Despite the many challenges presented by the global pandemic, Goulburn's bell-ringers continue to peal out their joyful sound across the city.
What's more, people interested in this fascinating activity are invited to a 'tasting session' early next month.
St Saviour's Cathedral, the iconic Goulburn landmark with its impressive sandstone tower, contains a fine peal of 12 bells with historic links to the city, to Australia's colonial past, and to UK origins. The local ringing team now numbers eight enthusiasts, often joined by visiting ringers from other parts of Australia.
"Just prior to the pandemic in 2020 we were working hard to rebuild our ringing team. Various lockdowns meant that our training program suffered a number of interruptions, but I'm delighted that our team has bounced back more committed than ever," Saint Saviour's tower captain Stephen Relf said.
"The Cathedral community acknowledged this commitment with a special commissioning ceremony last November, which was a wonderful endorsement of the service that our ringers give."
As COVID restrictions have gradually relaxed, the Cathedral's bells have been heard back in action, especially around the Christmas and New Year period.
"We've had some really positive messages of support from the Goulburn community," Mr Relf said.
"People love the sound, and they're particularly proud of these historic bells that came to Goulburn in 1988 as an impressive bicentennial project, supported by government grants and community fundraising."
This year, the original eight bells of St Saviour's Cathedral will have their 150th birthday. They were originally cast in England in 1872.
Several significant events are coming up in the ringing calendar this year and the group is keen to attract more volunteers.
"Like any musical instrument, it takes time to become proficient at bellringing, with the basic techniques taking around three months to learn," Mr Relf said.
"Bellringing is a unique hobby, offering so many benefits. It's great aerobic exercise, really sociable, mentally stimulating, and deeply satisfying."
The Cathedral Bell-ringers will hold a taster session on Tuesday, February 1, from 6pm to 7pm. Anybody who wants to take a look at this amazing activity is welcome to come along and have a go.
For further information, contact Stephen Relf on 0401 97 7432 or Christopher O'Mahoney on 0422 90 5906.
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