Bells of the Australian Bush  The History, The Makers, The Collectors
© Jinglestix 2016
August Menneke and the Famous ‘Wagga Pot’ One of Australia’s most famous bell makers, and the maker of the renowned ‘Wagga Pot’, was a blacksmith named August Menneke. As a young man in Germany, he learned the trade of blacksmithing and after settling in Australia he married an Irish woman, Maria Mary Fisher at Reid Creek in Victoria in April, 1867. Together, they made their way to the township of Wagga Wagga in the Riverina district of New South Wales, where August set up his blacksmith shop that same year. It is reported that his early bells were made from cross-cut saws with the joints being fortified with a brass alloy but later he imported all of his metal from Germany. He was so particular about his trade that he refused to make the bells out of inferior materials and would rather wait for metal to be shipped to Sydney and on to Wagga Wagga, than use local supplies. Legend has it that if Menneke was dissatisfied with a bell, he threw it into the Murrumbidgee River that flowed on the other side of the road in front of his shop. Anthony Mongan Another renowned bell maker in New South Wales was Anthony Mongan, who was born in 1831. His father, John was a timber cutter from Ballyshannon, Donegal, Ireland, and his mother’s name was Ellen. John and Ellen Mongan embarked on the Barque ‘Hindoo’ at Liverpool, England, in July 1837. The year 1861 saw the family in Yackandandah, Victoria, where Anthony worked as a blacksmith. Six children were born in this town. Then in 1872 Anthony, Elizabeth and children finally settled in Albury, New South Wales, where he continued in his trade, setting up a business on Kiewa Street. He was reputed to have made bells of very high quality from the steel of pit saw blades.                                      
Here is an overview of the prominent bell makers in New South Wales and Victoria, Australia.
southern bell makers southern bell makers Southern Bell Makers
Left to Right August Menneke, the ‘Wagga Pot’, Albury Town Hall Hotel, Anthony Mongan’s Kentucky bell