Condamine Bells

Condamine Bells

We are fortunate to have a good cross section of different styles of cattle bell in the collections. Some of the bells in the Village Museum’s collection were originally made locally in the 1800s and are rare examples of a tradition that has now passed into history.

In the early part of European settlement before the infrastructure of roads, many animals grazed in open country. In order to get to market, stock was frequently moved along droving routes, which were not fenced, and, as the journey was often a long one the Drovers would camp overnight with their animals nearby.

Miles Historical Village 2009 images Claire Croft 005

The blacksmith at Condamine, Samuel William Jones, recognised the requirement for good quality bells with far carrying sound, as he saw Drovers and Teamsters passing through the settlement. Samuel Jones made the first Condamine bell by reusing a discarded pit saw blade, cutting a bell plate and working the hot iron to form the signature bell shape.In those days most goods were transported by Teamsters, using long lines of bullocks connected together in pairs pulling a loaded wagon. At the end of the day, Teamsters also unhitched their bullocks and let them roam free overnight. In order to locate livestock when the next day’s journey started, bells were worn around the bullocks necks.

The bell was popular because it make a clear ‘knock’ like the call of a bull frog, a sound that carried for a long distance – it was a big improvement on the ‘tinkle’ of a bell made by casting metal. Demand for Jones’ Bull Frog bells was strong and when the supply of old pit and cross cut saws dwindled, he ordered sheets of English Netherton iron from Brisbane.

Jones moved to Toowong in 1878 where he continued to make the bells until he retired in 1913. He was succeeded by Alf Ormand, who had been his assistant for almost 5 years. Alf Ormand passed away in 1972 and was succeeded in Bull Frog bell manufacture by his son A.H. Ormand.

Today bell experts look for clues to check the authenticity of an ’Andersen’ or a ‘Jones’. Some bells have an identifying stamp on the tongue or clapper or on the inside of the bell.

The Village Museum is fortunate to have been given many bells by generous donors such as local personality ‘Condamine’ Jack Scheikowski, bell-makers Alf and A.H. Ormand.

Swarovski online Swarovski outlet online tommy hilfiger outlet online tommy hilfiger outlet store Tommy Hilfiger Outlet Sale