community and the bell ringing community who are a very passionate group of men and women.
“It has been exciting to have this project under way.”