St Mary the Virgin Anglican Church
Birrell Street (near Carrington Road) Waverley

August Gern 1888, rebuilt and enlarged Peter D.G Jewkes 1995 (2/24 electro-pneumatic)


Chamber Organ

Roger Jones 1988 (1/3 mechanical)

 





Historical and Technical Documentation by Ray Holland and Peter Jewkes, 1995
Updated by Kelvin Hastie October 2022 © OHTA 2022
 


The first part of this Edmund Blacket building in Old English style was consecrated on 19 May 1864. It consisted of six bays in the nave and a twenty-foot square chancel. The nave was lengthened by 18 feet and an organ chamber added to the north side of the chancel in the 1880s. A west gallery proposed by Blacket at that time was not constructed. Of special note in this building are the two lancet windows near the pulpit which contain the first stained glass made in New South Wales by a professional glassmaker, John Falconer, who also made the other windows on the south side and the sanctuary windows which now incorporate figures by Alfred Handel dating from 1942.

An extensive restoration programme has been undertaken during the 18 years leading up to 1995, culminating in the construction of a west gallery and narthex screen to a design by parishioner Jerry Carroll which incorporates detail from Blacket's work.1

The first organ for St Mary’s was built by J.W. Walker of London in 1864 (job number 747), but was removed in 1889 to St Francis Xavier’s Catholic Church, Lavender Bay and from there in 1988 to Tyburn Convent Chapel, Riverstone.

The next organ for St Mary’s was built in 1888 by August Gern, of Notting Hill, London. Gern was a foreman of Cavaillé-Coll, who set up business for himself in England after supervising the erection of the Cavaillé-Coll instrument at the Carmelite Church, Kensington, London.

The St Mary’s organ was built during the time Signor G. Lardelli was organist and was located in a chancel chamber. A distinctive feature was the location of the stopknobs in two rows above the Swell manual, with a small builder’s plate of engraved ivory in the centre. The original stopknobs were in a similar style to those of contemporary Bevington organs.2



The organ in its original position (Peter Jewkes)


The specification was:

Great
Open Diapason
Leiblich Gedact
Dulciana
Principal
Flauto Traverso

Swell
Hohl Flute
Viole de Gamba
Voix Celeste
Gemshorn
Piccolo
Trumpet

Pedal
Bourdon
Bass Flute

Couplers
Swell to Great
Swell to Pedal
Great to Pedal
Octave on Great
Swell Sub to Great

8
8
8
4
4


8
8
8
4
2
8


16
8










TC






TC















Compass 56/30
Tubular-pneumatic


The stopknobs were arranged in two rows above the Swell keyboard.

Gern’s instrument did not remain untouched for long. An inscription inside the Pedal windchest discloses that it was ‘rebuilt according to approved principles by E. Ladegast for C. Richardson’ in 1894. Richardson completely replaced the manual soundboards and action, and brought the pipe front forward of the chamber arch by adding the curved alcove above the original impost.3

In 1960 Noad rebuilt the instrument, providing new cone chests under the Richardson upper-boards, but leaving the Gern ventils and Pedal chest untouched. The Swell Trumpet was removed to the Great on a separate windchest tubed off the Great soundboard, with an Oboe substituted in the Swell.

By 1979 the instrument was almost unplayable. In 1980 Peter Jewkes electrified the action in order to keep the instrument alive and at the same time supplied new keys and ivory stopknobs, with part of the Noad Oboe transferred to the Pedal as a 4’ stop. The Trumpet was replaced in the Swell and a Mixture III added. Fire damage in 1984 necessitated a major cleaning and the removal of ash and debris. A new blower was supplied at this time, and a Great Trompette 8’ (extended to 16’ for the Pedal) was added.

