St George's Anglican Church

cnr Cattley & Mount Streets, Burnie

First organ, B. 1954 Whitehouse Bros., Red Hill, Qld.
2m., 8 sp.st., 7c., tub.pn. Gt: 8.8.8. Sw: 8.8.4.8. Ped: 16.
Present organ, B. 1960 Davis & Laurie (incorporating pipework from first organ).
3m., 39 sp.st. (10 rks.ext.), 7c., el.pn.
Gt: 16.8.8.4.4.2-2/3.2.III.8.8. Sw: 8.8.8.4.4.2.16.8.8.4.
Ch: 8.8.8.4.4.2-2/3.2.1-3/5.III. Ped: 32.16.16.16.8.8.5-1/3.4.16.8.




Historical and Technical Documentation by John Maidment
© OHTA (last updated May 2011)




St Matthew's Anglican Church, Burnie : exterior
[photograph by Trevor Bunning (30 April 2011)]


The history of the Anglican Church in the area dates back to 1851. The foundation stone of a new brick church was laid in 1884 and the building licensed in December 1885. The building was extended and consecrated in February 1890. The building was remodelled in February 1961.1 It is constructed in the Gothic style and the exterior is of stucco-covered brick.

The first pipe organ at St George's Church was built by Whitehouse Bros., Brisbane in 1954, who won the contract over George Fincham & Sons Pty Ltd, whose earlier contract from 1951 was cancelled.2

Geoffrey Cox has written:3

The organ in St George's Anglican Church, Burnie was built by Whitehouse Bros of Brisbane in 1954 at a cost of £3,395.4 This was the only instrument built by the firm in Tasmania. It was flown from Brisbane on 24 February that year:

To-day ANA will fly to Burnie, Tasmania, a £3500 church organ. It is in 36 pieces, and weighs 15 tons.5

Whitehouse Bros continued to build organs with pneumatic action and cone-pallet chests until as late as 1957, and the specification reflected the standard style of the firm for organs of this size dating from the early 1910s onwards:

GREAT
Open Diapason
Stopped Diapason
Salicional
Great Octave
Swell to Great
Swell to Great Super

SWELL
Lieblich Gedact
Salicional
Dulcet
Oboe
Tremulant
Swell Sub
Swell Super

PEDAL
Bourdon
Great to Pedal
Swell to Pedal

8
8
8





8
8
4
8





16





A






A










Tubular-pneumatic action6


Comparison with other standard Whitehouse instruments of the time suggests that the manual compass would have been 61 notes, and the pedal compass 30 notes. There would have been a balanced swell pedal, and the stop tabs would have been of the "inclined-block type", placed in a row above the upper manual. The inclusion of a Stopped Diapason (in place of the standard Flute 4) on the Great was unusual, and is mentioned specifically in the firm's Ledger entry, along with reference to "additional couplers". The duplexing of the Swell Salicional on the Great Organ was a normal feature on these organs from the early 1930s onwards.7



St George's Anglican Church, Burnie : organ
[photograph by Trevor Bunning (30 April 2011)]




St George's Anglican Church, Burnie : console – Dr Steven Nisbet playing
[photograph by Trevor Bunning (30 April 2011)]




St George's Anglican Church, Burnie : console
[photograph by Ritter Jeppesen Studios, from Steve Laurie (June 1964)]


The present organ was built in 1960 by Davis & Laurie Pty Ltd, of Moorabbin, Victoria and consists of 10 extended ranks plus a repeating Mixture. It incorporates two ranks of pipework from the Whitehouse instrument. Designed along the lines of a Compton extension organ (Steve Laurie worked with this English firm in the 1930s), it was one of the most extensive in this genre to have been constructed in Australia and is of considerable significance as the firm's largest organ of its earliest years and that it remains essentially intact.

