Bells of the Australian Bush  The History, The Makers, The Collectors
© Jinglestix 2022
The Condamine Bell In 1868, Samuel Williams Jones (S. W. Jones) was accredited with making the first Condamine bell* from a used pitsaw blade (*the name derived from the Queensland town where he lived at the time). His design was not completely original as his inspiration was from what he had seen in his youth in Britain. However, his bell was generally larger and more suitable for the Australian conditions. He referred to them as 'Bullfrog Bells' and continued producing them until his retirement in 1912. Although his signature bell is referred to as the 'Condamine', in reality the majority of them were made in in his smithy in Toowong, Brisbane, after he moved there in 1876. Christy Andersen, Fred Andersen, Alf Ormand, James Ormand and Alf Ormand Jnr and Thomas Beckett were just a few of the well known bell makers who marked their bells with identifying stamps. Christy Andersen established a large blacksmith shop in miles and with the help of numerous assistants he made many 'Condamine' and 'Kentucky' bells from about 1880 to 1919. After that, he and his son Fred, continued bell production in Brisbane. While in Brisbane, S.W. Jones had offsiders who helped with production, the last being Alf Ormand who then took over the business and continued on under his own name and stamp. Alf moved the production to a smithy that was constructed in his backyard, also at Toowong. Two of Alf's sons (James and Alfred) also became bell makers and worked in the family blacksmith shop. Alfred (A.H) wound down the business in the mid 1990s. Thomas Beckett also made Condamine bells and these are identified by his 'TB' tongue stamp. They also had a distinctive square mouth shape. Bells from all these makers are widely sought after with the genuine article (in good condition), bringing high prices at auction.                                      
Here is an overview of the prominent bell makers in Queensland, Australia and the iconic Condamine bell.
queensland bell makers queensland bell makers The Condamine Bell - A Queensland Icon
Left to Right S. W. Jones, Christy Andersen, Alf Ormand, A. H. Ormand