41st Annual Review by John Hargraves


The 2008-09 year has been coloured with intense activity by a full programme of factory work and dealing with an unusual number of water damaged organs. Our main focus has been on building the organs for St Mary’s Catholic Cathedral Perth. We have installed a rack system in our timber store, re-organised our storage facilities, fenced the property and commissioned a new inventory-control system.


Organbuilding Staff: In the last year we have farewelled Martino Hidajat from Indonesia and John Smith from Hungary and welcomed Christian Schleinitz from Germany, and Graham McEwen and Scott Lucy.


St Mary’s Catholic Cathedral, Perth WA: We are now building for completion early next year two organs for the Cathedral. The 1871 nave has been demolished to allow the 1931 transepts and sanctuary to be joined to the 1871 narthex, west gallery and tower  by a new enlarged nave structure including a crypt chapel, offices and meeting rooms, a matching tower and underground carpark.


 St Mary’s Cathedral Perth Chancel Organ: We are building a 71/3 organ to be located in the new west gallery, based on the 1910 Dodd/1963 Gunstar formerly in the south transept. We are also building a 15/2 chancel organ based on the 1905 Hobday originally built for Newtown Methodist, Wellington and held in storage by the Company for 27 years. Both organs will have new taxi drawstop consoles, interconnected by fibre-optic link. They will feature reconfigured casework, internal layouts and additional stops to make the most of their original heritage and the requirements and potential of the enlarged Cathedral space.


St Mary’s Halswell: In June 2008 we carried out an on-site overhaul of the 1922 5/1 N T Pearce organ originally from Taitapu Methodist, transplanted and altered by an amateur group in 1993. Fortunately no tonal modifications were made so it was a satisfying exercise to transform this organ into good musical and playing condition by overhauling and regulating the pipework, slider soundboard and pneumatic action details.


St Mary’s Halswell: Knox Presbyterian Dunedin: In June 2008 we dismantled the 1931 53/3 HN&B/Matla /SIOC organ sufficiently to facilitate a major refurbishment of the Church, and returned in September – October to clean and recommission it including minor overhaul works necessitated by 34 years of hard service since we rebuilt the organ in 1974.


St John’s Roslyn Dunedin: In Aug – Sept 2008 we completed another stage of restoration by fully overhauing the swell and great slider soundboards of the 1881 17/2 E H Jenkins/Matla organ to achieve a quieter and more responsive action and improved pipe speech.


St John’s Roslyn Dunedin: St Georges Cathedral Perth: In August and November of 2008 we revoiced the reed stops of the 1993 46/3 Smenge west-end organ following major refurbishment of the Cathedral and in April - May 2009 we have continued the task of realizing the organ’s considerable potential by tonally regulating the flue stops along with cleaning and minor overhaul. The result has transformed the musicality and tuning stability of this large dual mechanical/electric action neo-baroque instrument. The next stage will be to add a Contra Posaune 32 to the pedal.


St George’s Cathedral Perth: St Andrews on the Terrace Wellington: In August 2008 we dismantled the 1962 31/2 Croft west- end organ sufficiently to facilitate refurbishment of the church and repair major water damage. Recommissioning including overhaul of the 1982 5/1 Croft chamber organ was completed in Nov 2008.


St Pauls Cathedral Wellington: In October – November 2008 we cleaned and revoiced the reed stops of the 64/4 1876 Lewis/1980 Croft/1988 SIOC organ, to suit the enlarged space of the completed Cathedral. The thrilling result has considerably enhanced the organ’s versatility and tuning stability.


Christchurch House Organ: In November 2008 we purchased a two rank extension organ made by Ross Weir of Christchurch and after revoicing and minor overhaul installed it in another home where it is much enjoyed by its new owner.


St David’s Presbyterian Auckland: In February we carried out a further stage of on-site tonal and mechanical overhaul work (this time focusing on the reed stops) to return the Croft organ to a good playing standard.


St David’s Auckland: St Andrews Palmerston North: In January we assisted Roy Tankersley with rewiring and recommissioning the 1871 37/3 Halmshaw/N&B/Croft organ following the refurbishment of the church and west gallery. In March and April we repaired, tonally regulated and tuned the organ to ascertain the quality and suitability of the 1871 Halmshaw pipework as the stylistic basis for the planned restoration. We based the tonal pallet on our experience with restoring its intact twin organ at Christchurch Cathedral of the Blessed Sacrament, whereas the St Andrew’s organ has encountered significant alteration. The results are quite astounding for anyone who remembers the previous sound of St Andrew’s organ and augur well for the success of the restoration.


Auckland Town Hall: In January – February we assisted Orgelbau Klais for 6 weeks with installation of the new 82/4 organ to the point of its being ready for the 2nd phase beginning in August, comprising installation of the manual pipework, voicing, tonal regulation and tuning.


St Marks Remuera Auckland: Immediately following this Congress we will commence substantially dismantling the 40/3 Jones/N&B/L&O/Croft/SIOC organ of St Mark’s Remuera in preparation for factory redesign and restoration of the total winding system, the swell slider soundboard, stop-action, tremulant and offset windchest, pedal Bourdon and Open Diapason Metal windchests, and choir tremulant. The work should be completed by the end of September.


St Mark’s Remuera Auckland: Christchurch Cathedral: In July of this year we will commence cleaning the Hill/HN&B/SIOC 64/3 organ again to remove the aftermath of the recent Cathedral earthquake strengthening and refurbishment programme.


Unitarian Church, Auckland: Immediately following this congress we will remove the reservoirs to our factory for releathering as the


Unitarian Church Auckland: first stage of restoring the 1904 George Croft organ, one of the finest and most original of his surviving works.

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