St Luke's Uniting (formerly Methodist) Church

Jackson Street, Hamilton, Qld

Unknown builder, originally a 'finger & barrel' organ
Installed 1904 B.B. Whitehouse & Co., Brisbane, at the Congregational Church, Baroona Road, Milton
1 manual, 6 speaking stops, mechanical action
Barrel attachment removed 1930 Whitehouse Bros, Brisbane
Rebuilt, enlarged & installed in present location 1971 Whitehouse Bros, Brisbane
Addition 1976 Whitehouse Bros, Brisbane
Additions (by extension) 1990 Alan Jenner (organist)
2 manuals, 16 speaking stops (8 ranks), electric action




St Luke's Uniting Church, Hamilton
[Photograph by Howard Baker (1990s)]

 


Historical and Technical Documentation by Geoffrey Cox
© OHTA 2011 (last updated November 2011)


The Hamilton Methodist Church was opened in 1911.1 Originally a lofty timber building, a brick porch and façade have more recently been added.


 



Hamilton Methodist Church
shortly before it was opened in 1911
[The Brisbane Courier (4 March 1911), p. 12]


The builder and original location of the instrument from which the organ in this church derives are unknown. Before being rebuilt in its present form in 1970-71 at Hamilton, it was located at the Congregational Church, Baroona Road, Milton, and was possibly one of the oldest organs in Queensland. It included a barrel attachment along with a single manual and pedals, and would therefore have been described in the nineteenth century as a 'finger and barrel' organ. Many such instruments were installed or advertised for sale in Sydney in the early and middle parts of the ninteenth century,2 and a barrel organ playing eight tunes was advertised for sale by auction in Brisbane in 1858:3

To Close a Consignment.
R. DAVIDSON
WILL Sell by Public Auction, at his rooms,
George-street, on THURSDAY NEXT
1st JULY, to close a consignment …
A Barrel Organ playing eight tunes

 

By 1869, at least one advertisement for what appears to be a 'finger and barrel' organ had appeared in Brisbane:4

 

TOMORROW
_________
A FIRST-CLASS HAND ORGAN
__________
Plays 30 Tunes,

JOHN CAMERON has received instructions
to sell, on the Premises, South Brisbane,
known as the Residence of Mills Thomson, Esq.,
on WEDNESDAY, April 7, at 11 o'clock,

A THREE-BARRELED ORGAN, with
Tambourine, Bells, and Trumpet Ac-
companiments. Cost £25.
Terms – cash.

 

The original location of the Milton/Hamilton organ is not known. It was installed secondhand in 1904 by B.B. Whitehouse & Co. in the Milton church, at a cost of £139.0.5. The church records of the time describe the circumstances as follows: 'In April last an opportunity presented itself of procuring a suitable pipe organ on very favourable terms.'5

 



The Congregational Church, Baroona Road, Milton
designed by H.G.O. Thomas, and erected in 1887
[Photograph: John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland]




Interior of the Congregational Church, Milton, in May 1964
[Photograph supplied by Pam Moffat via David Vann (2009)]


The casework bears a close resemblance to that of an organ now located in the residence of Dr Thomas Campbell, Murwillumbah, NSW, but a connection between the two seems unlikely.

The specification of the organ was recorded at Milton as follows:


MANUAL
Open Diapason
Stopt Diapason Treble
Stopt Diapason Bass
Principal
Flute
Fifteenth

PEDAL
Bourdon

COUPLER
Pedal Coupler

8
8
8
4
4
2


16



 

Mechanical action
Attached drawstop console
Compass: not recorded
Barrel attachment (removed in 1930).6

This specification is remarkably close to that of an organ advertised for sale in 1873 at the School of Arts, Brisbane, although it is not possible to establish any connection between the two. Furthermore, the instrument at the School of Arts had a Dulciana 8ft rather than an Open Diapason 8ft as here, and there is no indication that it included a barrel.7

The organ remained at the Congregational Church in Milton until the church was demolished around 1970.8 Keith Stone, organist of the Hamilton Methodist Church, then acquired it for installation in its present location in 1970-71. The casework, playing action and windchests were discarded, and the organ was completely rebuilt by Whitehouse Bros of Brisbane as a two-manual instrument with electric action. The Swell Oboe 8ft was added at this time (deriving from the 1937 Whitehouse organ at the Methodist Church, Cairns), along with additional pedal stops by extension. The Great Dulciana 8ft was added by Whitehouse Bros in 1976.

Suspended in a chamber, without façade pipes and with the swell box exposed, the visual appearance of the instrument seems to follow the precedent already established by Whitehouse Bros at St John's Lutheran Church, Bundaberg (1960). In the latter case, however, the church architect was probably involved, and the organ is located at the rear of the building. Here, the organ occupies a focal position, confronting the congregation with the instrument's internal components.

 



The organ as rebuilt by Whitehouse Bros in 1971
[Photograph by Howard Baker (1990s)]

In 1990, Alan Jenner, the church organist, further extended the specification, using transistor switching to provide another five stops, as shown below, borrowed from the existing ranks. He also wired the bass of the Swell Stopped Diapason 8ft to the Great Dulciana 8ft, and carried out some re-voicing on the Pedal Bourdon 16ft.9


 



Detached console supplied by Whitehouse Bros, Brisbane, in 1971,
modified by Alan Jenner in 1990
[Photograph by Howard Baker (1990s)]


 

GREAT
Open Diapason
Dulciana
Principal
Fifteenth
Oboe

SWELL
Stopped Diapason
Flute
Nazard
Piccolo
Oboe

PEDAL
Bourdon
Flute
Principal
Fifteenth
Oboe
Oboe

COUPLERS
Great to Pedal
Swell to Pedal
Swell to Great
Swell to Great Super
Swell Super
Great Octave

8
8
4
2
8


8
4
2-2/3
2
8


16
8
4
2
8
4











A
B
C


D
E
D
E
C


F
F
A
B
C
C









[stpd bass]
[Ten. C]




























[1976]


[1990]




[1990]
[1990]
[1937/1971]



[1971]
[1971]
[1970]
[1990]
[1990]







[1990]

Tremulant (general)
Detached draw-stop console
Direct electric action
Balanced swell pedal
Compass: 61/30
Full Organ reversible piston
Great to Pedal thumb piston.10

 

___________________________________________________________________________

1 The Brisbane Courier (5 December 1910), p. 8; The Brisbane Courier (4 March 1911), p. 12.

2 Graeme D. Rushworth, Historic Organs of New South Wales (Sydney: Hale & Iremonger, 1988), pp. 19, 25-27, 29, 31-33, 38, 45-47; Graeme D. Rushworth, A Supplement to Historic Organs of New South Wales (Organ Historical Trust of Australia, 2006), pp. 29-30, 51-52.

3 The Moreton Bay Courier (20 June 1858), p. 3.

4 The Brisbane Courier (6 April 1869), p. 4.

5 Details from Yearbook of the Congregational Church (1903-04), consulted at John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland, by David Vann.

6 Original specification supplied to David Vann by Doug Moffatt (organist of Milton Congregational Church), 1976.

7 The Brisbane Courier (1 February 1873), p. 1.

8 Personal communication to G. Cox from David Vann, December 2009.

9 Personal communication to G. Cox from Alan Jenner, January 2004.

10 Details of rebuild supplied by Kevin Whitehouse, c.1973, and David Vann, 1976; Specification noted by G. Cox, 1973; Additional details supplied by Alan Jenner, 2004.