Yesterday in Perth was so exciting that I hardly know where to start. The highlight of the day was visiting the Swan Bell Tower. Ann told us a lot about them in the Brochure she put together, but words -- And even Pictures!! -- cannot do them justice!! You just have to see them to believe them!! And the SOUND!! I may be partially Deaf, at least temporarily!! But -- It Was Worth It!!
As Ann mentioned in the Brochure, 12 of the Bells were a Gift from the Church of England when it was trading up to a new set. Until then the Bells had hung in St-Martin-In-The-Fields Church in Trafalgar Square in London. They rang at the launching of the the Explorer James Cook's Voyage which founded Australia, as well as after England's Victory over the Spanish Armada, and at every Coronation of British Monarchs since 1727. They are the ONLY set of Royal Bells known to have left England.
The other 6 Bells in the set were cast with Donated Metals which were mined in Western Australia.
The Bells are housed in a specially built 82.5 metre (271 Ft) high Copper and glass campanile known as Swan Bell Tower. It was built as part of Australia's Bicentennial Celebration in 1988 and opened December 10, 2000. More than One Million people have visited them since then.
The Tower is one of the few Millinium Projects to come in On Time and On Budget, and it is still open!!
An inlaid path of Ceramic tiles surround the Tower. They were donated by almost every School in Western Australia and are arranged in Alphabetical Order by the names of the Schools that donated each tile. The children at each school (Class of 1999) wrote their own names on the tiles.
Although it is one of the Largest Musical Instruments In The World --if not THE Largest! -- the Bells are hung for "Change Ringing" meaning it is NOT Possible to play Tunes on them. Each Bell is rung by a Person in a sequence determined by the Conductor. And Yes, You CAN ring them when you visit!! Just ask our Fearless Leader EMMAB1 how to arrange that!
Soundproof louvers and doors in the Tower are used to muffle the sound or direct the peals toward the city.
From the Observation Deck at the top of the Tower you get a 360 degree view of Swan River and Perth CBD.
Some believe that a line in a popular Children's Rhyme refers to these Bells.
"You Owe Me 5 Farthings Say The Bells Of St. Martins"
However, the Rhyme refers to the Bells in the City of London and St-Martin-In-The-Fields- is in the City of Westminster. The line more likely refers to St Martin Orgar, near Cannon Street which no longer exists. That St Martin's was on Martin Lane -- Once notorious for money lenders.
We also visited several other Sites near the Tower -- The Perth Mint, the St Mary's Cathedral Fire Safety Education Centre and Museum , the Art Gallery of Western Australia, and St Georges Anglican Cathedral, just to name a few. I think I see more Blogs in my Future!!
For now, I will just leave you with a shot of the Kangaroo Statue on St. George's Terrace.