Point of Interest

The Bell Tower and Elizabeth Quay

Australia / The Pacific

The Bell Tower or Swan Bell Tower is an iconic glass and copper tower structure, 82.5 metres high, was built in 2000 and contains a set of 18 bells, 12 of which come from St Martin-in-the-Fields, in Trafalgar Square London.  They rang out in London to mark the homecoming of Captain James Cook after his voyage of discovery in 1771 and were given to Perth to mark Australia’s Bicentenary in 1988.  The 18 also consist of an additional six bells, cast at the Whitechapel Foundry – five

presented to the people of Western Australia by the City of London, City of Westminster and a consortium of British and Australian mining companies, and one commissioned by the Western Australia Government.  The tower was designed by the local architect’s Hames Sharley. It was officially opened in 2000, with the 18 bells installed, to mark the millennium.  The Tower is unique in being the only bell tower in the world designed to showcase the English art of change ringing. 

Elizabeth Quay was opened on 29 January 2016, named in honour of Queen Elizabeth II for her Diamond Jubilee in 2012.   It is a mixed-use development, located on the north shore of Perth Water and the project included the construction of an artificial inlet where the Esplanade Reserve and nine building sites had stood.  Construction included associated roads, parks, promenades and an island with a connecting pedestrian bridge within a 10-hectare parcel of land.  ARM Architecture and Richard Weller were the architects of the development.  Construction of the inlet and associated infrastructure was completed in January 2016 and the associated buildings completed at various times with the first Ritz Carlton Hotel opening in 2019.

In the mid-1880s, part of the river was reclaimed for a recreation ground later named the Esplanade Reserve as part of the building of the Barrack and William Street Jetties. The reserve was used by sporting clubs and became the venue for many civic and national ceremonial events such as the celebration of Federation on 1 January 1901.  By the end of the 20th century, plans were suggested to redevelop the Esplanade to ‘reconnect’ the city to its river. 

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