IT HAS stood empty since April, but from 7am today St Paul's Ang-lican Church bell tower will welcome back its nine historic occupants from an around-the-world trip to London.

The bells were removed and sent to Whitechapel Foundry, where they were cast 125 years ago, to be restored.

After an extensive stay in customs and a ride back to Maryborough courtesy of Richers Transport, crane operators today will have the painstaking task of lifting each bell back into the tower individually.

"It is an extraordinarily historic occasion," said Father Jim McPherson of St Paul's.

"Each bell will go in and be fitted in before the next bell is lifted."

Onlookers have been invited to watch the bells being returned to the tower, and a sausage sizzle will operate on the Memorial Hall lawn from 10am.

Fr McPherson said the church had raised about $100,000 of the $150,000 needed to fund the restoration of the bells and the soundproofing of the lower part of the bell tower.

The bells are expected to start ringing again later this week.

The church's team of campanologists - or bell ringers - expects the swing of the bells will be far easier with the new bearings.

The team includes 12 people under the age of 15 who are fully trained and help the older ringers for church services, weddings, funerals and other occasions.



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