The present organ, essentially a new instrument by Peter D.G. Jewkes Pty Ltd, was completed in 1995 and installed in the new west gallery. It incorporates most of what remained of the Gern material, including the pipework and parts of the console, the original impost and panelling, as well as the rebuilt pedal chests. New pipework has been scaled to match the Gern material (with exception of the Great Trompette which is intended for ceremonial use). The show pipes have been rediapered with gilt to the Gern patterns and two new wings added to the pipe front. These include two bass pipes for the Dulciana and two dummies. The wind system, bellows, slider soundboards, key and stop actions are all new.4

The present specification is:

Great
Open Diapason
Flûte Harmonique
Lieblich Gedact
Dulciana
Principal
Flauto Traverso
Nazard
Fifteenth
Tierce
Mixure
Trompette

Swell
Hohl Flute
Gamba
Voix Celeste
Principal
Harmonic Piccolo
Mixture
Corno Di Bassetto
Trumpet
Tremulant

Pedal
Sub Bass
Bass Flute
Flute
Bombarde
Schalmei

Couplers
Swell to Great
Swell to Pedal
Great to Pedal
Swell Suboctave
Swell Octave
Swell unison off

8
8
8
8
4
4
2-2/3
2
1-3/5
III
8


8
8
8
4
2
III
16
8



16
8
4
16
4










B (added 2001)








A















B (added 2001)
A










5 thumb pistons to Great
5 thumb pistons to Swell
5 thumb general pistons
3 brass combination pedals to Pedal
1 thumb piston CdiB 8 – (engages Corno Di Bassetto 16 plus Swell Octave and Swell Unison Off couplers. An extra octave of pipes allows the stop to play to the top of the compass)
Swell to Great reversible thumb piston
Great to pedal reversible thumb piston
Reversible pedal for Great to Pedal
Setter piston
General Cancel
SSL solid state capture system
2 levels of memory












1. Ray Holland, “Notes on the Conference Buildings and Organs – St Mary the Virgin Anglican Church Waverley” Restorations in Retrospect – the XVIIIth Annual Conference, Sydney: Organ Historical Trust of Australia, 1995, 14-16.

2. Graeme D. Rushworth, Historic Organs of New South Wales: the instruments, their makers and players 1791-1940. (Sydney: Hale & Iremonger 1988), 252.

3. Holland, op.cit., note on page 16: personal comment, Peter Jewkes to Ray Holland, 31 July 1995.

4. ibid.


Chamber Organ

Roger Jones 1988 (1/3 mechanical)

Historical and Technical Documentation by Kelvin Hastie © OHTA 2022


The chamber organ was built in 1988 by Roger Jones, of Nuriootpa, South Australia, for the residence of Dr Llewellyn and Mrs Jacqueline Wheeler, Ruthven Street, Bondi Junction. Llewellyn Daniel Wheeler (1919-2004) enjoyed a career as a highly respected and prominent Sydney urologist, while also pursuing his musical and theological interests. In 1978 he obtained a Bachelor of Divinity Degree and became one of the founders of the Prayer Book Society in Australia, being its NSW Chair until the year 2000.1

Dr Wheeler was a member of the Organ Historical Trust of Australia and in 1990 invited members to see the Jones organ as part of a social function that included visits to All Saints’ Anglican Church, Woollahra, and the residence of Ray Holland in Alison Road, Randwick.

Roger Jones specialised in making small pipe organs with mechanical action, using wooden and metal pipes of his own manufacture. While most of his work was carried out in the Barossa Valley, his organs can be found in other parts of Australia, including New South Wales, Victoria and the Australian Capital Territory. The Waverley organ is typical of his output.

Manual
Bourdon
Flute
Principal

8
4
2
   

Mechanical action
Manual compass 54 notes
Detachable blower unit


1. John L. Allsop, “Obituary – Llewellyn Daniel Wheeler MB BS, MS, FRACS, BDiv”, Medical Journal of Australia, 182/1, 3 January 2005: 37.

 








Roger Jones chamber organ


Photos above: Trevor Bunning (October 2022)