Steve Laurie wrote in 1997:

"This organ became a vehicle for many of the principles learned from Compton's, such as electro-pneumatic unit chests, all-electric relays, a comprehensive adjustable combination pistons system with second-touch on stop-keys and pistons, and a comprehensive range of pitches including four 16' Pedal stops. It is the writer's hope that this instrument may be seen as a worthy tribute to the John Compton Organ Company with whom I spent those happy years."8

The organ was cleaned and refurbished by S.J. Laurie Pty Ltd, of Mordialloc, Victoria, in 1997 when a new diode logic relay system and solid state capture system were installed.9


GREAT
Contra Salicional
Open Diapason
Lieblich Gedeckt
Principal
Lieblich Flute
Twelfth
Fifteenth
Mixture 22.26.29
Trumpet
Compound Clarinet 8.12.17
Swell to Great
Choir to Great

SWELL
Harmonic Flute
Viola da Gamba
Voix Celeste
Flauto Traverso
Viola
Piccolo
Double Trumpet
Trumpet
Oboe
Clarion
Tremulant

CHOIR
Lieblich Gedeckt
Salicional
Vox Angelica
Lieblich Flute
Salicet
Nazard
Flautino
Tierce
Acuta 19.22
Tremulant
Swell to Choir
Great to Choir

PEDAL
Compound Bass
Open Diapason
Sub Bass
Contra Salicional
Octave
Bass Flute
Octave Quint
Melodic Flute
Trombone
Trumpet
Great to Pedal
Swell to Pedal
Choir to Pedal

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




8
8
8
4
4
2
16
8
8
4



8
8
8
4
4
2-2/3
2
1-3/5
II





32
16
16
16
8
8
5-1/3
4
16
8




A
B
D
C
D
C
C
repeating
H
D




E
F
G TC
E D
F
E
H
H
I
H



D
A
J TC
D
A
C
C
J
A





C 16 + 10-2/3
B
C
A
B
C
C
C
H
H



Compass: 61/32
Electro-pneumatic action
Detached stopkey console
Adjustable thumb & toe pistons
Balanced electric swell pedals10




St George's Anglican Church, Burnie : console detail
[photograph by Trevor Bunning (30 April 2011)]




St George's Anglican Church, Burnie : Pedal stopkeys
[photograph by Trevor Bunning (30 April 2011)]




St George's Anglican Church, Burnie : Swell stopkeys
[photograph by Trevor Bunning (30 April 2011)]




St George's Anglican Church, Burnie : Great stopkeys
[photograph by Trevor Bunning (30 April 2011)]




St George's Anglican Church, Burnie : Choir stopkeys
[photograph by Trevor Bunning (30 April 2011)]




St George's Anglican Church, Burnie : Great & Choir pipework
[photograph by Trevor Bunning (30 April 2011)]




St George's Anglican Church, Burnie : Swell pipework
[photograph by Trevor Bunning (30 April 2011)]




St George's Anglican Church, Burnie : open wooden bass to Salicional 16ft
[photograph by John Maidment (30 April 2011)]




St George's Anglican Church, Burnie : knuckled bass to Swell Trumpet 16ft
[photograph by John Maidment (30 April 2011)]





1 Dorothea I. Henslowe, Our Heritage of Anglican Churches in Tasmania (Moonah, Tas.: Mercury-Walch, c.1979), p.17

2 George Fincham & Sons Pty Ltd letter books (State Library of Victoria) 17 September 1951, p.105

3 Geoffrey Cox, unpublished mss on history of organs in Queensland

4 Whitehouse Bros. ledger (1940-1954), p. 234

5 The Courier Mail (Brisbane, 24 February 1954), p. 1

6 Specification from The Advocate (Burnie, 6 March 1954), pp. 1-2

7 Comments by Geoffrey Cox. December 2010

8 Steve Laurie, "A Compton Church Organ in Tasmania?", Victorian Organ Journal (August 1997), pp.16-18

9 Ibid, and Bob Jefferson, Steve Laurie, Organ Builder : His Life and Works (Somers, Vic. : the author, 1998), pp.168-170

10 Ibid