St Nicolas's Anglican Church
cnr Brook and Carr Streets, Coogee
George Fincham 1885 (2/15 mechanical)
From SOJ August/September 1987, Autumn 1997, Winter 1997:
The most outstanding organ builder of 19th century Australia was George Fincham who established a flourishing business in Melbourne in the 1860s. Fincham encouraged the colonial government of Victoria to impose a tariff on imported organs thereby protecting his own market. However, in NSW such protection did not exist and the majority of organs installed last century came from England.
George Fincham managed to send only a handful of organs to NSW but was more successful after a branch was established in Sydney soon after the turn of the century.
The 1885 George Fincham organ in St Nicolas's Coogee was originally built for Christ Church, Newcastle and was displaced from there by a much larger Norman & Beard instrument in 1906. It is now the only substantially original 19th century Fincham organ to survive in NSW and on account of the extensive popularity of rebuilding and electrification projects in Victoria in the 1950-70 period, it is now one of only a dozen or two original old Fincham organs in Australia.
A number of minor changes were made over the years, notably the housing of the bellows under the church and the fitting of tuning slides. Restoration in two stages has been carried out by Pitchford and Garside; first in 1982 and then in 1984. The bellows has been returned to its original position on the building frame and damaged and worn parts have been repaired. The restoration has greatly improved the operation of the instrument and the church authorities are delighted with the result.
The instrument is very typical of "Grandfather" Fincham's work, the casework display of three towers and two flats is an instantly recognisable example.
Great to Pedal
Swell to Pedal
Swell to Great
compass : 56/30
Mechanical action throughout
Photos: Trevor Bunning (Dec 2008)