Bells in the Bellfrey

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The significance of our Peal of six bells on the Melbourne landscape of Churches.

St James Brighton/Gardenvale/Elsternwick is the only Church the south side of the Yarra River - which weaves itself through the grand city of Melbourne, that has bells and we do not need to even state Catholic Church. I elected to be trained as a bell ringer at St Paul’s Cathedral before undertaking my management of the design and construction of the bell tower for St James. I did this to ensure all of the technical issues were addressed in the design and commissioning of St James Bell Tower.

A key feature of St James Church Bells is the sound dampers, which as I understand is a unique feature to the list below. The St Patrick Cathedral bell-ringers practice Tuesday evenings. St. Paul's Cathedral ringers in the city have training mid-week and due to their location there is no complaints, in fact it adds a great quality to city life midweek. However, the neighbourhood fabric of St James does not provide this luxury so sound dampers are necessary and the technical challengers were many, all of which were overcome in the design. The lourves you see are not sound lourves but are fixed, however inside there are two very large horizontal heavy doors that are opened to allow the sound to come out of louvers to be shared by all.

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All work was completed on time and well below budget due to the delivery method and on completion a local lady from Brighton donated the full cost of the works. A memorial plaque explaining this has been erected in the narthex of the Church.

The following list of six Churches provided by St Paul's Cathedral Bell Captain outlines the bell towers in our great city:

  1. St Paul’s Cathedral Melbourne has the world's second oldest complete ring of 12 bells
  2. St Patrick’s Cathedral Melbourne peal of eight bells were imported in 1853 from Dublin by Archbishop Goold. They were cast by Murphy's bell foundry and are believed to be the only ring of eight bells cast by Murphy that are still in operation today
  3. St James Church King St Melbourne peal of eight bells (bells are named after people of the early settlement and the early days of the church)
  4. St Pius X Heidelberg West peal of eight bell
  5. St James Brighton peal of six bells
  6. St Bartholomew’s Burnley has six of its bells hung for 'full circle' ringing and two are chimed

A further note is the gold plated cross on the spiral, which would normally not be done, however with my background with construction a painted or unpainted cross would have been the wrong decision.

We can proudly state St James is the only bell tower south of the Yarra River.

Mr John Reddie
Parishioner and member of the Parish Stewardship Committee

Bell Ringers

You can arrange to have the Church Bells rung for your occasion, whether it be for a Wedding, Funeral, Baptism, etc.  To engage the services of our Bell Ringers, please contact Pat Cole - 03 9557 8731 or
Robyn Silver - 03 9592 3956.  

There is a fee attached to this service; payment is made directly to the Bell Ringers, for this service.