St Johns bells toll to recall the Great War

Lord mayor John Chedid, councillors and staff attended the bell tolling at St John’s Cathedral this morning. Picture: supplied.

Lord mayor John Chedid, councillors and staff attended the bell tolling at St John’s Cathedral this morning. Picture: supplied.

Thirteen memorial bells tolled at Parramatta's St Johns Cathedral at 8am to mark the exact moment Australia and the British Empire became involved in the Great War.

The bell ringing matched a London vigil service at Westminster Abbey at 11pm August 4 London time, to mark the moment British prime minister H.H Asquith declared war on Germany when its ultimatum to Berlin to get out of Belgium expired. 

Parramatta lord mayor John Chedid said Parramatta tolled the bells to commemorate the centenary of the actual moment Australia became involved in the conflict. 

"It’s important we acknowledge our ANZACs and remember those who fought for the freedoms we take for granted today," Cr Chedid said.

Australia’s then prime minister, Joseph Cook, who was also the MP for Parramatta, said at the time: “When the Empire is at war, so is Australia at war.”

He later said in the Cumberland Argus in 1919 that "the citizens of tomorrow...will recall with gratitude how these boys fought and suffered and died in the brave days of old."

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