Frequently Asked Questions at The Bell Tower
Who designed the Bell Tower?
William Hames, Executive Chairman of Perth based architectural firm Hames Sharley (WA) Pty Ltd., is the architect who designed the Bell Tower.
Who built it?
John Holland Group constructed the Bell Tower.
Why do we have the Bells?
The St Martin-in-the-Fields Bells were gifted to the people of Western Australia to commemorate Australia's bicentenary in 1988. Patron of the Bell Tower Mr Laith Reynolds was the one who saved the St Martin-in-the-Fields Bells from being melted down to form new ones, as they had become too heavy for the ancient foundations of the church in Trafalgar Square, London. After this he campaigned to have a specially built tower in Perth to bring them to life for all West Australians.
What can I see at the Bell Tower if the bells aren't ringing?
Our Audio Visual System tells the story and history of the Bells and the Tower as you visit the three main viewing levels in the tower. The bell ringing viewing level houses our It's about Time display- We have amassed a fascinating array of precision timepieces, bells and optical instruments that demonstrate how time was kept in the mechanical era before the 'world went digital'. On the belfry level you can see the historic bells of St. Martins in the fields in all their glory and also displays about the architect and builders of the Bell Tower. Our lofty observation deck offers spectacular 360 degree views of the Swan River and Perth city. Our brand new display is the oldest bell in Australia- The Upton Grey Bell cast over 450 years ago in approximately 1550, was once one four that rang out from the tower of the parish church at Upton Grey in Hampshire, England.
You can see the old timber headstock bearing the carved date of 1763. The bell weighs 459 kg and visitors are enjoying the opportunity of being photographed with the oldest bell in Australia.
When do the bells actually ring?
Bell Handling Demonstrations (single bell):
Wednesday and Friday 11.30am-12.30pm
Full Bell ringing:
Monday, Tuesday and Thursday 12pm-1pm
Saturday and Sunday 12pm-1pm
Days and times are subject to change without notice.
I want to hire the tower for a function, what do I do?
If you are planning a function, why not let our professional team tailor a proposal. For more information or to arrange a site visit, please don't hesitate to contact our friendly staff.
The Bell Tower Barrack Square Perth
Ph: +61 8 6210 0444 | Fax: + 61 8 6210 0499
Can I bring a tour group/school group into the tower?
Yes, we welcome groups big or small to visit the tower. The Bell Tower is a safe and controlled environment, our experienced staff are skilled at dealing with large groups of students and adults alike. The Bell Tower is an integral part of Perth's heritage and something that every Western Australian should experience.
For more information or to book your group, please don't hesitate to contact our friendly staff.
Ph: +61 8 6210 0444
Fax: + 61 8 6210 0499
Who runs the Bell Tower?
The Swan Bells Foundation, is a not for profit, independent foundation established to promote bell ringing and manage the running of The Bell Tower.
Where are all the school names in the tower?
The school names are located outside the tower in the two Southern quadrants of Barrack Square. Sign In 2000 was part of the largest community project of this type ever undertaken in WA. School students from all around WA were invited to take part in Sign In 2000, offering them the opportunity to sign their names into history.
I heard you can get married at the Bell Tower, is this true?
Yes! We have successfully hosted many wedding ceremonies and receptions at the Bell Tower. Contact us for further details.
Are the bells rung by machines?
No, the bells are rung by real life humans! Who are volunteer members of the St. Martin's Society of Change Ringers Inc.
What tunes are played on the bells?
It is not possible to play tunes on the Bell Tower's bells. Instead the bells are rung in full circle, each by one ringer, and controlled by a rope attached to a wheel beside the bell.
How much does it cost to visit the tower?
Australian Government senior card holders
Centrelink card holders
Full time student card holders
Companion Card for Disability Carers.
A valid concession card must be produced to gain concession entry. Children under the age of 5 years are permitted free of charge. A Family Discount is available.
Where is the Bell Tower and how do I get there?
The Bell Tower is situated in Barrack Square in Perth CBD, Western Australia. You can catch the Blue Cat bus or we are a short walk from the heart of the city towards the river on Barrack street.
Why is the Bell Tower sometimes called Swan Bells?
We are situated right on the majestic Swan River and the black swan is the symbol of Western Australia.
Can I learn to be a bell ringer?
Yes! Members of the St Martin's Society of Change Ringers, the resident ringing group at Swan Bells, train newcomers at the Swan Bells. Depending on trainer availability, they offer a free introduction to ringing, followed by an 8-week course on Sunday mornings. Interested people are welcome to contact the Tower Captain to determine if training is available.
What is the Friends of the Bells programme?
For just $2 extra you can become a Friend of the Bells! As a valued member you are entitled to unlimited free visits for one year and a 10% discount on all our merchandise. If you provide an email address we will keep you up to date with special events and exclusive offers only available to Friends of the Bells.
How does the Bell Tower fit into the community?
For centuries the role of bell ringing has been to celebrate the joy of weddings, victories and special anniversaries, and also to intone the sadness of deaths and funerals. For example in remembrance of the second anniversary of the Bali tragedy on 12 October 2004, the bells were tolled at dawn (5.40am), 16 times each hour on the hour from 7am-10pm and then for the last time at 11.08pm, the actual time the tragedy occurred. The tragedy of September 11 was also remembered with a special ringing on the anniversary.
At the Bell Tower we often donate our time and services to local and international charities and organisations such as the Camp Quality, Rotary, St. Vincent de Paul, and the Australia Cambodia Foundation amongst others.
What are the mosaics in front of the tower?
A competition was held to give artists and community groups throughout the State the challenge of creating a visual image of
10 WA regions, representing each areas culture, community and lifestyle. The winning pieces were chosen from more than 400 entries and translated in mosaics in the Southern water feature.
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