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Patronal Festival, Festival 150: June 28-30, 2019

Friday, June 28 to Sunday, June 30

Friday June 28 – Civic Reception by invitation

Saturday June 29 – Bell ringing record attempt

Sunday June 30

  • 8:00am Holy Communion with Baptism and Confirmation; Preacher: The Archbishop.
  • 10:30am – Festival 150 Choral Eucharist; Preacher: The Archbishop
  • 12 noon: Parish lunch
  • 6:00pm –  Festival 150 Diocesan Evensong, with installation of Cathedral Chapter; Preacher: The Dean


Record attempt information from Bell Tower Captain, Matthew Ball:

The bells at St.Peter’s are hung for the English style of full-circle change-ringing, so for each time a bell sounds, that bell swings a full 360 degrees. Because of this each bell can only ring every 2-3 seconds, which means normal music cannot be played, so instead we ring ‘methods’. We start the bells ringing in sequence from the highest note (the ‘treble’ or #1 bell) to the deepest note (the ‘tenor’ or #8 bell) i.e. 12345678.

When a method is rung, bells swap their position in the sequence with an adjacent bell. If all 8 bells are changing position, the method is a ‘major’ method. The other option for methods on 8 bells is to always leave the tenor in 8ths place, and have the other 7 bells swap with each other. These methods (with 7 bells swapping) are ‘triples’ methods.

The method being attempted on June 29th is Stedman Triples, a triples method named after the ringer who invented the method, Fabian Stedman (1640-1713).

The band includes a conductor, one of the ringers, who as well as ringing their own bell, calls periodic instructions to add extra swaps of the bells, in order to extend the plain course to the desired length. Most of the band memorize the pattern traced out by their bell in the plain course (bell ringing notation), but the conductor also has to memorize the order of calls to make the attempt reach the desired number of changes.

With 7 bells changing order with each other, there are 5040 possible unique sequences, or ‘changes’ as they are called. This is 7! (7 factorial) for any mathematicians. A ‘peal’ is when all of these 5040 unique changes are rung, without repetition and without a break, and on the St.Peter’s bells this takes about 3 and a half hours.

The attempt on the 29th is intended to be 10080 changes of Stedman Triples, so each unique change will be rung exactly twice, and will take approximately 7 hours. Ringing attempts longer than a peal are referred to as a ‘Long-Length’. Ringing a peal is the bellringing equivalent of running a marathon.

The bells at St.Peter’s are a scale in C Major, with the lightest bell weighing 350kg and the heaviest bell weighing 2000kg. There is one ringer per bell, and there are no breaks or exchanges during the attempt, so (for example) the ringer of the tenor will be ringing that 2 tonne bell for 7 hours without a break, and with all of the band ringing the method with no (significant) mistakes over the 7 hours! If they manage it, it will be like running back-to-back marathons.

So, as for records go, there have been a few heavier long-lengths (the heaviest was at Southwark Cathedral in 1998, where the tenor weighs 2477kg, and was 12675 changes, on 12 bells), and longer long-lengths (e.g. 17280 at St.Cuthbert’s Prospect in 1994, on 8 bells).

This will be the heaviest long-length on 8 bells yet rung, and also the Southern-most long-length yet rung, and a tremendous effort by the band when they (hopefully) achieve it.




Friday, June 28
Sunday, June 30


St Peter’s Cathedral


St Peter’s Cathedral
27 King William Road
North Adelaide, South Australia 5006 Australia
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