image of St Paul's Cathedral, Melbourne

The Bells and The Ringers of St Paul's

The 13 bells of St Paul's Cathedral were cast by Mears & Stainbank in 1889 and are in the key of C# with a semitone 2nd bell allowing for a light eight in G#. The tenor weight was 31cwt (now 29 1/4 cwt) and their total weight of 7 tons 3 cwt made them the heaviest ring cast by the foundry in the 19th century. It is now the second oldest complete ring of 12 in the world and until the 1970s it was the only ring of 12 outside the United Kingdom.

The bells were dedicated and first rung on 15th November 1889 for the departure of the Governor of Victoria. They were the gift of Mr Thomas Dyer Edwardes whose father had been a landowner in Victoria. The St Paul's Cathedral Society of Bellringers was founded in 1896 and its members have rung the bells since then. In 1963 the bells were sent to Taylor's, Loughborough, for retuning and a new frame.

The first peal, Grandsire Triples, was rung in 1891 and the first peal on the twelve, Grandsire Cinques, was rung for Armistice Day in 1934 by six great Adventure 1 and six local ringers. The first peal of Maximus was rung in 1965 by eight Great Adventure 2 and four local ringers. Over 100 peals have been rung on the bells, 50 of these since 1980.

St Paul's Cathedral is situated in the centre of Melbourne on the corner of Swanston and Flinders Streets, diagonally opposite Flinders Street Station, the central city junction. Trams also pass by continuously and we claim that our ringing produces fewer decibels than the trams. Federation Square was developed opposite St Paul's Cathedral for the Centenary of Federation in 2001 and will includes walkways and an open entertainment area as well as controversial 'glass shards' designed to imitate our spires.

The St Paul's band has some experienced ringers but practice nights tend to be geared towards our many learners. All visitors are very welcome. The ringing chamber is quite large and there is a long draft. We appreciate the chance to ring quarters or peals with experienced visiting ringers, so if you can spare the time please contact us in advance to see if something can be arranged.

Congratulating Helen Pettet

Helen and Brian Pettet
Helen Pettet with husband and Tower Captain, Brian Pettet
Helen wearing her new gold-plated ANZAB membership badge

On Wednesday 28 June 2023 twenty ringers from St Paul's Cathedral and beyond attended the presentation of ANZAB Honorary Life Membership to Helen Pettet. The citation is available on the Members' section of the ANZAB website.

The evening started and finished with rounds on 12 (with Helen on the treble). It included a plain course of Stedman Triples (with Helen on the treble).

Ringers in Tower
Photo by Paige Kranz. Helen Pettet's is the only obscured face.
From left: Dick Webster, Robin Salisbury, John Freaney, Bill Cook, Calvin Chai, Laura Dale(rear), Mariane Merati, Joy Guinane, Ana Murdoch, Deryn Griffiths, Tessa Ryan, David Pacey, David Heyes (front), Andrew Cole, Brian Pettet, Helen Pettet, Mary Heyes (front), Inga Griffiths-Hunt, Morwenna Griffiths, Michael McBain

Helen Pettet, Bill Cook, Calvin Chai
Helen Pettet with Bill Cook (Tower Captain St James Old Cathedral) and Calvin Chai (Tower Captain St Patrick's Cathedral)

Helen Pettet, Deryn Griffiths
Helen Pettet and Deryn Griffiths following presentation of the ANZAB Life Membership badge

Deryn Griffiths and Mary Heyes
June 2023

Featured on Channel Seven

ringers in action
Still from the program showing Inga Griffiths-Hunt, Deryn Griffiths, Mariane Merati

In April 2022 St Paul's ringers were featured on Channel Seven's House of Wellness. See Season 6 Episode 7 or go straight to the episode on youtube here. The segment on ringing is from the 26 minute mark for 4 minutes.

From the Archives

Archive footage of St Paul's Cathedral ringers from 1944 is available from the British Pathe and can be previewed here. It is showcasing the women in the band.

Ringing in a COVID Safe Manner

Nine ringers wearing masks

Ringers at the practice on 9 December 2020.
Hidden behind the masks are Deryn Griffiths, John Freaney, Helen Pettet, Brian Pettet, Robin Salisbury, Sean Loffman, Andrew Cole, David Pacey, Joy Guinane

Ringing restarted at St Paul’s Cathedral in December 2020 after many months of silence. Cathedral regulations at this time limited us to 9 ringers per session, wearing masks and with frequent hand sanitizing, for sessions of up to one hour.

Deryn Griffiths

1st Melbourne Quarter Peal for 2015

The first quarter of the year in Melbourne was rung on 9th January 2015 at St Paul’s Cathedral. It was a nice quarter of Cambridge Minor on the light 6.

Melbourne quarter peal band 9 January 2015

The band in order of ringing: David Moore (C), Stephen Young, Richard Laing, Calvin Chai, David Pacey, Brian Pettet

David Moore

Like the Clappers?

New clappers for St Paul's Cathedral, Melbourne

Ron Shepherd with the new wooden-shafted clappers for the 11 and 12 at St Paul's Cathedral, Melbourne (image courtesy David Smith)

The new clappers at St Paul's are significantly lighter than the old. The handling of the bells is improved without affecting the sound quality.  Both the 11 and 12 now go up right without straining and seem easier to ring and place correctly. The 12 is slightly easier to pull off and slightly harder to set, no other adjustments having yet been made. (Richard Laing)

St Paul's Melbourne band

Some of the band which tested the new clappers following their installation (image courtesy Stephen Young)

August 2014

A Surprise Wedding!

We are all used to ringing at weddings, but a surprise wedding? The wedding of Amy Langford and Trent Nathan at St Paul's Cathedral in Melbourne on 9th March 2013 came as a surprise to many of their guests, who had been invited to a gathering at Young and Jackson's (a famous Melbourne pub) and were not expecting to have to pop across the road to the Cathedral.

Surprise visitors in Melbourne

Image coutesy Helen Pettet

Of further interest is that the bride is the great-grand-daughter of Clements Langford, who donated and built the Cathedral spires in the early 1930s. The wedding party visited the ringing-chamber at the end of the post-wedding ringing - this must be one of the few times anyone has climbed up the tower in a wedding dress!

David Smith

Welcome to Finn Michael Ruskin

On Friday, 12th February 2010 a local band augmented by three visitors, rang a quarter peal of Plain Bob Major to welcome Finn Michael Ruskin, born on 12th January, and first grandson of Laraine and Michael Pointer.

Laraine Pointer 1, David Moore 2 (c), Pat Moore 3, Michael Pointer 4, Helen Pettet 5, David Smith 6, Lesley Boyle 7, Calvin Chai 8. 1st of Major: 1.

This page supplements the ANZAB Tower Directory, and records further information about the tower, its bells and ringers.

Some of this has been provided by local ringers, but most is historical and has been gathered by the ANZAB Webmaster since 2002.

Tower officers are encouraged to submit material for inclusion on this page, or suggest changes to its content.

Contact the