The bells, the belltower, and the bellringers

Content Editor

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Welcome to visiting bellringers

Visiting bellringers are always welcome. Our normal practice time and Mass ringing time:

  • 2nd, 3rd, 4th and 5th Sundays of the month:4:30-5:30pm, followed by ringing from 5:30-6:00pm for the 6pm Mass.
  • 1st Sunday of the month: 4:00-5:00pm, followed by ringing from 5:00 - 5:30pm for the 5:30pm Mass.

Any changes to this programme will appear here.

We have training sessions for anyone wishing to learn bellringing every week.
For information contact the Tower Captain James White (jameswhite.123@hotmail.com; 0415 456149).

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The Dedication of the Ring of Bells

The Solemn Dedication of the Ring of Bells, was celebrated by Bishop Peter at the 6pm Mass on Sunday 12th November 2017 and was followed by a parish social function in the Shirley Wallace Parish Centre.

Here's a photo of Bishop Peter with many (though not all) of our bellringers and trainee bellringers of all ages:

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Continue reading below for more about the bells, along with some photos and a video

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Another Landmark for Our Bells

On Saturday 2nd December 2017 the first ‘Quarter Peal’ was rung on our bells. It was a quarter peal of 1260 changes of Grandsire Doubles which took the band 38 minutes to ring.
More details of our first and subsequent Quarter Peals can be found on the website of the Central Council of Church Bell Ringers by clicking here.

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Would you like to learn bellringing?

We now have a large number of parishioners ranging from primary school age, through secondary school age, university students and parents who are learning to become bellringers.
If you'd be interested or would just like to find out more contact Father Colin.

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Background to the bells

In October 2015 our parish received a letter from Thomas Perrins, Vice- President of the Australia and New Zealand Association of Bellringers (ANZAB) proposing that a ring of five bells be placed in the tower of Holy Family Church at Lindfield to enable traditional changeringing (see below) to take place.

This proposal came with the possibility of:

- donations totalling over $9000 from ANZAB and NEANZAB
- a personal donation of nearly $2000 from a member of ANZAB
- a donation from a British trust which fosters the installation of changeringing bells to the value of $3,300.
- a now confirmed donation of $5000 from another trust which seeks to support the continuation of the traditional art of church bellringing.
With around $18,000 being offered to the parish we would have been foolish indeed to ignore this project. No parish funds were used for this project. The funds have come entirely from the above grants and donations along with many generous donations from parishioners (parishioner donations have totalled $16000).
The existing bell has been retained for its purpose as a Service bell, for the ringing of the Angelus, and for the Consecration.

Our bells are a lightweight ring of bells and so produce a melodious rather than a cacophonous sound and since we have installed sound controlling shutters in the tower they can only be heard within the church when practising and training is taking place. When ringing for Mass is taking place the shutters are opened.

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The ringers
In the meantime we have been very blessed that no less than eight of our young adults have been learning bellringing (at first at other towers, now at our own) since late 2016 and are now increasingly proficient.

002260_ccdd[Left & below: some of our student bellringers – drawn equally from both communities in our parish.]

Several other positives to be noted: our young adults have been learning thanks to the generosity of a number of bellringers (including a number from Anglican towers) who have given up their time every week to teach them; we also have saved enormously on costs due to the voluntary work by outside bellringers who have spent dozen of hours constructing the frame for the bells; and finally our Additional bellringersyoung adults 002293_ddbdhave had lots of fun, have been challenged to learn a complex new set of skills, and have grown closer in the process. As of October 2017 we have been delighted to have a whole new bunch of learners - children from upper primary and lower seconday, upper secondary students, and several parents. We are also blessed that Judy Dearn, a long-time parishioner, has re-discovered her long lost bellringing skills and is now a regular ringer both here in our parish and at Naremburn.

