The women featured below are just some of our many fine female ringers.

The list was started by considering first-in-country achievements, honorary life members, and women who have held multiple roles within ANZAB. However, we are happy to extend it. Please send a paragraph and photo of any other ringers you would like to see featured here to the

ANZAB members can find more information about the Honorary Life Members in the members' section of the website.

Enid Roberts

Enid Roberts

Enid arrived in Australia in 1955. Prior to that, amongst other things, she had rung in three peals for the Ladies' Guild, and she held the record for ringing the heaviest bell rung by a woman for a peal (35–0–14).

Enid was in the first ANZAB peal in 1962. She was the first woman to conduct a peal in Australia.

She conducted the first ladies' tower bell quarter peal in Australia in 1966 and the first Australian ladies' tower peal in 1973.

Enid conducted the first ladies' quarter-peal on the 41cwt bells of St Peter's, Adelaide in 1989. and she rang in the first Australian ladies' quarter-peal on 10 in 2019.

Enid was a strong supporter of the formation of ANZAB. She served as President 1965 and 1998 - 2000; Vice-President 2001 - 2003. She was elected an Honorary Life Member in 2006.

band of 12 women

Helen Pettet (nee Henderson)

Helen conducted the first Australian ladies' peal on handbells in 1968. The photo shows the peal board from St George's Cathedral, Perth.

Helen rang in the first ladies' tower bell quarter peal in Australia in 1966 and in the first Australian ladies' tower peal in 1973.

Helen and Anne Doggett wrote The Bells are Ringing: a celebration of Melbourne life through the story of her bells (2001). It includes a chapter on "The First Women Bellringers 1930-1933".

Valerie Stone

Valerie, jointly with Sue Bennett, conducted the first New Zealand ladies' quarter-peal in 1984 and conducted the first New Zealand ladies' quarter-peal on 8 in 1993.

Pam Brock

Pam Brock (nee Gough)

In 1995 Pam was the first woman to be made an Honorary Life Member of ANZAB. She was Treasurer for 27 years 1975-2002.

Pam learnt to ring in 1965. She rang in the first ladies' tower bell quarter peal in Australia in 1966, in the first Australian ladies' tower peal in 1973, the first ANZAB ladies' peal of major, and in the first Australian ladies' quarter-peal on 10 in 2019.

Laura Ivey

Laura Ivey

Laura learned to ring in the UK as a child and was instrumental in increasing interest in ringing once the cathedral bells were rehung in the 1970's. She was Tower Captain at the Perth Bell Tower 2016-17 and has raised over $7000 in support of various Perth Bell Tower projects. The Laura Ivey trophy, a novice 6 bell competition, was introduced at the 2014 ANZAB Festival, held in WA.

Laura was elected an Honorary Life Member of ANZAB in 2002. She was awarded an OAM in the Queen's Birthday 1998 honours list for her dedication to bell ringing and fundraising.

Anne Haskard

Anne was elected an Honorary Life Member of ANZAB in 2003 She was a key ringer and organiser in Adelaide from 1970. She was ANZAB Secretary from 1975-1977, and ANZAB's Public Officer (with regard to ANZAB's incorporation) for many years. Anne died in 2018.

Anne rang in the first Australian ladies' tower peal in 1973 and in the first ladies' quarter-peal on the 41cwt bells of St Peter's, Adelaide in 1989.

Mary Townsend

Mary Townsend

Mary was elected an Honorary Life Member of ANZAB in 2009. She learned to ring at St George’s Cathedral in 1987 and has been tower captain at Christ Church, Claremont since 1994. She conducted the first ladies’ tower bell peal in Western Australia in 1996. She was key in introducing ringing at St Hilda’s Anglican School for Girls when the bells were installed in the chapel in 1996. Mary was ANZAB Secretary 1996-2002

Elizabeth Bleby

Elizabeth (Honorary Life Member, 2002) compiled the books We Sing In A Strange Land (1989) and its update Their Sound Has Gone Forth (2001).

Jennifer Murphy

Jenny (Honorary Life Member, 2002) was a key ANZAB office bearer from 1974 to 1995. She was Ringing Towers Editor 1974-1979, President 1981-1983 and Secretary 1990-1995.

Jenny rang in the first Australian ladies' tower peal in 1973, continuing in spite of her rope beginning to unravel about half way through, ending with her ringing with about 8 inches of a fluffy tassel.

head and shoulders photo

Julie Doyle

Julie served as ANZAB President 2009-2012, and Vice-President 2007-2008 and 2012-2013.

photo of peal board

Pleasance Purser

Pleasance learnt to ring in 1979. She was the first woman to conduct a peal in New Zealand, in 1988. (Peal board image courtesy Colin Saxelby.)

Rei Ngatai

Rei Ngatai, who rang the treble for that peal, was the first Maori, and first Maori woman, to ring a peal.

Here is an extract of the report from The Ringing World:

First peal (on) the bells of Old St. Paul’s, Wellington. 5,040 changes were rung on the five bells in honour of the 148th anniversary of the settlement of Wellington by Europeans. All five of the ringers had learned to ring at Old St. Pauls; Rei, Chris and Pleasance being among the first group of learners back in 1979. This was Rei’s first peal, and Pleasance’s first as conductor. The successful effort, rung also as a farewell to Rei Ngatai as she takes up a job in London.

photo of peal board

Susan Tonkin

Susan was an Editor of Ringing Towers (1985-1988) and edited the ANZAB 50th Anniversary Souvenir Booklet in 2012.

Susan rang in the first ladies' quarter-peal on the 41cwt bells of St Peter's, Adelaide in 1989.

band of 12 women

Esther Perrins (nee Byers)

Esther arrived in Australia in 1986, having previously rung in two long-length ladies' peals, Pudsey Surprise Royal and Yorkshire Surprise Maximumus (band photo shown right) amongst other things.

Esther was an Editor of Ringing Towers (1992-1996).

Esther rang in the first ANZAB ladies' peal of major. She conducted a peal of Scientific Triples in hand in 2020 and rang inside for two peals of Spliced Surprise Royal (14 methods) in 2021. See her full record as available on BellBoard here.

Diana Bleby Williams

Diana was an Editor of Ringing Towers (1999-2000).

Diana rang the tenor to the first ladies' quarter-peal on the 41cwt bells of St Peter's, Adelaide in 1989.

Deryn Griffiths and Benie Sharp

Deryn Griffiths

Deryn learnt to ring around 1990. She has been an ANZAB Webmaster since 2019, and was Secretary 2004-2006. She rang in the first Australian ladies' quarter-peal on 10 in 2019.

Deryn worked with Bernie Sharp to prove that you cannot get an extent of Stedman Triples using Twin Bob compositions. The University of Sydney research report is available here.

The photo shows Deryn (left) and Bernie (right) in 2018.

Grainy photo from a newspaper 1933

Frey Shimmin

Frey was the first Australian woman to ring a quarter peal (Treble to Grandsire Triples, Melbourne, 1931) and the first Australian woman to ring a peal in 1934. There was one other woman in the peal band, visiting from the UK.

Frey learnt to ring in Melbourne as a 14 year-old in 1930. She and Peggy Murdoch learnt in response to an advertisement which specifically stated "there are a few vacancies for Bellringers of both sexes". Frey rang 1930-1937 and again 1942-1946.

The photo, taken from a newspaper report, shows Frey (left) and Peggy (right) in 1933.

Woman ringing