The Westin Sydney, located at No.1 Martin Place, has restored the city’s iconic bells of the General Post Office Clock Tower to their original glory, including the full Westminster Chimes.
The five bells of the G.P.O were installed in 1890 by Henry Daly. Weighing 4.9 tons and sounding the note of A, the hour bell has a mouth diameter of 2 metres and is only surpassed in size by the bell of the carillon in Canberra. The four quarter bells E, A, B and C sharp, are of exceptionally fine tone and produce one of the finest quarter chimes in Australia.
“We are honoured to bring this important piece of Australian history back to its original grandeur,” said Mark Burns, General Manager of The Westin Sydney.
The bells each bear the Imperial Crown with a monogram ‘VR’ standing for Victoria Regina and the words ‘General Post Office, Sydney 1890’. A line of Tennyson’s poem In Memoriam is engraved on each, starting with the largest bell:
Ring out the false, ring in the true;
Ring out the feud of rich and poor;
Ring in redress to all mankind,
Ring out false pride in place and blood,
Ring in the common love of good.
In May 1942 fears of an attack during World War 2 saw the clock tower dismantled piece by piece and stored at Maroubra Telephone Exchange.
After a popular vote in 1963 the reconstruction of the tower and bells began and it was not until the ANZAC Day Dawn Service in 1964 at the Cenotaph in front of the Martin Place entrance to the G.P.O that the chimes returned to sound again as the ‘voice’ of the community.
Over time, these were silenced again due to unreliability leaving only the hour bell, until now when the full Westminster Chimes ring out in their full brilliance between the hours of 9:00am and 9:00pm.