Bathurst Carillon Bells Appeal

Your financial support is needed, please

One of the more prominent reminders of the Bathurst district’s contribution to the First World War is the Carillon situated in Kings Parade parkland bounded by William, George, Church and Russell streets in Bathurst. It was constructed in 1933 as a memorial to those from Bathurst and District who served in this conflict.

Bathurst War Memorial Carillon Group was formed in 2017 to expand the Carillon to bring it closer to what was originally planned. They aim to install a clavier, replace the defective top octave of bells, purchase a new set of higher bells and upgrade the Eternal Flame.  The new bells have already been ordered with the names Hill End and Tambaroora, Black Springs and Bathurst being added to the three bells which have had no names up until now. The Hill End War Memorial Committee aims to raise $2000 in support of this project and so far, $871.50 has been raised at the Anzac Day 2-Up at the Royal Hotel.

As we found when researching our Golden Diggers book, many of our ancestors were involved in the war effort back in 1914-19, either by joining up or by supporting their efforts on the home front. (Click here for a list of these servicemen & women on our website.) Maybe one of your ancestors is commemorated in our book.

Now there is a chance for you to contribute on their behalf and add to the Appeal. You can donate by contacting the Secretary of the Hill End War Memorial Committee, Gaye Shanahan, on 0407187275 or by email to memorial@hillend.net. Donations can also be made through the secure Donations button in our Bookshop page on our website. Scroll to the bottom of the page to the special link, where you can donate through your PayPal account or by using a Credit Card. Just note on the Special Instructions line that it is for the Bathurst Carillon. We will ensure that it goes to the Committee.

The following material was provided to us by the Bathurst War Memorial Carillon Group Committee:

THE BATHURST WAR MEMORIAL CARILLON STORY

The Bathurst Soldiers’ War Memorial Carillon was dedicated in November 1933 as a memorial to the men and women of the district who fell and to those who served in World War 1.  It continues to commemorate all the wars and conflicts in which the citizens of the Bathurst area have been involved.

The people of Bathurst chose a carillon, a musical instrument, as the means of expressing their respect for the sacrifices made and the whole community raised funds for the 35 bells and the tower in which the bells were housed. Over £8,189 was raised for the memorial.

The largest bell is inscribed with “Thus Bathurst and her surrounding villages honour their men of 1914-1918. Lest We Forget.” The second largest bell is inscribed with “To the ever-glorious memory of our fallen comrades. Greater love has no man than this that he laid down his life for his friends.” The third largest bell carries the Red Cross Emblem in honour of the War Nurses.

The smaller bells are inscribed with the names of villages: Caloola, Sunny Corner, Wattle Flat, Wimbledon, White Rock, Sofala, Yetholme, Cow Flat, Locksley, Turondale, Vittoria, Evans Plains, Burraga, Limekilns, Tarana, Duramana, Lagoon, Perthville, Glanmire, Eglinton, Raglan, Peel, O’Connell, Georges Plains, Orton Park, Dunkeld, Kelso, Rockley and Brewongle.  Three of the small bells have no inscriptions. For some unknown reason Hill End & Tambaroora were not included in this first dedication, possibly because they were part of the Shire of Turon at the time and not so closely associated with Bathurst.

At the time of the dedication there were insufficient funds to install a clavier, a keyboard with rods called ‘batons’ which are struck with the closed fist.  Until the Carillon is played by a clavier, it will never be heard as an instrument capable of great expression as was intended. In short it is not a carillon. At present it is an elaborate chime and sadly, a defective one at that.

Taylor’s Bell Foundry of Loughborough, England, cast the original bells in 1928 and has been commissioned to cast the new bells and to build a clavier. The new bells will be rung on 11 November 2018 to mark the centenary of the end of World War 1, the Armistice on 11 November 1918.

It is hoped that the clavier will be installed by June 2019, making the Bathurst War Memorial Carillon only the second War Memorial Carillon in Australia and one of the few in the world.  The Carillon Society of Australia will assist with training a team of carillonneurs to play the Carillon and give recitals on the instrument in Bathurst in the way it was intended nearly 85 years ago.