The organ in St Jude’s Anglican Church, Carlton, Melbourne was very seriously damaged in a fire lit by arsonists on the evening of Friday 17 October 2014. This organ is of enormous significance as the earliest example of an organ built in Melbourne by George Fincham to remain substantially intact. It was exhibited at the 1866 Melbourne Intercolonial Exhibition and was in St John’s Church, Toorak for a short while before its installation at Carlton in 1872. It is a very large single-manual instrument with a chorus complete to Mixture and Trumpet.
While the fire took place in the sanctuary end of the church, and the organ is located in the rear gallery, the heat was such that the façade pipes, and many of the internal pipes, all of spotted metal, have melted. Some of the case timbers and wooden pipes have also been affected by the fire and water. It appears that the organ could be reconstructed to a high standard; this work could find the detailed documentation of the organ carried out in 1978 by John Stiller for OHTA invaluable for details of pipe scales.
We understand that it will be dismantled and the parts removed to an organbuilder’s workshop for more detailed examination.