"The Oaks," Residence of Sir Trevor Garland

Hyatts Road, Oakhurst

John W. Parker 2019 and 2020 incorporating
the 1930 Whitehouse Bros organ at St Andrew's Presbyterian Church, Chatswood,
the 1967 J.P. Eagles organ at St John's Anglican Church, Rockdale and
the 1966 J.P. Eagles organ at West Sydney Chinese Christian Church, Strathfield




"The Oaks" Oakhurst
[Photograph by Mark Quarmby January 2020)] 

 

Historical and Technical Documentation by John W. Parker
© OHTA 2020 (last updated June 2020)


Sir Trevor Garland obtained the 1930 Whitehouse Bros pipe organ at St Andrew's Presbyterian Church, Chatswood in October 2017. It had been offered 'for sale' for a number of years and with no takers, was facing being demolished with the church prior to impending redevelopment. Sir Trevor was put in touch with the church by Peter Jewkes and the instrument was dismantled and removed to storage at his home at Oakhurst.

I was approached by him with a view to installing the organ into his historic home – "The Oaks" later that year. It was not till early 2018 that I visited his home for the first time, and sadly realised that there was no way the organ could be installed in its original configuration due to height and space restrictions. It was decided the only scenario possible was to locate "any" organ on a section of closed-in veranda at the rear of the first floor. Then was posed the problem of the large, heavy Whitehouse pneumatic chests, bellows and pipework and their combined 'weight' on the 1830's veranda! The other hurdle was a restricted height on the veranda of 9 foot 10 inches.



The organ installed on the verandah at "The Oaks"
[photograph by Mark Quarmby (January 2020)]

It was suggested direct electric action pipe chests be manufactured to lighten the load but this exceeded available funds. Fortunately in mid 2018, I was requested to remove the 9 rank James Eagles organ from St John's Anglican Church, Rockdale; an instrument I had maintained since 1988, but had been shut down in 2008 in favour of a church band.

The St John's organ contained nine late model Eagles 'direct electric' manual chests, plus an assortment of 12 note off-set chests. As this was a "remove or go to landfill" job, it certainly solved Sir Trevor's need of electric action pipe chests. It also solved his desire to reinstate a Dulciana rank removed from the Whitehouse years ago, add a Viol di Gamba and a Trumpet. All ranks from the original St John's Leggo organ, were made by the noted English pipemakers, Alfred Palmer of London.

Time only allowed the best of the St John's organ to be saved. All that was left for the church to remove was a borer ridden 1 – 12 of the Bourdon, a poor open wood Flute on the Swell, the particleboard Swell Box, and the relay switch stack. The pedalboard was of poor quality and was also discarded.

The Whitehouse console was built into the front case of the St Andrew's instrument and could not easily be converted to a free standing unit. The St John's organ had a tasteful 'light oak' roll-top console that was highly suitable for a free standing 'lounge room' position and this has been rebuilt with new key contacts, stop units and tabs.




The organ console at "The Oaks"
[photograph by Mark Quarmby (January 2020)]




View from the console towards the window through which the organ speaks at "The Oaks"
[photograph by Mark Quarmby (January 2020)]


Sir Trevor loves his "strings" and he wished for a Celeste rank on the Swell to work with the Viol di Gamba and the stunning, tiny scaled Echo Gamba (added to the Whitehouse by ST Noad in 1935 with the Stopped Diapason – both made by Hill Norman & Beard, Australia). Electric chests from Rockdale were already allocated leaving three to manufacture at cost.

Miraculously in mid-2019, I was requested to remove 'another' James Eagles organ I maintained from the West Sydney Chinese Christian Church at Homebush Road, Strathfield. This instrument had undergone much work over the years; rewiring, a solid state relay and the console refurbished. Having no storage available, Sir Trevor kindly offered his back shed.

