About history building Steeple Plans 400xThe contract for alterations to the tower was given to James Downie Rankin, builder of Camden who also served as an Alderman on Camden Council. His place of business was at the rear of Clifton Bros (now the site of Sinclair’s Newsagency) in Argyle Street. Rankin had arrived in Camden in 1887 and was not only a builder but also the undertaker and later a publican in Camden and he also had a timber yard.

The clock was made by Gillett & Johnston, Steam Clock Factory, & Church Bell Foundry, of Croydon, London. The bells were cast by Mears & Stainbank of the Whitechapel Bell Foundry.

Based on these recommendations, in 1896 Elizabeth Macarthur-Onslow purchased the turret clock and peal of eight ringing bells of the best metal and quality of sound, and perfectly harmonized.

The dedication service for the clock and bells was held June 21, 1897 in the presence of a large congregation. The date of the dedication was especially chosen to commemorate the Diamond Jubilee of Queen Victoria and her 60 years upon the throne. The service commenced at 11:00 a.m. and was conducted by the Rev. Cecil John King who preached on “loyalty”. The clock was made ready to start and then the pendulum was stopped by tying it to the side with a long cord which reached from the clock chamber down into the church. The honour of cutting the cord and starting the clock was given to James Kinghorne Chisholm of Gledswood who was one of the church wardens. As 12:00 noon approached he cut the cord allowing the pendulum to start swinging. The clock chimed noon for the first time, and at the same time a loud peal of bells rang out.

History Bells dedication 0C9A9317 2


In 1895, whilst staying at Send Grove, Send, Surrey, England, the ancestral seat of the Onslow family, Elizabeth Macarthur-Onslow employed Fred G Knight of Great College Street, Westminster to act as the London agent for the Camden Park Estate in the purchase of both the clock and bells and the forwarding of the materials to Camden. Prior to her departure for England she had commissioned Sulman & Power of Mutual Life Buildings of George and Wynyard Streets, Sydney to thoroughly examine the church tower and report on its strength and suitability. Sulman & Power, the leading architects of the day, reported that the tower would support a 60 cwt. peal.

The full peal of bells are rung by hand by means of a separate set of internal clappers with the operating mechanism being the Ellacombe (a frame to which the eight bell ropes are attached) located on the first level of the tower on the raised platform behind the organ.

Each of the bells is inscribed -

  1. F (Treble) 4 3 25 (253kg): John & Elizabeth Macarthur “Te Deum Laudamus”
  2. E 5 1 6 (269kg): Children of John & Elizabeth Macarthur “They have but left our weary ways to live in memory here in heaven by love and praise”.
  3. D 5 3 17(300kg): James & Emily Macarthur “Whose faith and works were bells of full accord”
  4. C 7 0 11 (361kg): Arthur Pooley & Rosa Onslow “Content to fill a little space if Thou be glorified”.
  5. B Flat 8 0 4 (408kg): Arthur Onslow “Ring in the love of truth and right. Ring in the common love of good”
  6. A 8 2 0 (432kg): Children of Arthur & Elizabeth Onslow “Blest angels, while we silent lie, your Hallelujahs ring on high”.
  7. G 10 2 12 (539kg): “For peaceful homes and healthful days, for all. The blessings Earth displays, we owe thee thankfulness and praise , Giver of all”
  8. F Tenor 13 3 26 (710kg): “Praise God from whom all blessings flow: Praise Him, all creatures here below, Praise Him above, ye heavenly host – Praise Father, Son and Holy Ghost”.


You can see a video of the clock's internal workings and the bells being rung here