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The bells

The bells arrived in the parish from England on 11th April 2017. They were blessed at the 6pm Mass on Sunday 7th May 2017 by Fr Colin (see photos below). The bells are pictured below:

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Each of the bells has been inscribed, according to tradition, in honour of a saint:

The Treble (No. 1 – the lightest bell in the note of B)) is to be dedicated in honour of St Brigid¸ recalling that the Brigidine Sisters taught in our parish school for so many years and honouring and remembering their work. St Brigid was renowned for her care for the poor. May the sound of this bell remind us of our own call to be people with a passion for justice.

No. 2 bell (in the note of A): is to be dedicated in honour of St Aelred of Rievaulx, both because St Aelred was a Cistercian monk and so forms a link to our parish retreats at Tarrawarra Abbey, and because of a personal bias I must confess - the ruins of Rievaulx Abbey in Yorkshire are a hauntingly beautiful place and a personal place of pilgrimage. St Aelred gifted us with his beautiful adaptation of the words of 1 John ‘God is love’ – ‘God is friendship’. May the sound of this bell call us to that friendship with God in the depths of our hearts.

No. 3 bell (in the note of G#) will be dedicated in honour of St Benedict, another link to our parish retreats at Tarrawarra Abbey, which follows the Rule of St Benedict. It is also appropriate since the heart of the monastic spirituality gifted to the Church by St Benedict is the seven-times-daily call to prayer – usually done by the ringing of a bell! It speaks then of the rythmn of prayer which is to be part of every disciple’s life.
The first word in St Benedict’s Rule is ‘Listen’. The disciple is called to listen for the call of God in all things. May the sound of this bell call us to that deep listening for God’s voice in our world.

No. 4 bell (in the note of F# will be dedicated in honour of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, the title under which Our Lady is patron of our church at Killara. May its sound remind us be people whose lives imitate the joyful acclamation of Mary as she carried the Word within her:
‘My soul glorifies the Lord,
my spirit rejoices in God my saviour’ (Luke 1:46).


The Tenor (No. 5 - the heaviest bell - in the note of E) will be dedicated to the patron of the church in which it’s found, the Holy Family of Nazareth. May its sound call us into community of life, a family of faith, with our brothers and sisters.

002275_cbfd‘St Benedict’ is also inscribed in memory of J.J. Cummins and its cost was donated by ANZAB (the Australia and New Zealand Association of Bellringers). John was an elder statesman of bellringing who was Tower Captain at St Mary’s Cathedral for decades and a ringer for most of his active life. Jack died in 2016, aged 90. John was a dedicated parishioner at Holy Family Lindfield in the 1970s, living with his family in Treatts Rd. It’s a wonderful thing that a bell inscribed in his memory will ring out in his former parish church – not something he could have imagined, but something that he will now enjoy from his improved vantage point.

“Immaculate Heart” is also inscribed in memory of the first Archbishop of Sydney – John Bede Polding osb. An English Benedictine, he was responsible for bringing the first ring of changeringing bells to Australia – for the first St Mary’s Cathedral.

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The history of the bells

Four of the bells are 'second hand', though they have been re-tuned, inscribed and beautified. The fifth (Bell No. 3) was newly cast in England. You can read about the varied histories of the four old bells by clicking here.

For more on the history of the bells click here.

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002323_daaeWhat is changeringing? It is the English form of bellringing and bears no resemblance to the slapstick capers of monks in Kit Kat ads. Also known as 'full circle bellringing' it is both a physically and intellectually stimulating activity, and yet is practised by people of all ages – in Sydney ringers range from primary school aged to 90. If you would like to find out more, a visit to the tower of St Mary’s Cathedral can be arranged, or if you want something closer to home – St Leonard’s at Naremburn. Please contact me if you’d like to find out more.

(Pictured above - the wheels for the bells. In the English tradition of changeringing each bell is attached to a full-circle wheel. The bells are hung 'mouth-upwards' and are rung in a full circle to 'the point of balance', allowing control of when the bell will strike and therefore allowing the possibility of ringing pre-determined 'patterns' or changes.

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Click on the image above for a video clip of changeringing taking place at St Andrew's Cathedral in Sydney. 

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Photos from the Blessing of the Bells:

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