First posted: 1 December 2023

The First Ladies Peal on Tower Bells in Australia

Friday, 1st December 2023, marks the 50th anniversary of the first ladies peal on tower bells in Australia, rung at St Paul's Cathedral, Melbourne. Unfortunately there is no extant image of the band, but below is the BellBoard record of the peal.

Bellboard record of 1st ladies peal on tower bells in Australia

Enid Roberts recalls:

The attempt to ring the first ladies' tower bell peal required ringers to travel from Adelaide, Sydney, and Bendigo to join the four Melbourne ringers, so we were keen to make the most of the opportunity. I had called several several peals of Grandsire Triples and Caters in England, and for the composition I decided to stay with the tried and true Parker's 12-part, called from the 6th, which had been successful at St Peter's, Adelaide, when the first peal was rung on those noble bells.

When we were catching hold to begin, one of the band said, "When you put me right, shout loudly, I'm a bit deaf," and I replied, "I'm not putting anyone right; if you want to get this, you have to keep yourself right." And we rang a good peal. Elizabeth Rossell was obviously pregnant and rang the tenor in fine style. In the sixth part, I could see that Jenny Murphy's rope tail end was coming undone, and I asked if I should call the attempt round at half way. "Oh no," said Jenny, "I can manage it." And so she could, though she ended the peal with a 20-centimetre long, fat, fluffy tassel flapping up and down. I believe it was kept as an historic memento in St Paul's for several years until someone threw it out.

Simon McMillan
1 December 2023

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