St John's Anglican Church
Paisley Street, Footscray
B 1887 William Anderson; res 1969 Hill, Norman & Beard (o/n V764).
2 manuals, 15 speaking stops, 3 couplers, tracker
Gt: 8.8 divided.4.4.2-2/3.2.1-3/5. Sw: 22.214.171.124.2.8. Ped: 16.16.
The present church, in the Gothic style and built in red and white brick with stone dressings, was opened in November 1891. The building was designed by a local architect Mr C.J. Polain and the builders were Messrs Jason Fraser and Son. The cost was estimated at £3500 and it would accommodate around 450 persons, as mentioned in the Independent (Footscray) of 30 May 1891, p.3. The crenellated brick tower was later completed to the design of Louis R. Williams.
The organ was built by William Anderson for the earlier church building and opened on 12 July 1887. The cost was £400 and it was stated to be a new instrument at the time.
A contemporary description, in the Independent (Footscray) of 16 July 1887, p.2 described the instrument:
"… proved to be as excellent in tone as handsome in appearance. It is 19 feet high, 8 feet 6 inches wide, and 12 feet 4 inches deep. The case is stained and varnished, the front portions being stencilled, and the pipes are richly decorated in blue and gold. There are 17 stops and 632 pipes [sic]. The Guardians and Incumbent must be congratulated on having obtained such a fine instrument…."
In 1897 George Fincham found that some of the leather work had perished, and carried out restoration work (Fincham letters 10/469).
The instrument has a number of key features of Anderson's work, particularly the tonal design, sloping stop jambs, quatrefoil carvings in the impost and transom rails, and the turned wooden colonettes mounted on the case uprights.
Later changes have included the remaking of the console roll top cover, the spraying of the façade pipes in gold paint and the substitution of a Tierce 1-3/5 for the original Great Dulciana – this work was carried out in 1969 by Hill, Norman & Beard (Australia) Pty Ltd, who also carried out an overall renovation (order V764).
28 December 2011
Stop’d Diapason Bass
Swell to Great
Open Pedal Pipes
Great to Pedals
Swell to Pedals
(now Tierce 1-3/5) TC
Mechanical key & stop action
3 composition pedals to Great
2 composition pedals to Swell
Lever swell pedal
Photos: Simon Colvin (July 2007)