St Ita's Catholic Church, Dutton Park
[Photograph by David Vann (June 2012)]
Historical and Technical Documentation by Geoffrey Cox
© OHTA 2012 (last updated June 2012)
The present St Ita's church was blessed and opened by the Most Rev. P.M. O'Donnell, Archbishop of Brisbane, on 15 October 1972. It replaced the previous church which is now the parish hall. The organ was built in 1960 by Whitehouse Bros of Brisbane for the old church, and dedicated in memory of Annie Anning (died 20 June 1959). It was installed in the new church in 1972.1
[Photographs by David Vann (June 2012)]
The tonal design of this diminutive organ is remarkably conservative, showing little advance on that of the firm's pneumatic-action instruments from the 1910s onwards. The specification and the arrangement of the façade pipes are the same as on the organ at the Presbyterian Church, Hervey Bay, which was built around the same time.
The pipework is located in a recessed chamber, high on the wall to the left of the altar. Swell shutters (of insubstantial construction) cover the opening of the chamber, in front of which there is a simple façade comprising the lowest pipes of the Open Diapason rank. All three ranks are full-compass. The detached roll-top console is placed immediately below the chamber. The stop-keys are of the Wurlitzer type, as used in other electro-pneumatic organs by Whitehouse Bros from at least the early 1930s.
Detached stop-key console
Compass: 61 notes
Balanced swell pedal
Access to the pipework for tuning was difficult, requiring the organ builder to climb through a trap-door from the outside of the building. This gave rise to concerns under Workplace Health and Safety regulations, and the console was removed around 2008. The capabilities of the organ were also found to be limited, and it has been replaced by an electronic instrument.3
1 Dates supplied to G. Cox by Kevin Whitehouse, c.1973, and from plaques on the building and on the organ console.
2 Specification noted by G. Cox, 1973 and 2003.
3 Personal communications to G. Cox from David Vann, June 2012.