St John-the-Evangelist Anglican Church
Pacific Highway, Gordon

Main organ: B. 1929 W.G. Rendall.
Reb. 1956 S.T. Noad & Son.
Reb. & enl. 1972 A. Welby

2m., 19 sp.st., 9c., el.pn.
Gt: 8.8.8.8.4.4.2-2/3.2. Sw: 8.8.4.2.III.8. Ped: 16.16.8.8.4.

Second organ: B. 1882 Hill & Son, London
for residence of W.R. Angus, Esq., Sydney (job no.1810)
Installed 1940 Methodist Church, Arncliffe.
Res. & inst. St John's Lutheran Church, Wollongong 1979 Brown & Arkley.
1m., 6 sp.st., 2c., tr. Man: 8.8.8.4.8. Ped: 16.

Inst. present location 2012 Peter DG Jewkes






Built in 1929 by W.G. Rendall.

Rebuilt in 1956 S.T. Noad & Son.

Rebuilt and enlarged in 1972 by A. Welby.

Some electrical work with new console by Peter D.G. Jewkes in 1986.

 

2 manuals, 19 speaking stops, 7 couplers, electro-pneumatic action.

 

Great
Open Diapason No. I 
Open Diapason No. II
Claribel 
Dulciana
Principal 
Lieblich Flute
Twelfth
Fifteenth 
Mixture (22, 26, 29)

Swell to Great 

Swell  
Horn Diapason
Lieblich Gedact
Salicional 
Voix Celeste
Principal
Piccolo
Mixture (15, 19, 22)
Contra Oboe
Trompette
Super Octave
Unison Off
Sub-Octave

Pedal
Violone
Bourdon
Principal
Bass Flute
Choral Bass
Posaune
Swell to Pedal
Great to Pedal
Great & Pedal Pistons

8
8
8
8
4
4
2-2/3
2
III



8
8
8
8
4
2
III
16
8





16
16
8
8
4
16





A




(labelled Larigot) disconnected
A
(prep. for)



(prep. for)


(prep. for)



(prep. for) 






A
B

B

(prep. for)



            

Capture action:

4 pistons to Great Organ

4 pistons to Swell Organ

4 toe studs to Pedal Organ

Great to Pedal reversible piston (under Great manual)

Swell to Great reversible piston (under Swell manual)

Great to Pedal reversible toe stud

Swell to Pedal reversible toe stud

General Cancel piston

Setter piston

Two levels of memory

Great and Pedal pistons coupler

 

 






View from nave before Hill organ was installed



View from nave after Hill organ was installed on left.




 

A Brief History of the Hill Chamber Organ

by Brett McKern (May 2012)

 

The organ was ordered in 1882 by William Angus, an amateur organist who ran a carriage and coach building business in Castlereagh Street, Sydney. Angus was sometime Organist of All Saints' Church, Petersham. The instrument was ordered from the great English organ builders, Hill & Son. Hill built the magnificent organ in the Sydney Town Hall, Westminster Abbey and Christ Church St Laurence in Sydney (also originally a house organ). Beautifully made, the chamber organ has all the attention to detail and beautiful tonal colours that made these larger instruments famous.

In 1940 the organ was bought by Arncliffe Methodist Church in the south of Sydney. With the formation of the Uniting Church in Australia in 1977, this church building was sold to the Coptic Orthodox Church and became St Mark's Cathedral. In the meantime the little Hill organ was moved to St John's Lutheran Church in Wollongong where minor repairs were undertaken by Brown & Arkley organ builders. For some years now it has been in the care of Peter D.G. Jewkes Pty Ltd, organ builders. In February 2012 it was purchased by the St John's Music Association for the Church of St John the Evangelist in Gordon. Here it was installed in May 2012 and will do duty as a second organ while funds are raised to replace the ailing main organ, and will deputise for the main organ when it is out of action and during the replacement period.

