Arthur Phillip Bell

Goulburn is a provincial city in the Southern Tablelands of New South Wales, Australia in Goulburn Mulwaree Council Local Government Area. It is located 195 kilometres (121 miles) south-west of Sydney on the Hume Highway.  It brands itself as “Australia’s first inland city”.

Goulburn was named by surveyor James Meehan after Henry Goulburn, Under-Secretary for War and the Colonies, and the name was ratified by Governor Lachlan Macquarie.  The Aboriginal name for Goulburn is Burbong, a Murring/Wiradjuri word indicating a special Indigenous cultural area.

St Saviour’s Cathedral, Diocese of Canberra and Goulburn
The Church of Saint Saviour was erected in 1840 as a simple brick church to the designs of a Sydney architect and designer, James Hume.

By the early 1860s, when the Diocese of Sydney could not functionally minister to the Goulburn area, it was decided that a new Anglican Diocese of Goulburn should be created and the need for a cathedral church came to be considered.  When the brick church was taken down the bricks were reused in the floor of the current cathedral.

The Cathedral Church of Saint Saviour was designed by the then noted Colonial ecclesiastical architect, Edmund Thomas Blacket. It took ten years to construct following the foundation stone being laid on 15/1/1874.  The Blacket Cathedral was one of the architect’s greatest works. It was really the only cathedral he designed unencumbered by distance, financial stringency, and unsympathetic clients.  The Cathedral cost £20,000 pounds at the time of its completion in 1884.  The tower and spire, however, were never completed.


St Saviours Cathedral Goulburn (Timbury)

Construction of the Tower and its Bells
many attempts were made over the years to complete the Cathedral’s tower and spire but all these attempts were to no avail.  It was not until 1984, and the introduction of the Australian Bicentennial commemorative program that funds became available for the completion of the tower and spire. A grant of $1,000,000 was announced in that year by the Premier of New South Wales, and the Diocese of Canberra and Goulburn agreed to provide additional funds.

Major tasks identified as critical to the project’s success:
a thorough geotechnical examination of the existing tower founding material
the preparation of adequate ‘base’ drawings for the tower project and for the related conservation project that was to proceed simultaneously with the tower
the investigation of suitable stone types and sources for the proposed building.

Building commenced in February 1987. The first work was to remove the existing Church of Saint Saviour’s tenor bell, the existing (temporary) roof, and the weathered render to the top of the wall. During this work, the 1909 commemoration stone was discovered.

The Tower was completed as a bicentennial project in 1988 and the first eight bells, originally struck by John Taylor of Loughborough in 1872, for St Mark’s, a church in Leicester UK, were acquired for St Saviour’s.  A project, conceived by Elizabeth and Rev. Ian Lipscomb, to acquire, re-tune, transport and hang the bells cost around $148,000.  This started with a gift of $42,000 from the City of Goulburn and a further gift of 10,000 pounds sterling from Brig. General Cuthbert Goulburn, a descendant of Sir Henry Goulburn, after whom the city was named.  The bells arrived in 1988 and were named after the Ships of the First Fleet, which sailed from Portsmouth on the 13 May 1787.

In March 1988 the Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Runcie baptised each bell before an outdoor congregation of over 5,000 people.  Two further bells were added in 1994, as the result of a generous gift from the Rev Ron O’Brien who donated bells in memory of his parents – this gave the Cathedral a ring of 10 bells.

In 2005 two new Trebles were added as phase 1 of the Augmentation Project to complete the ring of 13 bells.  They were named Endeavour and Borrowdale.  Assistance with the cost of fittings, transport, shipping and installation were jointly donated by families with strong connections to the Cathedral.


Arthur Phillip Bell with all the accessories for the Bell Ringers and hanging in the Bell Tower (Timbury)

 The Governor Phillip Bell
The final bell, the Flat 6th, was added as Phase 2 of the Augmentation.  Its purpose is to enable a combination of eight of the lighter bells to be rung and to sound ‘musically’ correct.  As the final bell it was appropriate to name the Flat 6th Arthur Phillip and to dedicate it to All who sailed with the First Fleet.  An inscription was also added to highlight the civic link between the City of Goulburn, the People of Mulwaree and the descendants of Sir Henry Goulburn of Betchworth in the UK.

The bell was funded with generous contributions from organisations and help from local supporters.



Service of Blessing and Hallowing of the Governor Phillip Bell
by The Right Reverend Alan Ewing on Sunday 13 May 2005


Arthur Phillip showing the inscription (Timbury)


During the second hymn from the Order of Service, the Dean escorted the Bishop to the bell in the Narthex followed by the congregation.


Arthur Phillip Bell in the Cathedral Narthex with the Bishop (Timbury)

The Bishop words:  I dedicate the flat sixth bell to all who sailed with the First Fleet on May 13th 1787.  May it also link the descendants of Sir Henry Goulburn of Betchworth, England, the city of Goulburn and the people of Mulwaree and serve as a memorial to Garnet James Webster and Frederick Earle Winchcombe.  I now bless and hallow this bell with the name Arthur Phillip.

The Readings and Hymns were those used for the Blessing and Hallowing of the Bells in 1988.


Cathedral Bell Tower – the Bells are in the rest position (Timbury)


How the Bells are rung
although the bells rest with its mouth facing downwards, the English tradition of ringing requires that the bell be raised to the ‘Up’ position for Method Ringing.







St Saviour’s Cathedral Goulburn – The Bell Tower handout brochure and Order of Service for the Blessing and Hallowing of the Arthur Phillip Bell 13 May 2005
Wikipedia free on-line web site
Photographs: taken at the Service of Blessing and Hallowing of the Arthur Phillip Bell by Howard and Cheryl Timbury

© First Fleet Fellowship Victoria Inc 2011