A HALF-million dollar maintenance program completed on the soaring bell tower of the historic Holy Trinity Church could take out a prestigious state heritage conservation award.
The 1919 church tower sports a new copper spire, timber louvres and other exterior and interior restoration work.
A set of bells were also installed in the second level of the tower to ring out across the city on days of civic importance.
However, more than $1.2 million of extra maintenance work is still to come.
Father Frank Hetherington yesterday publicly detailed for the first time the costs and scale of the complicated works.
One staggering feature of the works is a 367kg bell installed in the tower cast that was cast in 1754.
“That is thought to perhaps be the oldest ringing bell in use at the moment as far as I’m aware.
“But, the size of that bell is minute compared to other bells around the state,” Fr Hetherington said.
“Another amazing thing is that the new copper spiral contains two metric tons of copper which has a life span of close to 500 years.”
Other works include the installation of pigeon spikes and the construction of new steel staircases and platforms inside the tower.
The works came in at more than $500,000 and are the subject of an application to win the highly sought-after NSW Department of Planning Cultural Heritage Award.
Orange City Council is working to complete the application process and expects to submit the final documents soon.
Fr Hetherington said the church had also begun initial investigations into the occupational health and safety requirements of setting up guided tours inside of the towering spiral.
“Let’s hope that can be successful because everybody should be able to see this amazing space,” Fr Hetherington said.
“Then, when we are in the financial position to do so, we will get going on the $1.2 million program to tart the rest of the old lady up.”