The manual pipes of the Hill chamber organ are fully enclosed, the case pipes being non-speaking. Originally these were painted with beautiful coloured patterns in the Victorian fashion, but this has unfortunately been painted over in gold paint at some stage. Ideally it would be wonderful to restore the stencilling and removed rear panelling, but funding would need to be raised. The compass of the organ is 54/25 and there is a 'trigger' swell pedal and two composition pedals.

The specification is:

Manual
Open Diapason
Dulciana
Lieblich Gedact
Harmonic Flute
Oboe

Pedal
Bourdon
Manual to Pedal

8'
8'
8'
4'
8'


16'

   

 

 

 

 

 

 


The Little Hill of Gordon

Dr Brett McKern

Sydney Organ Journal, Spring 2012



Fig. 1: The 1882 Hill & Son chamber organ.1

The misquote from the Psalms2 that forms the title of this article is appropriate, not only because it was first applied by the organ builder who moved this organ to Gordon, but because the Gordon Church site was chosen atop the hill at Gordon, the prime real estate in the area, when a school was founded there in 1823 and then a church in 1872. The Foundation stone of the first church building was laid on 26 October 1872 and a church built to the design of Edmund Blacket.3 When this building was too small for the number of parishioners, it was extended, but again became too small and on 28 April 1924 the cornerstone of the new church was set.4 The Blacket building became the lady chapel of the new church. Music and liturgy have always been important to the parish of Gordon, and even before the debt on the building was cleared, a pipe organ was sought for the new church.5 No mention is made in the parish histories of an organ in the Blacket church although organists are known back to 1887, and it can be assumed that like many other small churches, a reed organ was used.

The pipe organ purchased for the new church was the 1928-30 Rendall organ, completed in 1930 by Leggo. This instrument is not the subject of this article and further information can be found about it elsewhere6 so further details will not be given here., Suffice it to say that as the church was extended to reach its full size, so was the organ: for the 1935 extension by Noad in 1956; for the 1967 completion of the building by Welby in 1972; and with the present console by Jewkes in 1986.7 Only the first stage of the 1986 rebuild was ever carried out, and the organ continued to give trouble as it had done since its construction in the 1920s. With some of these problems plaguing the instrument presently, advice was sought from several independent organ builders and all advised that a rebuild of the present instrument as it stands was not wise; the parish is thus undertaking to raise the money to install another instrument in the church that will suit the liturgy, choral accompaniment and organ repertoire demands, and the present size of the church. As these projects are not inexpensive and it may take some time to raise the required funds, it was decided that an instrument should be purchased that could stand in for the main organ during the installation of the new instrument and during the frequent mechanical lapses it presently suffers. Not wishing to use a piano or electronic instrument, a search began to find a small pipe organ that would do this task. An instrument of quality was sought such that the instrument might have a life beyond the rebuild of the main organ. After several years of searching and inspection of several instruments, the Hill chamber organ became available and was purchased in February 2012 by the St John's Music Association.

This Hill organ was ordered in January 1882 by William R. Angus, a well-known amateur organist8, of the carriage and coach building form of Angus & Son, which was then at 101-185 Castlereagh Street, Sydney. William Angus was organist at the York Street Wesleyan Centenary Chapel in about 1881 and then at All Saints' Anglican Church in Petersham in about 1900.9

In 1940 Arncliffe Methodist Church acquired the organ. At union in 1977 when the Uniting Church was formed, many church properties from the former Methodist Church of Australasia, the Presbyterian Church or Australia and the Congregational Union became surplus to requirements and some were sold. This happened to Arncliffe Methodist Church which was acquired by the Coptic Orthodox Church and became St Mark's Cathedral, with the foundation stone laid by the Coptic Orthodox Pope on 8 May 1980.10



Fig. 2: Arncliffe Methodist Church, now St Mark's Coptic Orthodox Cathedral.11

No longer required by the Coptic Orthodox Cathedral, the Hill organ was moved to St John's Lutheran Church in Wollongong in 1979. In Wollongong it was partially restored and installed by Brown and Arkley,12 but has been maintained for some years now by Peter D.G. Jewkes Pty Ltd.


