St Mark's Anglican Church
Menangle Street West, Picton
Wordsworth & Co. (Leeds, England) 1893 (2/8 mechanical)
From SOJ March 1978, Spring 2000:
Edmund Blacket, the distinguished 19th century Sydney architect, designed St. Mark's Church, Picton. The first section of the nave was opened in 1857; this was lengthened in 1872 and transepts were added in 1886 by Blacket's sons. The present organ is by Wordsworth & Co. Leeds, and is installed in the south transept. It remains unaltered from the original. A catalogue of organs built by Wood, Wordsworth & Co, Leeds, mentions two organs for Australia -- one for a Captain Lasseter, and the other for an Independent Chapel, Sydney. Which one of these is now at Picton one cannot say. The case is another essay in pipe-rack design.
From SOJ Autumn 2012 written by Peter Meyer:
Revised date for Picton organ
Information recently placed on the website of the Australian National Library now enables the making of the Wordsworth pipe organ at St Mark's, Picton, NSW to be accurately dated. The Sydney Morning Herald reports a three-day village fair "in aid of St Mark's Church and its organ fund". (SMH 7.11.1892, p.6.) Then on 11 March 1893 the Australian Town and Country Journal reports that:
"At a meeting of members of the local Anglican Church, Picton, held last week, it was decided to purchase a small pipe organ, and Major Lassetter has kindly undertaken to purchase the instrument during his visit to England, supplementing the cost with a liberal donation".
This is the new information.
Major Henry and Mrs Elizabeth Lassetter sailed to England and returned in December 1893 (SMH 9.12.1893, p.5) having ordered the pipe organ from Wordsworth of Leeds. A record held by St Mark's Church indicates that it was installed in 1894 and cost £193.
Previous attempts by Graeme Rushworth and the present writer to date the organ were based on the information in the Wordsworth catalogue that it was ordered by Captain, not Major Lassetter of Sydney. Lassetter held the rank of Captain in the British Army in 1887 and 1888 prior to his return to Australia and promotion to Major at the end of 1888. On this basis the organ would have been ordered in these years and installed somewhere other than the Picton church for up to six years. The Lassetter mansion in Double Bay seemed a likely location. However, an 1892 report in the Herald removes this difficulty:
"Major H.B. Lassetter, commanding the NSW Mounted Infantry, has resigned his commission as captain in the South Staffordshire Regiment, receiving a gratuity and permission to retain his rank and uniform". (SMH 16.9.1892, p. 5).
Thus in 1893 Lassetter, retaining his captaincy, was simultaneously a British Captain and a NSW Major. In the business of ordering the Picton organ in England he naturally used his British rank. As indicated by the Town and Country Journal the Picton organ can therefore confidently be dated to 1893 and not earlier.
Dr Kelvin Hastie advises that "apart from electric blowing the organ remains in unaltered condition today, retaining its cone-tuned pipe work, mechanical actions, soundboards, console fittings and heavily-worn ivory key surfaces. In late 2011 the Heritage Branch of the NSW Department of Planning awarded St Mark's five thousand dollars to assist in costs associated with the re-leathering of the double rise bellows. The work was undertaken by Peter D.G.Jewkes Pty. Ltd".
Swell to Great
Swell to Pedal
Great to Pedal
Lever Swell pedal
Photos supplied by Trevor Bunning May 2006