Wangaratta Historical SocietyNewsletters

Bells for the Cathedral
On Sunday some time ago, there was a discussion as to when the bells arrived at the Cathedral, so, having found this article in a 1977 Newsletter, I decided to reprint it and, I hope, to those who were here it brings back memories of that time.

Holy Trinity Cathedral Opening 1906
Opening of the Holy Trinity Cathedral in 1906.
This photo is from the Wangaratta Historical Society’s Photo Collection.

The arrival of the set of bells from England for Holy trinity Cathedral on 11th July, 1977 was a thrilling event of historical importance not only to the Clergy and Parishioners of Wangaratta Anglican Diocese, but also to the people of Wangaratta in General.

This ring of bells came from St. George’s Church of England, Bolton (Lancashire), and their purchase was made possible by a bequest to the cathedral back in the 1930’s, in which there was an explicit request for the purchase of a ring of bells.

The bells were cast in 1806 by the famous firm of bell makers, John Rudhall’s, of Gloustershire. Rudhall’s bells were renowned for their quality of tone, and as far as we know, the Bells of Holy Trinity Cathedral, Wangaratta, will be the only set of Rudhall bells in Australia. In fact, there must be very few places in Australia, outside the Capital Cities that have a peel of bells.

The dismantling, cleaning, retuning and refitting of the bells prior to Shipment to Australia, was carried out by the well-known firm, Whitechapel Bell Foundry, London, founded in 1570.

Apparently back in 1806, the eight bells were gifts, for each bell has cast into the metal the name of the donor. Commencing from the smallest bell, the inscription reads as follows:-

  • Bell 1: The gift of Joseph Grisdale
  • Bell 2: The gift of Rev. R. Snape
  • Bell 3: The gift of William and Betty Cooker
  • Bell 4: The gift of the Bolton Volunteer Cavalry
  • Bell 5: The gift of Jos. Horrocks, Chamber Hall
  • Bell 6: The gift of P. Ainsworth and D Bentley
  • Bell 7: The gift of Thos.and Betty Ainsworth
  • Bell 8: The gift of Peter Ainsworth, Esq., Hallawell.
It will now be necessary to erect in the Cathedral Grounds some form of tower for the bells, and as the bells are of very great weight and size, it will be a costly project, probably in the vicinity of $30,000 to $40,000. Extra equipment necessary for the setting up of the bells costing approximately $5,000 will still be needed from Whitechapel Bell Foundry.

At the Ceremony held on the Cathedral Steps on 11th July 1977, the Mayor of Wangaratta, Cr. Kevin Howard launched a Public Appeal for this project, and it is to be hoped that this appeal will meet with a very generous response.

An Appeal Committee has been formed under the Chairmanship of the Mayor, their first meeting being called for 11th August, 1977.

We look forward, in the not too distant future, to the peal of these bells ringing out over the City of Wangaratta.

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Last modified: 02 April 2014