Fig. 3: St John's Lutheran Church, Wollongong.13

The organ had become surplus to requirements by the Lutherans of Wollongong who required the space in their small church for other instruments, and it was let known that the organ was again available. After purchase for the parish of St John the Evangelist, Gordon, it was installed in April-May 2012 by Peter D.G. Jewkes Pty Ltd. The organ was blessed on Pentecost Sunday 27 May 2012 by the Rector of Gordon, Fr Keith Dalby. It is presently used as a chancel organ and is played for some choral accompaniments, voluntaries, and for small services in the lady chapel. It has already be called on to deputise for the malfunctioning main organ.

The organ was Hill & Son job number 1810, and has a 'deal case' with non-speaking case pipes. These were originally diapered in typical Victorian fashion, but at some stage the ears of the case pipes were roughly removed and the pipes painted gold with red mouths. It would be wonderful to restore the pipes and diapering at some stage in the future. Likewise, the timber panels that encased the lower section of the rear of the organ and the upper rear sides to the sides of the swell box were at some stage removed, and as the organ is free standing again, these would be usefully reinstated. These panels give some hint as to the instrument's provenance as a house organ. Likewise, the flue stops lack the forthright tone often associated with Hill organs, but the reed is fiery and much stronger than typical oboe stops. All manual stops are enclosed in a swell box operated by a hitch-down swell pedal. This box is very effective and helps give the impression that the organ has more stops than it in fact has, offering a very gradual decrescendo with judicious use of stops and swell.

Despite the organ's diminutive size, it bears all the hallmarks of many of Hill's larger and better known instruments. The key cheeks are typical, the pipe mouths are typical, and the solidity and complexity of the mechanism was attested in the amount of time taken for the organs reassembly at Gordon. The pipe work is voiced with the skill expected of its maker. The Dulciana is beautiful and with the swell box closed reduces to an almost inaudible pianissimo. This can be accompanied by the uncoupled pedal bourdon which speaks so beautifully as to render the absence of a coupled 8' stop irrelevant. The Harmonic Flute as the solitary 4' stop rather than a Principal is perhaps another hint of the organ's first home, but is a delightful stop characteristic of the maker.

At some stage amateur builders tried to install a super octave coupler and tremulant using parts from a reed organ.14 These have now been removed, restoring the organ to its original specification. The compass is 54/25, the two octave flat and parallel pedal board sitting in a different place to most in relation to the manual. There are two composition pedals.

It has the following specification.

Manual
Open Diapason
Dulciana
Lieblich Gedact
Harmonic Flute
Oboe

Pedal
Bourdon
Manual to Pedal

8'
8'
8'
4'
8'


16'

   

 

 

 

 

 

 

Organists of the Church:

Organist

1887-? W. Pymble, F.Shaw (Choirmaster)

?-1908 Mrs King· 1909-? G.H. Turner

1923-1928 G.E.M. Coomber

1928 Edward Massey

1929-1933 Hannagan

1933-1934 R. Griffiths

1934-1936 Sydney Cooper ARCO

1937-1938 Martin Giles LLB

1939-1946 Charles Maddocks AMusA

1947-1950 Allan Jenkins

1950-1951 Oliver Craddock MA

1951-1955 L. Gent BA

1956-1965 L. Trimble BA

1965 R. Adams (Acting Organist)

1965-2001 Graham Anderson, Enid Anderson AMusA

Organist & Director of Music

2002-2008 Jane Stewart MMus

2008- Dr Brett McKern DCA BMus BTh BEd FGCM LTCL(Organ&Comp) LMusA ARCO AMusA(Organ&MShip) ACertCM CertRS HonGCM

