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The Bells

You can listen to a podcast of a talk on the Bells of St. Paul's Geelong!

https://wng.org/podcasts/keeping-tradition-ringing-1648008400

Bell Ringing

   The bells of St Paul's are rung before the 10.30 Sunday morning service and for weddings and funerals. There is a regular practice every Monday evening from 6.30 to 8.00.

   Bell ringing is good fun! It is a group activity that combines physical co-ordination and mental alertness to produce a unique sound on one of the oldest and loudest musical instruments in the world. The combination of mental and physical skills, teamwork and the rich sounds that are produced ensures a lifetime of enjoyment. The team is always looking for new members. Free training is offered and visitors are always welcome to sit in on a session or to take an introductory lesson.

Our Team
At present we have 5 enthusiastic ringers who come from a wide range of backgrounds and interests, but as we have 8 bells to ring, we are looking for more people to join our team!

Many regard ringing as part of their Christian service but religious observance is not an essential qualification. We have taught people from as young as 8 and as old as 70. We often have visitors from overseas who make our belfry their adopted tower when visiting relatives and we have frequent visiting ringers from other towers. One of the exciting things about bell ringing is the opening it gives for making new friends around the world. Ringers with basic skills are always made welcome in any tower where change ringing is practised.

   There is a world-wide association of bell ringers and the St Paul's group is a branch of the Australian and New Zealand Association of Bellringers. www.anzab.org.au

The Bells and Their Weights

   The eight bells were cast in 1864 by Mears and Stainbank of London and were restored and re-dedicated by Archbishop Dann on 25/07/1982.

   The weights are as follows (cwt.qr.lb)

1 3.3.12 196kg
2 4.1.14 222kg
3 4.3.12 247kg
4 5.3.0 292kg
5 6.1.2 318kg
6 7.3.2 395kg
7 9.2.10 487kg
8 13.0.9 665kg

More About Bell Ringing

   Music takes many forms and while it is easy to show some mathematical structure in scales and rhythm, nothing beats the English form of bellringing known as change ringing for pure mathematical elegance.

   The aim in change ringing is to ring a set of permutations without repetition or pause entirely by memory by a band of bellringers. It is a unique mix of music, physical sport, teamwork and mathematics.

   Change ringing had it's beginnings as early as the fourteenth century. As many as three bells would have been in a church steeple, forming a combination church and secular public address system. The bellringers also found that by swinging a bell rather than hitting it with a clapper, the bell was able to ring clearly. Over time bells began to be swung higher and higher until eventually a mechanism was developed to allow bells to be swung full-circle as they are today. This has the advantage of timing control.

   Each bell swings full circle but does so in a forward and reverse direction. On one swing the rope wraps around the wheel and on the other it is full length in the ringer's hand. The two strokes allow bellringers to follow what is happening by watching the ropes around them as well as listening to the bells.

   Over the centuries bell mechanism has improved significantly with the introduction of steel frames and roller bearings. The number of bells in a tower has increased to a typical ring of six or eight and in some cases twelve or even sixteen. A systematic method of bell tuning was developed around 1900 bringing bells and their harmonics into standard tuning.

   The ultimate bellringing marathon is the Pel in which all 5040 permutations of 7 bells are rung in sequence without pause or interchange, entirely from memory. This can take from 3 to 4 hours.

   To find out more; search for 'Change Ringing' online.

Contacts

Role Phone Email
David Heyes 03 5243 9451 dmheyes@iinet.net.au
Emily Nation 0430 436 711 em.nat@outlook.com