St Francis Xavier's Catholic Cathedral

Wakefield Street, Adelaide

First organ, built 1869 J.W. Wolff. 1 manual, 6 speaking stops
Replaced by reed organ pre-1886
Second organ, built 1926 J.E. Dodd; rebuilt and enlarged 1954 J.W. Walker & Sons, Ruislip, Mx;
removed to storage 1994 Leith Jacobs
3 manuals, 56 speaking stops, 13 couplers, electro-pneumatic action.
Present organ, Built 1927 Casavant Frères for St Jean de la Croix, Montreal, Canada
Restored Wakeley Pipe Organs Pty Ltd; opened November 2016
3 manuals, 48 speaking stops, 29 couplers, electro-pneumatic action

 



St Francis Xavier's Cathedral, Adelaide: exterior
[photograph from https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Cathedral_103_046.jpg accessed 7 December 2016]



Historical and Technical Documentation by John Maidment
© OHTA, 2016 (last updated December 2016)

 

Distinguished British architect Charles Hansom produced the initial plans for the building as far back as 1845, in a simple Early-English Gothic idiom deriving from the medieval church at West Walton, Norfolk. In 1850, local architect Richard Lambeth won a competition for the design of a new Cathedral, based upon Hansom's initial designs. By 1860, the east end and four bays of the nave had been erected. In the 1880s, Pugin & Pugin, of Westminster, were engaged to plan the completion of the building, this including the widening of the 'north' aisle under seven transverse gables. These plans also included a new design for the 'western' façade with a rose window placed beneath a giant arch and a tower to the right. In 1886-87 the 'south' aisle was widened to match that on the 'north'. In 1922, local architect Walter Hervey Bagot produced revised plans for the main façade and these were implemented 1923-26, including the façade, narthex and tower base. The stump of the tower was raised to its full height in 1996, designed by Lynton Jury, but without the intended spire.1

The first organ, built by J.W. Wolff, was opened in 1869:

The opening of the new organ in St Francis Xavier's Cathedral took place on Sunday Morning May 9 at 11 o'clock. The service commenced with solemn High Mass … Mr Lascelles presided during the whole of the Mass at the organ … Miss Morriss presided at the organ during the evening service. The organ is a magnificent instrument and entirely of colonial manufacture, being built by Mr J W Wolff, of Wakefield St. It contains the following 6 stops on the Manual:- Open diapason, stop diapason, principal. flute, dulciana, fifteenth, and coupler, with an independent [pedal] organ of two stops.2

On completion of the building of the nave, a new organ by J.E. Dodd was built in 1926 to the specification of Dr Harold Davies and Harold Wylde.3 It cost £1,986-10-0.4 It was placed in a chamber at an upper level in the base of the tower and spoke into the right-hand aisle (behind a 16ft front) and across the gallery. The console was located centrally in the gallery.

GREAT
Double Diapason
Phonon Diapason
Open Diapason
Claribel
Dulcissima
Principal
Harmonic Flute
Fifteenth
Tromba
Great Sub
Great Super
Swell to Great
Choir to Great

16
8
8
8
8
4
4
2
8





A







B #




   
SWELL
Bourdon
Open Diapason
Hohl Flute
Viol d'Gamba
Celeste
Principal
Flauto Traverso
Mixture
Cornopean
Oboe
Tremulant
Sub Octave
Super Octave

16
8
8
8
8
4
4
III
8
8




C












   
CHOIR
Melodic Diapason
Lieblich Gedact
Viol d'Orchestre
Dulciana
Gemshorn
Piccolo
Clarinet
Vox Humana
Tremulant
Sub Octave
Super Octave
Swell to Choir

8
8
8
8
4
2
8
8




(enclosed – prepared-for)












   
PEDAL
Major Bass
Diapason
Sub Bass
Echo Bass
Octave
Bass Flute
Trombone
Great to Pedal
Swell to Pedal
Choir to Pedal

16
16
16
16
8
8
16




D
A
E
C
D
E
B #



   

Detached console
Tubular-pneumatic action5

# This rank was probably prepared for



St Francis Xavier's Cathedral, Adelaide: organ and console viewed across gallery after Walker rebuild
[photograph supplied by Dr Geoffrey Cox – source unknown]

The organ was rebuilt with electro-pneumatic action, new drawstop console and tonal additions by J.W. Walker & Sons Ltd, Ruislip, Mx in 1954, the firm's job number 2910, costing £5,270. Installation was carried out by the Dodd firm, with the voicing was carried out on site by Walter Goodey from the Walker firm. In April 1957, a replacement secondhand small Open Diapason stop was provided from Tenor F# upwards for £58.00. When the tower was extended to its full height in the 1990s, this organ was removed into storage by Leith Jacob where it still remains.

