Saturday, March 2, 2024
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St Mary’s celebrates Australia Day

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Hung on a wheel for full-circle ringing, the peal of 14 bells located in the central tower are the heaviest in Australia and the third set of bells in the history of the Cathedral which were cast at Whitechapel Bell Foundry in London in 1985. Photo: Giovanni Portelli
Hung on a wheel for full-circle ringing, the peal of 14 bells located in the central tower are the heaviest in Australia and the third set of bells in the history of the Cathedral which were cast at Whitechapel Bell Foundry in London in 1985. Photo: Giovanni Portelli

Australia Day is one of the busiest days of the year at St Mary’s Cathedral, with all invited to celebrate Mass on the day at 9am.

The doors will stay open for history and crypt tours, as well as opportunities to climb the 120 spiral staircase to explore the bell tower throughout the day.

Many people don’t realise that the cathedral’s peal bells are mostly rung by hand with more than 20 volunteers from a variety of ages and walks of life taking on the intellectually and physically-challenging task.

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At 3pm there will be a performance of the ringing of the bells by members of St Mary’s Basilica Society of Change Ringers.

Formed in 1844, it is the oldest bell ringing society in Australia.

No bookings are required for the tours, but the tower tours will be run on a first in, first served basis with limited numbers allowed in each group.

Bell tower tour participants must also be in good health and sign a standard waiver form.

Cathedral general manager Helen Morassut said that all are welcome to explore the cathedral and learn about its rich artworks, architecture and history.

“But it’s much more than a beautiful historic building, it’s a place of inspiration, rest, community and a spiritual home for Australian Catholics,” she said.

“Everyone is welcome to come and pray with us at the Mass at 9am or to drop by any time as part of their marking of this day.”

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