Canberra Manuka Weekend May 2014



The 3rd May was a remarkably gloomy morning as twelve Bathurst and Orange ringers set off just after dawn towards Canberra in response to a kind invitation from the band at St Paul’s Manuka for an Autumn Ringing School. In Orange it was snowing. In Bathurst it was the weekend of the Royal Show and turned out to be one of the worst weather affected Royal Shows for years.   But it soon became a different experience for the travellers. As we moved south, clearing skies, near traffic free road conditions and a green countryside still free of frost damage, encouraged progress.

Canberra was sunny, windless and glorious in its autumn colours.   By 11am everyone had reached Manuka, had been greeted by a strongly representative resident band, had been further surprised by the tower seating versatility, and had comfortably settled down to witness and participate in two hours of sharply focused ringing instruction.  The Manuka eight are considerably lighter than those of Bathurst and certainly lighter than Orange, so everyone had to adapt.

Then followed a short break for lunch and checking into new accommodation. Punctually at 2pm three hours of high quality instruction from Julie and Jim began.

Julie ensured that each individual ringer’s learning requests were accommodated. Jim Woolford has been mentoring the Orange and Bathurst towers at Bob Doubles twice weekly, for well over a year. It is our unashamed hope that before the end of 2014 we might mitigate his amazing feat of single-minded dedication and stamina by readying ourselves for a minor or triple move upwards, perhaps even for a generic change.   Never the faintest suspicion of teaching weariness but the yearning must be strong. However the ringing we undertook that Saturday afternoon, along with the terrific assistance offered by the local band, was certainly a very positive step towards realising our hope. Jim gave a Master Class on ringing technique, Manuka ringers organised a Master Chef Afternoon Tea Presentation.



The Manuka shopping precinct is a lively social centre.   We sampled it twice.


On Saturday evening over thirty of us sat down in good fellowship to enjoy a tasty meal and to discovery those things outside our mutual ringing interests that differentiate us.



Then again on Sunday morning with the memory of St Paul’s organ and the quality of the local ringing still fresh, we shared post service gossip just across the road from our venue of the night before.


P1260511 It was a bright, sunny and leafy morning along Franklin Street. I suppose had we been Greenies we would have rugged up, sat outside and eulogized about the state of things. But we were ringers so we sat inside enjoying the warm ambience of the Artoven Bakery, the aroma of cinnamon toast and the comfort of hot chocolate.

It didn’t last long though and by 1115 it was back to business for a further 90 minutes of guided instruction. But that wasn’t quite the last item. Julie had notified of an exhibition of paintings by Elioth Gruner at the Canberra Museum and Art Gallery.   A few of us joined Julie to view this most impressive exhibition.  A weekend of fine instruction ending with a touch of fine art! Were we really that lucky?

Thank you so much Manuka for the invitation, for the wonderful preparations, and for sharing your skills.   We think the next call is on us.
Joy Fabry and Chris Bacon.