St Swithun's Anglican Church
cnr Telegraph and Merrivale Roads, Pymble

Ian Brown & Assoc. (including parts from second hand organs) 1998 (3/41 electric)



From SOJ Spring 1998, Autumn 1999:

The Pymble Anglican Church is the only church in Australia to have been named after St Swithun (Bishop of Winchester d. 862). The first church service was held in a wooden building in July 1901 and a new church building replaced this structure in 1940. The new church's first organ was a Hammond organ which lasted about 20 years. In 1961 it was replaced by another electronic, a Wurtlitzer which by 1975 had become unreliable. At this stage a bequest for $10,000 was given to the church and two second hand organs were acquired.


The first organ to be acquired was by W.L. Roberts in 1920 for the Methodist Church in Mosman. It's specification was:

Great
Open Diapason
Hohl Flute
Gamba
Dolce
Principal
Harmonic Flute
Clarinet

Swell
Bourdon
Violin Diapason
Lieblich Gedact
Viol d' Gamba
Voix Celeste
Gemshorn
Horn
Oboe
Vox Humana

Pedal
Subbass
Bourdon
Bass Flute


8
8
8
8
4
4
8


16
8
8
8
8
4
8
8
8


16
16
8










A











A
A


Pneumatic action

Usual couplers and octave couplers


The second organ to be acquired came from Holy Trinity Anglican Church in Dubbo. It began as a Charles Richardson one manual of 5 speaking stops and 2 couplers. C.W. Leggo added a 3 stop Swell division in 1936. In 1979 the organ was electrified by Geoffrey Kendall who also enlarged it. The Dubbo church kept the façade to cover the speakers of a replacement electronic instrument. The specifcation after Kendall had rebuilt it was:

Great
Open Diapason
Stopped Diapason
Dulciana
Principal
Fifteenth

Swell
Lieblich Gedackt
Salicional
Flute
Piccolo
Clarion

Pedal
Bourdon

8
8
8
4
2


8
8
4
2
8


16


Brown & Arkley were given the contract to build a new instrument for St Swithun's using the two organs acquired plus adding some new pipework (8 stops), and further work (addition of the Choir division, Pedal reed and Mixture) to complete the project was undertaken by Ian D Brown and Associates in 1998.

Neil Cameron wrote a comprehensive article in The Sydney Organ Journal (Autumn 1999 Vol 30 No. 2). His main points remain pertinent:

• The acoustics of the church are appalling. Norman McPherson, despite being a prominent architect and the church's organist, designed a building which is "dead" acoustically – quite inappropriate for both speech and music.
• Between 1975 and 1985 the church acquired two second-hand pipe organs: the 1920 W L Roberts organ from the Methodist Church at Mosman, and the 1906 C Richardson organ from Holy Trinity Anglican Church at Dubbo.
• After some controversy the parish agreed to proceed with the construction of an organ using material from those two organs (supplemented by other new or second-hand pipes and parts). Brown and Arkley were contracted to create a new instrument from these disparate sources.
• Despite its interesting pedigree and the building's poor acoustics, the organ is effective in supporting congregational singing, in accompanying the choir, and for the voluntaries that precede and follow the morning services.

Since that article was written, several amendments have been made to the specification of the organ, which continues to be maintained by Ian and Jennifer Brown:

• The Swell Closed Horn was replaced by a Trumpet.
• The Pedal 2' Flute was discarded.
• Because the Pedal Bourdon 16' is "tubby", the Pedal division lacked a soft 16' register. The pipe chamber was already chock-a-block. Given there was no room in the pipe chamber for any more large pipes, an electronic 16' Violone was added, its volume adjustable by the Swell pedal.
• That proved so successful that an electronic 32' Contra Violone was recently added – its volume is also adjustable by the Swell pedal, so it can provide the gentlest presence or a robust bass according to need.
• The Swell division lacked a soft reed. But there was no room in the Swell box for another rank, and none of the existing ranks deserved to be sacrificed. Ian Sells proposed adding an electronic Oboe 8'. He then advised that, for very little extra expense, another 3 electronic stops could also be provided. So three more gaps were plugged: a soft Suave Flute 4' was added to the Swell; and to the Great were added Harmonic Flute 4' and Large Diapason 8'.


The present specification is:

Great
Bourdon
Large Diapason
Diapason
Stopped Diapason
Principal
Harmonic Flute
Fifteenth
Sesquialtera 12.17
Mixture 19.22.26.29
Posaune

Swell
Violin Diapason
Lieblich Gedact
Salicional
Vox Angelica II
Gemshorn
Suave Flute
Fifteenth
Mixture 19.22
Bassoon
Trumpet
Oboe
Tremulant

Choir
Chimney Flute
Dulciana
Coppel Flute
Fifteenth
Mixture 22.26.29
Dulzian
Cremona

Pedal
Contra Violone
Sub Bass
Bourdon
Violone
Principal
Bass Flute
Fifteenth
Flute
Mixture 10.12.15
Contra Fagot
Trombone
Dulzian
Fagot

Couplers
Swell to Great
Choir to Great
Swell to Choir
Swell to Pedal
Great to Pedal
Choir to Pedal

16
8
8
8
4
4
2
II
IV
8


8
8
8
8
4
4
2
II
16
8
8



8
8
4
2
III
16
8


32
16
16
16
8
8
4
4
III
32
16
16
8









A













G
















F



B

A
B
G
A
G
A

C
C
F
C









M
E
D
D
D
E
O Pipes by Fincham
O
O Pipes from ?? in England
O Pipes by Giesecke & Sohn


D
M
O Pipes by Hill (from Manly Presbyterian Church)
D
M
E
O Pipes by Laukhuff
O Pipes by Laukhuff
O Pipes by Laukhuff (from Young Anglican Church)
O Pipes by Laukhuff
E








B



E Only the lowest 24 notes are electronic
M
M
E Only the lowest 12 notes are electronic
M
M
M
M
O
E Only the lowest 12 notes are electronic
O
O Pipes by Stinkens
O








7 thumb pistons to Swell
6 thumb pistons to Great
5 thumb pistons to Choir
6 toe pistons to Pedal
6 general thumb pistons
3 general toe pistons

10 separate channels of memory
Each coupler has a reversible thumb piston
Great to Pedal toe piston
Swell to Great toe piston


Key:

M = pipes from Roberts organ in Mosman
D = pipes from Richardson organ in Dubbo
O = pipes sourced from elsewhere
E = electronic stop

2008 and 2014 work carried out by Ian D. Brown & Associates


Photos: MQ August 2007