Church of Christ

365 Victoria Avenue, Chatswood

Whitehouse Bros, Brisbane, 1950
2 manuals, 11 speaking stops, tubular-pneumatic action
Tonal modifications 1965 and 1976 [Pitchford & Garside, Sydney?]
Rebuilt, enlarged and installed in new building 1983 Pitchford & Garside, Sydney
2 manuals, 19 speaking stops, electro-pneumatic action




Church of Christ, Chatswood
[Photograph by Mark Quarmby (1983)]

 

Historical and Technical Documentation by Kelvin Hastie
© OHTA 1989, 2014 (last updated July 2014)1


Built for the original church on the present site, the organ in this church was built in 1950 by Whitehouse Bros of Brisbane at a cost of £2,533.14.5. The firm's ledger entry provides further details as follows:

1950
Oct 20

New pipe organ as per
spec, terms & conditions
dated 27 March 1946


£1660 - -
 
  Addition of Sw to Gt Sub,
Sw Sub & Gt Oct couplers

£ 90 - -
 
  Extra cost of supp'g fitting,
staining & polish'g return case

£ 37 15 -
 
  Increased cost of metal pipes
imported from Eng.

£ 122 10
 
  Increased cost of p'matic
action parts imported from Eng.

£ 82 - -
 
  Increased cost of Aust materials
and wages

£ 161 16 -
 
Nov 23
5 return plane fares
£ 76 10 -
 
  Travelling exps
£ 64 - -
 
  Transport & Ins
£ 79 5 2
 
  Wages in Syd.
£ 159 18 3
 
    __________
£2533 14 5.2
 

 





The original Church of Christ, Chatswood
[Photographs from the North Shore Times (1982, exact date unknown)]

The organ was the result of one man's vision - Mr Philip Verco. After World War II, Philip Verco, together with Athol Cust, collected from the congregation the amount required to build the organ. The inaugural recital was given on 19 November 1950. The instrument was of 2 manuals with 11 speaking stops and tubular-pneumatic action. It was sited in the north-western corner of the building at the front of the church, with the console at right-angles to the case.3



The Whitehouse organ in the original church
[Photograph by Mark Quarmby (c.1981)]

This was one of the standard pneumatic-action organs built by Whitehouse Bros at the time: The specification was just one stop larger than that of the organ supplied to St Paul's Presbyterian Church, Casino (1947), and the casework was identical with that of the organs for the Methodist Church, Chermside (1950), Holy Trinity Anglican Church, Goondiwindi (1952) and St Paul's Presbyterian Church, Mackay (1953).4

The original specification at Chatswood was:

GREAT
Open Diapason
Hohl Flute
Dulciana
Flute

SWELL
Violin Diapason
Gedact
Salicional
Vox Celeste [Ten.C]
Principal
Oboe

PEDAL
Bourdon

8
8
8
4


8
8
8
8
4
8


16

COUPLERS
Swell Super
Swell Sub
Swell to Pedal
Swell to Great
Great to Pedal
Swell Super to Great
Swell Sub to Great
Great Super

Tubular-pneumatic action
Swell tremulant
2 pistons to Great
3 pistons to Swell
[Compass: 61/30]
Total number of pipes: 628.5

The organ remained in this condition until 1965 when the Flute and Principal exchanged positions on the manuals. In 1976, the Vox Celeste was replaced by a Twelfth, the Hohl Flute by a Stopped Diapason, and a Bass Flute was added to the Pedal. These alterations are presumed to have been made by Pitchford and Garside of Sydney.



The Whitehouse organ in the present building
[Photograph by Mark Quarmby (1983)]

With the demolition of the original building in 1982, Pitchford & Garside of Sydney were approached to rebuild the organ in the new chapel being built on the same site. The rebuilt instrument was opened with a recital by Michael Deasey on Friday 5 August 1983, followed by a special opening concert with organist Mark Quarmby and the Sydney University Graduate Choir on Sunday 7 August 1983.6

Rebuilt with electro-pneumatic action, it had 2 manuals and 19 speaking stops, and was sited on the liturgical eastern side of the building. New and second-hand pipes were added as follows:

The new pipes are: Quartane Mixture 12.15 and Fifteenth 2ft from George Fincham & Sons, Melbourne.

The second-hand pipes are: Stopped Flute 8ft and Harmonic Flute 4ft from St Mary's Catholic Church, North Sydney.

All of the original and second-hand metal pipework, with the exception of the new ranks, is by Alfred Palmer & Sons, London.





[Photographs by Mark Quarmby (1983)]

The specification of the rebuilt organ is:

GREAT
Open Diapason
Stopped Flute
Dulciana
Principal
Harmonic Flute
Fifteenth

SWELL
Gedact
Salicional
Principal
Rohr Flute
Nazard
Quartane 12.15
Oboe

PEDAL
Bourdon
Open Diapason
Bass Flute
Quint
Choral Bass
Octave Flute

COUPLERS
Swell Super
Swell Sub
Swell Unison Off
Swell to Great
Swell Super to Great
Swell Sub to Great
Swell Octave to Pedal
Swell to Pedal
Great to Pedal

8
8
8
4
4
2


8
8
4
4
2-2/3
II
8


16
8
8
5-1/3
4
4













[1983; second-hand]

[originally on Swell]
[1983; second-hand]
[1983]




[former Great Twelfth, added 1976]
[1983]
[originally Great Flute 4ft]
[1983]



A
B [former Swell Violin Diapason]
A [1976]
A
B [former Swell Violin Diapason]
A











Electro-pneumatic action
Compass: 61/30
Swell tremulant
3 pistons to each division
Great and Pedal pistons coupled.7

Regrettably this organ suffers from a poor acoustical environment: the carpets and soft furnishings absorb so much sound that the organ sounds harsh and lifeless.

_______________________________________________

1 Part of the documentation that appears here was first published as: Kelvin Hastie, 'Organ Ramble in Chatswood,' The Sydney Organ Journal, vol. 20, no. 1 (February/March 1989), p. 19.

2 Whitehouse Bros Ledger (1940-1954), p. 309, cited by Geoffrey Cox, June 2014.

3 Observation on the position within the church by Mark Quarmby, c.1982.

4 Observations by Geoffrey Cox, June 2014.

5 Original specification from lecture notes by the present author for the 2007 OHTA Conference in Brisbane. Compass supplied by Mark Quarmby, July 2014.

6 Dates and details supplied by Mark Quarmby, July 2014.

7 Specification and other details from untitled MS presented by the church upon re-opening of the organ, 1983.