1997 Review


Last June the redundant 1897 Jenkins organ originally built for Dunedin's Moray Place Congregational Church, left New Zealand for its new home at St. Aidan's Uniting Church, North Balwyn, Melbourne. The west gallery of this fine modern Church was enlarged and altered to accommodate the 36 strong, mixed choir, and rebuilt organ with its new detached drawstop console. The organ is almost a twin of the Jenkins in Knox Presbyterian Church, Christchurch, and like it, was enlarged to three manuals in the rebuild. In it's final years in Dunedin the fine Canadian Redwood case and diapered front pipes were covered over with plywood and silver paint, and the action poorly converted from tracker to electropneumatic. For its new home the original appearance of the organ has been recreated, the pipe decoration being done by master decorator Marc Nobel of Melbourne. Pipework for the new third manual came from a contemporary redundant Melbourne organ by George Fincham. The new organ has been enthusiastically received, and has already been used for a number of public events including recitals by Thomas Heywood and Dame Gillian Weir.

In August we completed restoration of the A. A. Hobday organ in St. Patrick's Catholic Church, Waimate; this fine 1919 two-manual pneumatic action instrument being the last from the Hobday stable. The three prepared for stops: Swell Cornopean 8', Great Harmonic Flute 4', and Fifteenth 2', added at this time have transformed the versatility of the organ.

By the time you read this, the rebuilding of the 1931 Lawton and Osborne organ in the Hall of Memories at Waitaki Boys High School will be complete. The organ has been in storage since the beginning of the year awaiting the completion of earthquake strengthening work on the Hall. This twin-cased two-manual organ designed by Dr. Bradshaw of Christchurch Cathedral fame was originally built with pneumatic action, and converted to electropneumatic in the 1960's. We have renewed this in the rebuild, complete with the latest Mulder Electronics serial-drive switching and piston capture system with multi-level memory, general pistons, piston sequencer, metronome and transposer.

The aforementioned electrical system is a further development of similar equipment installed last year at St. Barnabas Anglican, Fendalton and at Christchurch Cathedral. In future a joint-venture company will produce it for the international market. The first system bearing the new brand name Muldersoft Organ Systems Ltd. will be for our current major rebuilding project at St. Patrick's Basilica, Fremantle.

Smaller jobs of interest since the last Congress review, include overhaul of the historic Jenkins two-manual organ at Kaiapoi Cooperating Church, (including reinstatement of the original but much travelled Great Hohl Flute 8' pipes); overhaul of the three-manual H.N.& B. organ in the AWB Wedding Centre (formerly Trinity Congregational Church Christchurch); cleaning of the Cathedral of the Blessed Sacrament organs, after the unfortunate fire at Christmas time, and revoicing the Pedal stops at St. Andrew's at Rangiruru, Presbyterian Church.

Work in the factory at the present time is focussed on two Australian organs. The smaller of the two is a 1982 Fincham, two-manual tracker-action residence organ from Melbourne that is being rebuilt to suit a new location. It is currently erected in the factory, and may be played by visitors before it is shipped back in June.

Our current major project, due for completion at the end of this year, is the rebuilding of the two interconnected organs in St. Patrick's Basilica, Fremantle. The four-manual west-gallery and two-manual transept organs were completed in 1991-2 to an imaginative design, unfortunately flawed by the failure of the builder's Company. This large organ installation (107 speaking stops) has the potential to be one of the most exciting organs in Australia.

Later this year we will commence restoration of the 1920 Jenkins one-manual organ in St. Joseph's Catholic Church, Temuka. Smaller projects coming up include overhaul of the Hele organ in Baring Square Methodist Church, Ashburton, and the Cousins organ in St. Thomas Anglican Church, Sanson.

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