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St. Paul’s Trinity Pacific Pipe Organ. Aug 2009

St. Paul’s Trinity Pacific Pipe Organ


The pipe organ was built by the London firm of W. Hill & Son in 1905. The firm was started by William Hill (1789-1870) and after his death continued by his son Thomas Hill (1822-1893). When Thomas died his son Dr. Arthur George Hill (1857-1923) succeeded in the management of the firm.  They were leaders in the field of nineteenth century English organbuilding, with over 1400 pipe organs built by the firm for English and overseas clients until their amalgamation with the firm of Norman & Beards during the First World War. The quality of blend in the pipework tone and the superb workmanship and materials used made W. Hill & Son the premier firm of the Victorian era.

The Organ of St. Paul’s Trinity Pacific was the most intact example of a large Hill pipe organ in New Zealand, having no alterations except the addition of an electric blower (the original pump handle is retained and was still operational). The action from the keys to the soundboards is tubular pneumatic, that is when a key is pushed down, the signal to the pallet (valve) under the pipe is sent as a pneumatic charge through small lead tubes.

The organ is made up of four main divisions that are each controlled by a separate keyboard and pedalboard. The top keyboard controls the Swell division (eight stops of 563 pipes). The middle keyboard controlling the Great division (seven stops of 510 pipes), the lower keyboard controlling the Choir division (four stops of 222 pipes) and the Pedal division (three stops of 72 pipes). 1367 pipes in all.

The specifications of the organ are



Double Diapason          16’

Open Diapason            8’

Hohl Flute                   8’

Principal                      8’

Fifteenth                    2’

Mixture                       III Ranks

Trumpet                     8’



Open Diapason             8’

Stopped Diapason         8’

Echo Gamba                 8’

Voix Celseste                8’

Principal                       4’

Mixture                        III ranks

Horn                           8’

Oboe                          8’



Lieblich Gedackt           8’

Dulciana                      8’

Suabe Flute                 4’

Clarinet                       8’



Open Diapason            16’

Bourdon                     16’

Octave                       8’


(The measurements after each stop name refers to the nominal length of the lowest pipe of that stop producing the note, so that the biggest pipe in the organ is the lowest note on the Pedal Open Diapason which is 16 feet long. And conversely, the smallest pipe is the top note of the mixture rank which has a speaking length of ¬ľ inch long.)

The pipes are made out of a variety of materials, some are of what is known as spotted metal (what the front pipes were made of), which is a alloy of lead and tin. Others are made out of plain metal (lead and tin again, but in different ratios), some made out of zinc, and yet more made out of timber.


The pipes on the front of the case (that were all melted) were all operational pipes, being the lowest pipes of the Great Open Diapason and the Double Diapason. The wooden pipes on the sides of the organ case are likewise all operational pipes.


The organ was restored in 1990-91, in that all the perishable materials were replaced and the pipework and action mechanisms were cleaned, repaired, and adjusted for optimum performance when the organ was re-erected. The restoration took about 6000 man hours in 1991, and the estimated man hours for the repairs of the heat and water damage are almost as many.




South Island Organ Company

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