Sunday, 8 November 2015

Open House Perth 2015 - The Bell Tower

This weekend the 3rd Open House Perth was held with about 85 destinations opened to visitors.
I just managed to go to the city on Sunday and just visited 5 or 6 places. Some places were only open on Saturday, others just on Sunday, and others were opened both days from about 10am to 5pm.

The Bell Tower (also known as Swan Tower) was top of my wish list as I'd never climbed to the top, and I also wanted to see from up there how the Elizabeth Quay project is progressing.
The Bell Tower stands next to the Swan River at the end of Barrack Street and is one of Perth's iconic sights. 
It was opened in 2000 as part of Western Australia's Millennium project and has received over 1 million visitors since.
The 12 bells in the tower were given St.Martin-in-the-fields in London to the people of Western Australia to commemorate Australia's bicentenary in 1988.

After a very short wait (there's a limit of 120 people in the tower at any time) I was allowed to go in and started climbing the stairs (forgot to count them!). There's also a lift, but if you use the stairs you can see things at every level.
Just outside a few rows of engraved love locks hang from metal chains - these can be bought and engraved inside.

While waiting outside looking at the love-locks

There are 6 floors inside and on the 6th floor if you're brave enough you can go onto the observation steel platform (max 80 people) and have uninterrupted views of Perth and the Swan river. 
Surrounding the glass tower there are Swan like copper sails that are 30mt (98ft) high.  
There are photos and interesting facts on all floors describing the building and the bells.
The bells rang quite often because they were actually training bell-ringers.

Inside the entry foyer there's a small shop selling things related to the tower and there's also quite a number of pamphlets and maps of other attractions around the city useful for tourists. 

The usual entry price is $14 and $9 for pensioners, which is a bit steep, but you do get a beautiful view.

A model of the Elizabeth Quay project (The Bell Tower is to the left)
The oldest bell in Australia from approximately 1550 weighs 459 kg, 920cm diameter
Level 4 - Belfry - with all 18 bells
For a 1$ donation these bells will ring for a while
                                                                                                                                                                    The views from the observation platform were of course fabulous, just check the photos.

Elizabeth Quay project with the new artwork - the double arch - the area with trees is Kings Park/Botanic gardens

The new arched pedestrian bridge at Elizabeth Quay

This building might be a restaurant that will open in December
The city centre buildings
The Supreme Court Gardens at the back of the Bell Tower

The Barrack street jetty from where the ferry departs to South Perth on the other side of the Swan River

Here's a video I made on the observation deck while the small bells were ringing.

Hope you enjoyed the first Open House visit - there's more to come...


  1. I didn´t know there were actually bell-ringers, like human beings!
    Wonderful views, but I still have to sigh seeing the project. Bell tower will be so small and you won´t... aw, well, let´s see how it looks like once finished, right?
    When will they be done again?

    1. I didn't know either, I thought it would be a mechanical thing.
      I agree that the Bell tower will look a bit dwarfed with all those sky-scrapers start being built.
      They are hoping the main areas will be accessible to the public by Christmas time. The rest of the big buildings - apartments, offices, hotels, etc will come later, expecting to be built within the next 10 to 20 years.

  2. Fab shots Sami. I love going up in the Bell Tower. Was interesting to see how my least favourite project is coming on.. moving along very slowly! I really wanted to go into the city to look at some of the open house spots but after the week I had I was exhausted but did manage to see the one I really wanted to see the most in Northbridge.

    1. Thanks Grace. I had a long list of things to visit, but only managed very few also due to having things to do at home I felt guilty about "wasting time" in the city.

  3. A great post Sami - sounds like you had a fun weekend. It was interesting to get a bird's eye view of all the development. I have been too frightened to look before now. I had felt devastated when they ripped out those hundreds of beautiful Morton Bay Fig trees and date palms. If the plan had been for something more vibrant and at the human scale rather than bleak featureless skyscrapers that you find in any city anywhere then I might have felt happier about it.
    However, I do love the bell tower and hopefully once the rest of the development is finished it will be nicer than it looks on the plans. Fantastic photos of all the views and the beautiful bells!
    What a great bargain you got at Ikea! Good luck with getting everything organised for your visitors - all very exciting for you!

    1. I agree Wendy, I felt sad all that greenery is gone and the area will be covered in skyscrapers just like any big city. I do hope that we're wrong and he area will look amazing and be used by many people.

  4. Oh wow, it was worth to get up there, wonderful views over the city.

    1. I agree Marianne, the views were spectacular, I can't believe I had never been up there before.


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