Assistant Organists

(1972-1997) Ross Adam, David Alexander, Jeff Barlow, Clifford Cowdroy FACE, Dr James Forsyth, Chris Sillince, Richard Simpson

Organ Scholar 2008 Nicola Chau

Assistant Director of Music 2009- Nicola Chau BMusSt

Deputy Organist 2010- Clifford Cowdroy FACE

 

 


1 Photo by Brett McKern, 2011.

2 Psalm 42:8.

3 John C. Moon, 125 Year History, The Church of St John the Evangelist, Gordon, NSW. Sydney: St John's Church, Gordon, 1997, p.9.

4 Ibid, p.26.5 Ibid, p.27.

6 Rushworth book, Organ Music Society Website, etc.

7 Details from Parish archives.

8 Author uncredited, 'St John's Lutheran Church, Wollongong' on Organ Historical Trust of Australia website, http://www.ohta.org.au/organs/organs/WollLuth.html, accessed 28-10-2011.

9 Graeme D. Rushworth, Historic Organs of New South Wales, the Instruments, their Makers and Players, 1791-1940. Sydney: Hale & Iremonger, 1988, p.272.

10 Posted by Sally, 23-3-2008 at 'St Mark's Coptic Orthodox Cathedral' on Arncliffe, Sydney website, http://arncliffesydney.blogspot.com/2008/03/st-marks-coptic-orthodox-cathedral.html, accessed 28-10-2011.

11 Photos from 'St Mark's Coptic Orthodox Cathedral' on Arncliffe, Sydney website, http://arncliffesydney.blogspot.com/2008/03/st-marks-coptic-orthodox-cathedral.html, dated 23-3-2008, accessed 28-10-2011.

12 Author uncredited, 'St John's Lutheran Church, Wollongong' on Organ Historical Trust of Australia website, http://www.ohta.org.au/organs/organs/WollLuth.html, accessed 28-10-2011.

13 Photo by Trevor Bunning (April 2007) from 'St John's Lutheran Church, Wollongong' on Organ Historical Trust of Australia website, http://www.ohta.org.au/organs/organs/WollLuth.html, accessed 28-10-2011.

14 Pers.comm with David Morrison of Peter D.G. Jewkes Pty Ltd, 21 June 2012.

 

 


Bibliography:

Bunning, Trevor, photograph from 'St John's Lutheran Church, Wollongong' on Organ Historical Trust of Australia website, http://www.ohta.org.au/organs/organs/WollLuth.html, accessed 28-10-2011.

Church of St John the Evangelist, Gordon, Parish archives.

Moon, John, 125 Year History, The Church of St John the Evangelist, Gordon, NSW. Sydney: St John's Church Gordon, 1997.

Morrison, David of Peter D.G. Jewkes Pty Ltd, pers. comm, 21 June 2012.

Rushworth, Graeme, D, Historic Organs of New South Wales, the Instruments, their Makers and Players, 1791-1940. Sydney: Hale & Iremonger, 1988.

Sally, posted 23-3-2008 at 'St Mark's Coptic Orthodox Cathedral' on Arncliffe, Sydney website, http://arncliffesydney.blogspot.com/2008/03/st-marks-coptic-orthodox-cathedral.html, accessed 28-10-2011

Stiller, J.E, photograph for the Organ Historical Trust of Australia in Graeme D. Rushworth, Historic Organs of New South Wales, the Instruments, their Makers and Players, 1791-1940. Sydney: Hale & Iremonger, 1988, p.272.

'St John's Lutheran Church, Wollongong' on Organ Historical Trust of Australia website, http://www.ohta.org.au/organs/organs/WollLuth.html, accessed 28-10-2011.

'St Mark Coptic Orthodox Church, Sydney, Australia' at http://stmark.com.au/home/, accessed 29-10-20










Photos: Brett McKern (May 2012)



Photo: Alan Caradus (June 2012)