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There is an important history of bell-ringing in Melbourne. Melbourne's first peal of bells - six of them - were hung in St James' Cathedral in 1853, replacing an old ship's bell. These bells were rung during the funeral procession of the explorers Burke and Wills in 1863 - Australia's first state funeral. A further two bells were added in 1885.
A group of miners, banking their profits from the goldfields, saw the bells being hung and decided to stay in town to form a team of ringers. One of them was Charles Crang, an experienced bellringer from Somersetshire, England.
They are still rung by a band of volunteers in the centuries-old tradition of change-ringing. A vital part of Melbourne's living heritage, the bells are rung on many Sunday mornings before worship, at weddings and funerals. The team of bell ringers practise on Friday nights, and welcome people interested in learning the art of campanology.
Source Facebook -Friends of St James' Old Cathedral, Melbourne
They also have a Festival of Bells coming up in June. The festival day will feature new music from some of Australia's pre-eminent composers. All compositions, include and evoke the sound of bells.
These performances will involve the tower bells, the Federation Handbells, singers from the Newlands Choir, and the Roslyn McKenzie Mini Ring, a portable set of full-circle change-ringing bells - the only mini-ring in Melbourne.
Program 1. Laura of the Bells Sean Williams
2. The Bells Alexandra L. Uitdenbogerd 3. A Peal for Climate Change Ros Bandt 4. Bells Hoarding Grace Jena Capes
5. Polperro Christina Green
6. Angel of Hope Jacqui Rutten
7. A Triple Palindromic Bob in Doubles
Children over the age of nine are well suited to mini-bell ringing, so it could be a new interest for children. It's also a great family activity -often children learn more quickly than their parents.
This is a family day. The festival includes guided tours of the belltower and the historically significant cathedral building, an introduction to the history and science of bellringing, a chance to try bellringing, activities for children, and a sausage sizzle.
St James Old Cathedral is near the Flagstaff Gardens. If you wander over to Victoria Market as well, you can have a unique day out.