The ringing of bells has a long history and tradition in many cultures of the globe. They have been used to call us to wake-up, to prayer, to start work, begin the school day, take up arms, announce alarm and peace, as well as rejoice, feast or even to mourn.
In 2010 a small group of Bridgetown locals commenced a campaign to adopt the ringing of bells throughout the town as a symbol of welcome, peace and friendship. It was primarily sparked by local resident Tony McAlinden, who had observed his neighbour – Angelo and Liz Sanzone ringing ‘the Angelus’ (a catholic religious call to prayer) regularly a 6.00 AM, 12.00 (noon) and then again at 6.00 PM, everyday of the year for many, many years.
The Sanzone Family rang ‘the Angelus’ for many reasons. First and foremost, it was a reminder for Angelo of his childhood growing up in rural Italy, where he regularly heard the bell’s rung in the hills of his small village (not dissimilar to the Bridgetown hills). Secondly, it was to honour their faith and to pause momentarily and give thanks. But most of all, it was rung to salute Angelo name – Angelus is Latin for angel and Angelo is an Italian off-shoot of the word.
Tony McAlinden thought the sound of the bell resonating through and across the Blackwood Valley was a charming and soothing sound. He contemplated … wouldn’t it be wonderful if numerous bells could be heard ringing through the valley and town, singing in unison and talking to each other, as they do in so many European villages. Besides creating a beautiful echo through the valley, it would also be something of interest and pleasure for tourists and locals.
With the assistance of Barbara Johnson (the co-ordinator of the Bridgetown Visitors Centre at the time), they set about inspiring local residents to embrace the idea of installing bells on their properties and to ring them regularly at 12.00 PM and 6.00 PM.
Today there are some 96 bells across the town, with the number constantly increases as new people get involved. The primary purpose of the bells is to spread peace and goodwill to all those who hear their sound. So where ever you may be in the town, why not stop momentarily at noon and 6.00 PM and listen for the bells calling out to each other … we are certain, it will bring a smile to your face
The most recent highlight for the town’s bell ringers was the Centennial Anniversary of the Bridgetown Primary School (at its current location) in 2014. The bells of the town rang in echo formation across the hills and valleys of Bridgetown until they eventually arrived at the school’s gates and rejoiced. It was an inspiring sound to hear and experience.
At Little Hill Farm, we have the original Sanzone Bell which began the tradition. If you are in the vicinity at 12-noon or 6.00 PM you are certain to hear us ring out the Angelus Chorus for all to enjoy.
For those lucky to be staying on the property, we provide guests with the unique opportunity to ring the bell for themselves. Places are strictly limited (only twice a day) and on a first ask basis.