Bathurst War Memorial Carillon was officially opened on Armistice Day, 11 November 1933 before an estimated crowd of 15,000.  It was reported to be one of the most memorable and well-attended ceremonies in the history of Bathurst.  The memorial was dedicated the following day to those from Bathurst and surrounding district who served, and those who paid the supreme sacrifice, during the Great War.

Building of the Bathurst War Memorial Carillon and District Historical Society

​Although several different types of memorials were suggested, including halls, housing and statuary, a carillon was chosen In August 1926 as the most appropriate memorial.  The decision marked the beginning of a fundraising effort by the people of Bathurst and surrounding villages, an effort that would last for over a decade, including the difficult years of the Great Depression.  Fund raising activities included carnivals, market days, a Carillon Belle Competition, concerts and revues, dances and card parties, sporting events, the sale of postcards and cookbooks, a penny drive, Buy a Brick campaign and Back to Bathurst Week from 11 – 18 February 1933.  As funds were raised the tower, designed by architect John Drummond Moore, was built from 212,000 local red bricks.   The last brick was laid on 24 April 1933 and the bells were installed in October in readiness for the official opening.

By October 1938 the full cost of £8,000 had been raised enabling the committee to hand the War Memorial Carillon to Bathurst Council to keep in trust for the citizens of Bathurst and district.  However, the Committee considered the memorial to be incomplete. When the memorial was handed over to the Council it was done so with the expectation that a means would be found to ensure the names of the soldiers were suitably recorded, the monument room appropriately furnished and a clavier installed to give the Singing Tower its full voice.

Bathurst Carillon -1960s
Picture of Russell Street and Tower Bathurst and District Historical Society

​Over the years several attempts were made to raise the necessary funds to complete the project in the way it was originally intended. A new campaign was launched in the early 2000s and, with the generous help of the Federal and State Governments, as well as the local community, a sum of $850,000 was raised to upgrade and complete the instrument.  As part of the project the gas-fired Eternal Flame, installed in 1965, was replaced by a unique 750 kg non-polluting LED bronze sculpture designed by renowned sculptor Terrance Plowright. It was dedicated on ANZAC Day 2019.  A clavier has now been installed enabling the bells to be heard with their full dynamic range for the first time.

The Bells

The largest bell is inscribed:
“Thus Bathurst and her surrounding villages honour their men of 1914-1918. “Lest We Forget.”

The second largest bell is inscribed:
“To the ever glorious memory of our fallen comrades. Greater love hath no man than this, that he lay down his life for his friends”.

The third largest bell carries the Red Cross Emblem in honour of the War Nurses.

The newest bells, the top 12 bells installed in 2019, are known collectively as ‘The Peace Bells’.

The top tier bells are named after nearby villages and localities, this tier also has six Peace Bells:
​Tarana, Wattle Flat, Burraga, Sunny Corner, Bathurst, Wimbledon, Evans Plans, Limekilns and Caloola.

The second tier bells are named after nearby villages and localities, this tier also has six Peace Bells:
Dunkeld, Sofala, Cow Flat, Turondale, Hill End & Tambaroora, White Rock, Yetholme, Locksley, Vittoria and Black Springs.

The third tier bells are named after more locations in the Bathurst region:
Eglinton, Glanmire, Perthville, Lagoon, Duramana, Raglan, Peel, O’Connell, Georges Plains and Orton Park.

The bottom tier bells (which includes the largest three Bells mentioned above) are named:
Rockley, Kelso and Brewongle.