GREAT
Double Open Diapason
Open Diapason No.1
Open Diapason No.2
Open Diapason No.3
Viola
Wald Flute
Octave
Principal
Harmonic Flute
Fifteenth
Full Mixture 17.19.22
Sharp Mixture 26.29
Trumpet
Octave Trumpet
Swell to Great Sub
Swell to Great
Swell to Great Super
Choir to Great

16
8
8
8
8
8
4
4
4
2
III
II
8
4





A
old Phonon Diapason
A
old Open Diapason no 2
new
new

A


new
new
B new
B new




   
SWELL
Lieblich Bourdon
Open Diapason
Hohl Flute
Viola da Gamba
Voix Celeste
Principal
Flauto Traverso
Fifteenth
Mixture 15.19.22
Double Trumpet
Cornopean
Oboe
Clarion
Tremulant
Swell Sub Octave
Swell Unison Off
Swell Super Octave

16
8
8
8
8
4
4
2
III
16
8
8
4





C



TC


new
remodelled
D 1-12 new
D

D 1-12 new




   
CHOIR
Contra Flute
Violin Diapason
Violoncello
Rohr Flute
Dulciana
Prestant
Lieblich Flute
Dulcet
Nazard
Flautino
Contra Clarinet
Clarinet
Tremulant
Trumpet
Tuba
Octave Tuba
Swell to Choir Sub
Swell to Choir
Swell to Choir Super

16
8
8
8
8
4
4
4
2-2/3
2
16
8

8
8
4



(enclosed except Trumpet and Tuba)
E TC new
F new
new
E new
G ex Great
F new
H new
G
H new
H new
I TC new
I new

B new
J new
J new



   
PEDAL
Open Wood
Open Diapason
Bourdon
Echo Bourdon
Quint
Principal
Octave
Bass Flute
Octave Quint
Fifteenth
Octave Flute
Mixture 19.22.26.29
Ophicleide
Double Trumpet
Clarion 8 B new
Great to Pedal
Swell to Pedal
Choir to Pedal

16
16
16
16
10-2/3
8
8
8
5-1/3
4
4
IV
16
16
8




K
A
L
C
M new
N new
K
L
M new
N new
L
new
J new
D 1-12 new
B new



   

Great & Pedal combinations coupled

Compass: 61/32
Electro-pneumatic and electro-magnetic action
Mechanical swell pedals
Detached drawstop console6



St Francis Xavier's Cathedral, Adelaide: Casavant organ viewed from the sanctuary
[photograph by John Maidment (16 November 2016)]

The current organ was built in 1927 by Casavant Frères, Ste-Hyacinthe, Quebec, opus 1225, for St Jean-de-le-Croix, Montreal, Canada. The work of rebuilding and restoration has been carried out by Melbourne organbuilders Wakeley Pipe Organs Pty Ltd working with architects Grieve Gillett Andersen. The organ is divided on either side of the rear gallery of the Cathedral behind newly constructed blackwood casework, its design deriving from architectural motifs in the building and providing an effective frame for the rose window and its Kempe glass.

It was opened at a recital given by Dr Joshua van Kolkelenberg on Tuesday 15 November 2016. His programme included works by Bach, Mendelssohn, Franck, Duruflé, Alain and Widor.

This is the first major example of an interwar church organ from the American continent to come to Australia. While instruments by Aeolian and Wurlitzer also came to Australia at the time, these were either far smaller or built on the extension principle, for cinemas and residences.



St Francis Xavier's Cathedral, Adelaide: lower Grand Orgue windchest and pipework, Casavant organ
[photograph by John Maidment (16 November 2016)]

The Casavant organ is notable for its extraordinary generosity of construction, with lavish use of thick timbers, huge swell boxes and windchests. The overall sound certainly has a French flavour, but with a greater sense of refinement and employing sonorities that would not have been heard in that country. There is a wealth of flute stops, of both wood and metal, and some of harmonic construction. The manual windchests are of 73-note compass, so clearly designed for the use of octave and sub-octave couplers. The heavy-pressure enclosed Solo division can be coupled to any of the three manuals, the Stentorphone (actually a large-scale Diapason, with leathered lips in the bass) and the Tuba Mirabilis, to give a welcome unison boost to the overall sound. The swell boxes are enormously effective and can cut the overall sound back to a mere whisper.



St Francis Xavier's Cathedral, Adelaide: console of Casavant organ
[photograph by John Maidment (16 November 2016)]

The low-profile drawstop console (with rocker tablets for the couplers) includes a Pedal Divide, a facility to alter the order of the manuals (inverting the Grand Orgue and Positif manuals), and very neat light-up swell indicators. The action throughout has been updated, with solid-state controls and a comprehensive combination action.

