Canberra’s first and the nation’s second only Peace Bell, the Canberra Rotary Peace Bell, was unveiled today, Friday 23rd February 2018, at Canberra Nara Peace Park on the shores of Lake Burley Griffin.
The Canberra Rotary Peace Bell project was initiated by Rotary in partnership with the World Peace Association, with Rotary Canberra Burley Griffin taking on the ambitious project of fundraising, coordinating the design with local architects, Kasparek Architects, and overseeing the build of the World Peace Bell Pavilion.
“Four years in the making, the Canberra Rotary Peace Bell is a physical statement to lives lost in acts of violence. It tolls to remind us to unite in a call for peace – and perhaps there can be no greater time for that than right now,” says Mr. Michael Rabey, Canberra Rotary Peace Bell project coordinator and member of Rotary Club of Canberra Burley Griffin.
“Given the ongoing turmoil throughout the world, and aligned with the move against domestic violence, this is an opportunity for the city of Canberra to call for peace throughout the word, to call for nations to find alternative ways to settle differences, to call on individuals to stand up for peace both around the world and between neighbours and within families,” Mr Rabey continued.
The Canberra Rotary Peace Bell is a major achievement for Rotary as this year marks the 90th anniversary of Rotary in Canberra.
“Rotary has had a proud history within the ACT over the last 90 years with members engaged in community service assisting the local and international communities in projects for the betterment of our society,” said Mr. Steve Hill, representative of Rotary in Canberra, at the Peace Bell unveiling today.
“Rotary International’s theme is service above self and our Rotary Foundation strives to do good in the world both of which aim for peace,” Mr Hill continued.
Today’s unveiling involved the Canberra community and religious leaders from twelve different denominations coming together to ring the bell in harmony for the first time. Students from local Canberra schools and cub groups who have raised funds toward the construction of the Pavilion were joined by a chorus of women singing for peace, a welcome to country and smoking ceremony, and the awarding of the Chief Minister’s Peace Prize by Attorney-General and Minister for the Arts and Community Events, Gordon Ramsay. The Peace Prize was awarded to Dr. Sue Wareham, one of the founders of the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN).
The Canberra Rotary Peace Bell will be available for members of the public to ring at 11am – 3pm this Saturday 24th and Sunday 25th February. And following that it will be rung on World Peace Day on the third Tuesday in September each year, on the opening day of the United Nations General Assembly each year, and to mark national and international days of remembrance and celebration. In 2018 these include remembering the 2011 Japanese Tsunami on 11 March; Harmony Day with the Canberra Multicultural Society on 18 March and the second LJ Hooker Ride for Peace on 25th March.