Located on Aspen Island, Lake Burley Griffin, the National Carillon was a gift from the British Government to the people of Australia to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the national capital. Queen Elizabeth II accepted the National Carillon on behalf of Australians on 26 April 1970. John Douglas Gordon, after whom the Aspen Island footbridge is now named, played the inaugural recital
Carillons have a minimum of 23 bells. With 55 bronze bells the National Carillon is large by world standards. The pitch of the bells ranges chromatically through four and one half octaves. The bells each weigh between seven kilograms and six tonnes. Cast in England by John Taylor & Co of Loughborough, they are fine examples of the art of bell founding.
The National Carillon is played on a regular basis during the year by both local and visiting carillonists. It is often used to celebrate national days and is played in conjunction with other events such as Australia Day.