The three new Laukhuff blowers are located in a specially designed and insulated sound-proof room, hauling wind from the interior of the instrument, while a humidification plant by Watkins & Watson is also placed there – the room is air conditioned.

GRAND ORGUE (II)
Montre
Montre
Flûte Ouverte
Flûte à Cheminée
Gemshorn
Prestant
Flûte Harmonique
Doublette
Mixture
Trompette
Clairon
Grand Orgue 16
Grand Orgue Unison Off
Grand Orgue 4
Récit to Grand Orgue 16
Récit to Grand Orgue 8
Récit to Grand Orgue 4
Positif to Grand Orgue 16
Positif to Grand Orgue 8
Positif to Grand Orgue 4
Solo to Grand Orgue 8

16
8
8
8
8
4
4
2
1-1/3 IV
8
4










73 note chest
A




















   
RÉCIT (III)
Bourdon
Principal
Bourdon
Viole de Gambe
Voix Céleste
Prestant
Flûte Traverse
Piccolo
Cornet
Bombarde
Trompette
Hautbois
Voix Humaine
Clairon
Trémolo
Récit 16
Récit Unison Off
Récit 4
Solo to Récit 8

16
8
8
8
8
4
4
2
2 IV
16
8
8
8
4





73 note chest - enclosed
B



to CC














   
POSITIF (I)
Bourdon
Diapason
Melodie
Dulciana
Flûte Douce
Violina
Nazard
Piccolo
Clarinette
Trémolo
Positif 16
Positif Unison Off
Positif 4
Récit to Positif 16
Récit to Positif 8
Récit to Positif 4
Solo to Positif 8

16
8
8
8
4
4
2-2/3
2
8








73 note chest – enclosed

















   
SOLO
Stentorphone
Grosse Flûte
Viole d'Orchestre
Tuba Mirabilis

8
8
8
8
floating – 73 note chest – pipes in Positif enclosure




   
PÉDALE
Basse Résultante
Flûte Ouverte
Open Diapason
Bourdon
Violon
Bourdon Doux
Flûte
Bourdon
Bombarde
Trompette
Pédale Unison Off
Pédale Divide
Grand Orgue to Pédale 8
Récit to Pédale 8
Récit to Pédale 4
Positif to Pédale 8
Positif to Pédale 4
Solo to Pédale 8

32
16
16
16
16
16
8
8
16
8









12 independent Quint pipes
C
A
D

B
C
D
E
E








   

Compass: 61/32
Electro-pneumatic action
Detached drawstop console with stopkeys for the couplers
Electro-pneumatic swell pedals to Récit and Positif/Solo operating whiffle-tree swell engines

Mixture Compositions

Grand Orgue Mixture:
C1-B24 15.17.19.22
C25-F42 12.15.17.19
F#43-B48 8.12.12.17
C49-C61 1.5.8.12
C#62-C73 1.5.8.5

Récit Cornet:
C1-C49 8.12.15.17
C#50-C61 8.12.8.10
C#62-C73 8.5.8.10

Wind Pressures

Grand Orgue 5½"
Récit (LP) 7"
Récit (HP) 10" (chorus reeds)
Positif 6"
Solo 12"
Pedale 6" & 7"7

 


1 Information very kindly supplied by Brian Andrews, deriving from his paper 'A pleasing old-time appearance': Peter Paul Pugin and St Francis Xavier's Cathedral, Adelaide' published by the Pugin Society in 2005.

2 SA Advertiser, Monday May 10 1869, p 2.6

3 Southern Cross,16 April 1926

4 J.E Dodd Ledger 1925, p.28

5 M.J.A. Whiting, Collection of Specifications, cited in Bruce Allan Naylor, Gazetteer of Organs in South Australia, September 1969, pp 24-25

6 The 1954 specification and details supplied by R.J. Pennells, J.W. Walker & Sons Ltd, Brandon, Suffolk, to John Maidment from the firm's records, c.2005

7 Details of the Casavant organ kindly supplied by Ian Wakeley and from the author's notes

 



St Francis Xavier's Cathedral, Adelaide: Solo pipework, Tuba Mirabilis at bottom, Casavant organ
[photograph by John Maidment (16 November 2016)]




St Francis Xavier's Cathedral, Adelaide: Positif pipework, Casavant organ
[photograph by John Maidment (16 November 2016)]




St Francis Xavier's Cathedral, Adelaide: Pédale Flûte Ouverte pipework, Casavant organ
[photograph by John Maidment (16 November 2016)]




St Francis Xavier's Cathedral, Adelaide: Récit chorus reeds, Casavant organ
[photograph by John Maidment (16 November 2016)]




St Francis Xavier's Cathedral, Adelaide: casework detail, Casavant organ
[photograph by John Maidment (16 November 2016)]