The Canberra Rotary Peace Bell.

The Canberra Rotary Peace Bell is a project of the Rotary Club of Canberra Burley Griffin.

This Peace bell was purchased by the Rotary Club from The World Peace Bell Association a Japanese organisation that attempts to raise awareness of the World peace movement by casting and installing Japanese temple bells in locations around the world. The association was effectively begun in 1954 by Chiyoji Nakagawa, a former Japanese soldier, who donated the first World Peace Bell to the United Nations office in New York where it is still rung to this day. The bells are made using melted-down coinage donated from countries around the world. There have now been twenty-seven peace bells placed around the world, as at August 2021, with the US, Japan, and Australia having more than one bell. The original president of the association was Tomijiro Yoshida who officially founded the WPBA in 1982, ten years after Chiyoji Nakagawa’s death, to continue Nakagawa’s work. All World Peace Bells are rung on The International Day of Peace 21 September each year.

Since being unveiled in Canberra within Lennox Gardens in February 2018 the Canberra Rotary Peace Bell has seen many ceremonies conducted at the bell including:

A vigil for Christchurch following the attack in March of 2019;

Annual ceremonies in August each year to remember Hiroshima and Nagasaki;

A special ringing of the Peace Bell for Human Rights Day on 10 December each year. On this day every woman killed in Australia is named and the Peace bell struck in her name.

Throughout each year Rotary members take tours of school students through Lennox Gardens showing the highlights of the Beijing Gardens, the Nara Peace Park finishing at the Canberra Rotary Peace Bell when every student has the opportunity to strike the bell.

The Rotary Club of Canberra Burley Griffin developed a project to encourage Rotary Clubs around Australia to donate peace poles to schools in their areas. This is promoted through the website — www.canberrarotarypeacebell.org — originally a goal of 100 Peace poles had been set and as at the beginning of 2022 over 200 peace poles have been donated.

The original idea for peace Poles was developed in 1955 by another Japanese man Masahisa Goi and all Peace poles carry the simple message “May Peace Prevail on Earth” In English and other languages. Peace pole 100 of 100 is located here in Lennox Gardens adjacent to the peace bell.

Today we continue the 1954 and 1955 goals of Chiyoji and Masahisa quoting the words of the ancient Chinese Philosopher Laozi as we strike the Peace Bell.

The words of Laozi

If there is to be peace in the world, there must be peace between Nations

If there is to be peace between nations, there must be peace between cities

If there is to be peace between cities, there must be peace between neighbours

If there is to be peace between Neighbours, there must be peace in the home.

If there is to be peace in the home, there must be peace in the heart.