This 7 rank instrument was possibly the last Eagles instrument to be built; the console, pipe chests and electric pallet valves in excellent refurbished condition. A rank labelled "Dulciana" on the console was in fact a Palmer Celeste – granting Sir Trevor his wish! Likewise the pedal board had been rebuilt by me in 1995 and was perfect to replace that discarded from the St John's console as it was a perfect 'fit' – identical in dimensions and the frame constructed of 'oak'.


TONAL SCHEME

I have worked hard to retain the history of the Whitehouse organ, plus provide the requirements of the client considering the obstacles placed in our way.

Using electric chests has enabled the 'unification' of the Great Diapason playable in 8, 4 and 2' pitch (the present 2 2/3 Twelfth is temporary). Likewise, the H N &B Stopped Diapason is now available at 8 and 4' pitch.

The independent Dulciana 8' is a bonus.

The Pedal Bourdon has been extended up to 8' as a Bass Flute, and the Great Diapason is on the Pedal at 8' pitch. With the limited Pedal the future will see the addition of a 16' Oboe extension of the Swell Oboe. This octave is sourced and stored in Auckland New Zealand. It is in keeping with the genre of the instrument, manufactured by Palmer of London.

The Great Diapason has been sourced from both St John's Rockdale, with the 1 – 12 bottom octave from WSCCC Strathfield. Thus the original Whitehouse front pipes are in storage and saved from mitering. The same applies to the Whitehouse Bourdon – a huge scale too big for a home installation. The Garland Bourdon is Leggo, ex WSCCC.

The Swell will be entirely Whitehouse, with the addition of Gamba 8', Celeste tc 8', Trumpet 8' – all of the same period. The Violin Diapason will be playable at 8 – 4' providing a tuning rank and also eventually the 'softer' Twelfth 2 2/3 on the Great.



FUTURE

Discussion hopes that the central flat of Diapason pipes from the Whitehouse organ can be tastefully adapted as a 'dummy' front to cover the window/tone opening into the lounge room. The pipes would be placed on the original front pipe chest without alteration to the internal actions.

As funds become available, work will proceed to gradually bring the Swell into operation and construction of the Swell shutter front. Eventually the instrument will only speak into the lounge room through the main window – or double doors outside on to the veranda for outdoor events. This aspect was tested on 14th December 2019 to great effect and success played by Peter Jewkes accompanying the Cathedral Singers.

A 16ft bass for the Pedal Contra Oboe was imported from New Zealand in June 2020. All pipes are of full length.1



[Photograph from Facebook 23 June 2020]

The current specification is:

Great
Open Diapason
Stopped Diapason
Dulciana TC
Octave
Octave Flute
Fifteenth
Chimes
Swell Sub to Great
Swell to Great
Swell Octave to Great

Swell
Violin Diapason
Flute Amabile
Viola di Gamba
Voix Celeste
Echo Gamba
Principal
Rohr Flute
Trumpet
Oboe
Chimes
Tremulant
Swell Sub Octave
Swell Octave

Pedal
Bourdon
Diapason
Bass Flute
Contra Oboe
Great to Pedal
Swell to Pedal

8
8
8
4
4
2
2-2/3





8
8
8
8
8
4
4
8
8






16
8
8
16



A
B
C
A
B
A
A This is now an extended Twelfth




Swell Division currently prepared for except the Chimes
E




E


F
Middle C to Treble F





D
A
D
F


 

Balanced Swell Pedal
Compass 61/32
Direct electric action (Bourdon 1 - 12 electro-pnuematic)

4 Great divisional thumb pistons
4 Swell divisonal thumb pistons
2 Pedal divisional toe pistons
Great to Pedal reversible toe piston
Great to Pedal reversible thumb piston
Swell to Pedal reversible thumb piston
Swell to Great reversible thumb piston



1 Details noted by Mark Quarmby at https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10217365708351203&set=a.1467978775972&type=3&theater, June 2020













Console details of the organ at "The Oaks"
[photographs by Mark Quarmby (January 2020)]













Pipework of the organ at "The Oaks"
[photographs by John Parker on Facebook (June 2020)]