The bells have fallen silent at Newlyn Primary after a piece of history was stolen from the school grounds.
The school claims its bell was stolen at the weekend, the only evidence a piece of rope left behind by the alleged thieves.
The roughly 80 kilogram iron bell was made by Castlemaine foundry owner J.W. Horwood sometime between 1876 and 1894 making the bell an historically significant artefact.
It hung atop a tower over 10 metres high and is used daily by the school as its only bell to mark the beginning of lessons and breaks.
The bell was discovered missing on Monday morning. Nearby residents have claimed hearing a commotion on Saturday evening around 2.30am, but were not able to catch the thief, or thieves, in the act.
Principal Samantha Vella says the bell has great significance and they’re pleading for its return.
“We’ve got kids at our school that are 4th or 5th generation. Their parents would have rung that bell, as well as their grandparents, and in some cases their great grandparents. So it was a pretty sad day for us yesterday.”
The small school of 20 students does not have the means for sophisticated surveillance set up across the grounds to catch the culprits in the act, meaning they currently have little to go on in finding those responsible.
The police have been contacted, anyone with information is asked to get in touch.