Town Hall bells ring after 30-year silence

Brendan Rees

After three decades of silence, the chimes from North Melbourne Town Hall’s clock tower bells have rung out again, marking a significant moment in the community’s history.

The Town Hall bells on Errol St chimed when the clock struck noon on June 5 after specific parts were sourced from Italy, bringing the bells back to life.

The City of Melbourne hired a specialist contractor to restore the bells within the 26-metre-high clock tower – a project made possible thanks to a letter from North Melbourne resident of 19 years, Peter Roberts.

“After more than 30 years, the chimes of the North Melbourne clock tower bells are back,” Lord Mayor Sally Capp said.


We have restored the clock tower bell to its former glory much to the delight of North Melbourne residents.


“This builds on our recently completed work to restore the North Melbourne Town Hall façade last year.”

The state-heritage listed Town Hall, formerly the Hotham Town Hall, was built in 1875-76, with a carillon of five bells installed a few years later. In addition to the Town Hall, the building also comprised a courthouse, post office and offices.

The building, now occupied by Arts House, has not been used as a municipal town hall since 1905.

Mr Roberts, 71, a former engineer, said he wrote to the council last year asking if the bells could be restored as he believed it was important to the area’s heritage and identity.

“They had a history tour of North Melbourne and I managed to get up into the tower where the bells were and I saw they were tied back,” he told North West City News.

“That was stuck in my memory and then after I retired I put that down as a project to see what we could do about it.”



“It’s a bit of history and the bells were sitting up there wasted so why not have them ring?”

Mr Roberts joined his daughters Kate and Maddy (pictured) for the momentous occasion of hearing the bells ring for the first time in decades, describing it as a “sense of achievement”.

“It’s important in an area like this – there is a lot of history.” •


Photos: Marcela Lehocka.

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