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Arthur Allan Bang (1922-2004, the son of Hans Bang (1897-1972) and Clara Anna Bertha Andersen (1897-1968), married Patricia Helen Stickler (1932-1995), the daughter of Donald Arthur Stickler (1911-1986) and Olive Emily Black (1913-1970) in Brisbane, Australia on the 7 April 1951.
Arthur, born in Brisbane on the 8 March 1922, rang the Bells at St Andrew's Church of England, Lutwyche, Brisbane for over half a century. The Bells were the largest in the Southern Hemisphere until Queen Elizabeth put a slightly larger one into service in a Canberra church in 1970. Below is the transcript from a 1973 Newspaper cutting: -
MR BANG STILL RINGING FROM NEW YEAR 1939
Mr George Smoothie rang the old year out on December 31, 1938 at St. Andrew’s Church of England, Lutwyche. Next morning, his eager, 16-year-old apprentice Arthur Bang rang the New Year in on the Church bells – Bells he has been ringing very regularly ever since. Northside Brisbane residents might never have met the personable 50-year-old city council bus driver – But a lot of them have heard him and his bells on Saturdays and Sundays since that first morning of 1939. Mr Bang grew up within the sound of the bells at Gordon Park and now commutes to the church from Everton Park.
The bells sound from the church – Heard anything up to four miles away on a clear day – On the occasions of weddings, half-an-hour before Sunday services and important events such as Easter and Christmas. They have been recorded as far away as Bulimba and apparently thrill more people than they annoy. Mr Bang can only recall one abusive letter from an irate man who warned he would climb the bell tower and batter Mr Bang with an axe if he did not stop ringing the bells. The 13-bell carillon in the tower of St. Andrew’s was the largest in the southern hemisphere until Queen Elizabeth put a slightly larger instrument into service in a Canberra church in 1970. Mr Bang worked the bells for 19 years, but for the last 15 years he has had six volunteer assistants who now work a roaster.
One of the most active is Mr Bang’s 18-year-old daughter, Sheryn, who admits her musical skill run to the recorder. Bell Badge: her genuine skill at ringing the bells gained her the only Girl Guides badge in Australia for bell-ringing, although a number have been awarded in England. When Mr Bang tells people of his off-beat, week-end chore “I feel that by playing the bells I’m making some contribution to the church”. They most often liken him to Quasimodo, the hunchback tugging on the ropes to ring the bells of Notre Dame – But Mr Bang does not touch a rope.
Yesterday, we climbed the 25ft into the church tower, up two narrow ladders, to reach the small room from which the bells are controlled. The bells are worked by a 13-note keyboard. Covering middle C to high C, plus some sharps. Wire strands connect the bells – Another perilous ladder trip, 25ft above the keyboard.
Mr Bang has transposed 200 of the most popular hymns into carillon language – substituting musical notes for their equivalent numbers on his had pull keyboard. He refers to the book each time he plays rather than trusting his memory for the numbers – But he had to play for the consecration of the new church during a blackout without the aid of the book.
“We’ve got a beautiful set of fixed bells. But there is one thing I would love more than anything else”, Mr Bang admitted in the tower yesterday. “If we had one more bell, bigger than our biggest at present, we’d be able to play the Bells of St. Mary’s with all the trimmings, one they would hear farther than Bulimba”. He said”