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The Bell Tower on WA Day

Last Monday was Western Australia’s inaugural WA Day. The public holiday was formerly known as Foundation Day since the founding of the Swan River Colony on 1st June 1829, and has recently been changed to WA Day under new laws which recognise Aboriginal people as the original inhabitants of the land (read more about it here).

As part of the celebrations, the government decided to waive the entrance fee to the Bell Tower. How nice is the government? Or should I wait for the hike in my taxes for the next financial year? Either way, I took the opportunity to visit the Bell Tower as I have never visited since its opening in December 2000.

The Bell Tower is situated at the end of Barrack St, on the foreshore, the link between the north and the south of the Swan River. It is a dominating structure along Riverside Dr, and can be seen towering from all sides of the river. It is a handy 5 minute walk from where I work.

The Swan Bells are housed inside the Bell Tower, a set of 18 bells hanging in their precise positions inside the tower. The original 12 bells were donated by the St Martin-in-the-fields church in London as part of the 1988 Australian bicentenary celebrations. The more recent 6 bells were cast by the Whitechapel Bell Foundry in London using WA mined metals.

As it was free entry, I knew the queue would be long but didn’t expect it to be as long as it was. It was an overcast day but there were families, tourists hopping off the hop on-hop off bus, runners stopping for a view in between, so many people. I haven’t had a lot of time to do random things in my own city in a long time so it was quite nice to stand in line and observe what was going on, what people usually do on a public holiday (I’m usually up in the suburbs with the parents – boring) and just soak it all in.

The theme inside was bells. Surprise surprise. Bells in all different shapes and sizes. Bells from different time periods and all over the world. The museum is a great place to spend some time reading up on the concept of time and how it all began.

There’s a 360° viewing platform at the top of the main building which offers great views of the city. I didn’t realise my city looked so good!

Looking up Barrack St and noticing how flat the east side looks compared to the west. My office building is the white one behind the blue glass building. You can just see the ‘m’ on the building.

The ‘tall’ side of the city or where all the action is. The furthest left building is a new addition to the city skyline.

Looking down Riverside Dr, the gateway to the eastern suburbs. Some call it the flatter side of town or the greener side of town.

A great view of the jetty and the South Perth. You can get a great view of the city from South Perth. All night, all the buildings are lit and the lights reflect off the water. Stunning.

On your way out, you can purchase a love locket and hang it on the chain. It’s a sweet thought and reminds me of the love lockets along Cinque Terre.

All in all, the Bell Tower isn’t as bad as I thought it would be. Maybe because I used to vent at the fact the tower was blown out of budget (time and money wise) when it was first built. I think there are a lot of Aussies who think the same but have come to accept it as one of our monuments which bring tourists here every year. Plus it’s a great way to spend an afternoon when the weather is overcast.

The Bell Tower
Open 10am daily, except Good Friday and Christmas Day
Last entry 3:45pm daily
Adults: $14; Concessions: $9
On the foreshore (end of Barrack St)
w: swanbells.com.au

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