RSL applies to house HMAS Ararat bell

The Ararat RSL has asked the Ararat Rural City Council to donate the bell from the original HMAS Ararat to it.

But Mayor Paul Hooper said at Tuesday night’s meeting, the Council decided more research was needed before a decision was made. This has frustrated Ararat RSL president Frank Neulist.

“We don’t want to disrespect the wishes of who gave it to us in the first place, so we want to do some research first,” Cr Hooper said.

He said Council would compile the report and consult with the RSL and local historians, if required, and present it at the next Council meeting on May 16.

The navy ship’s bell in the Customer Services foyer at the Ararat Rural City Council Municipal Offices.

The navy ship’s bell in the Customer Services foyer at the Ararat Rural City Council Municipal Offices.

The navy ship’s bell is currently located in the Customer Services foyer at the Municipal Offices along with the manufacturer’s stamp and a photo of the ship, signed by its crew. It previously was hung outside of the council chambers and was rung to let people know the mayor was entering.

Mr Neulist said the RSL had made the application because it was hosting crew members from the current HMAS Ararat from Darwin on Anzac Day, and its donation would be a good gesture.

“It’s a bell from the navy and we’re an ex service organisation, so it’s more appropriate for us to display it,” he said.

HMAS Ararat history

Two ships of the Royal Australian Navy have been named HMAS Ararat after the town.

HMAS Ararat was a Bathurst-class corvette launched in 1943 and scrapped in 1961. It wsa awarded battle honours in the Pacific 1943-45 and New Guinea 1943-44.

HMAS Ararat (II) is an Armidale-class patrol boat launched in 2006 and active as of 2016, and is now based at HMAS Coonawarra in Darwin.

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