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 founding of Canberra. On 26 April 1970. Queen Elizabeth II accepted the National Carillon on behalf of the people of Australia. 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 bellfounding.