The G.F. Steinmeyer organ at St Michael & All Angels' Anglican Church,
New Farm, which formed the basis of the organ at Hughenden
[Photograph from Anglican Diocese of Brisbane,
Records & Archives Centre, NEWFS, Box 13]
Historical and Technical Documentation by Geoffrey Cox1
© OHTA 1987, 2012 (last updated July 2012)
Hughenden is situated between Mt Isa and Townsville, in the heart of sheep and cattle country, and west of Charters Towers in North Queensland.
The organ that existed at the Sacred Heart War Memorial Church between 1968 and 1981 had been installed in 1967-68 by Whitehouse Bros of Brisbane.2 It incorporated the console, soundboard & action of the original G.F. Steinmeyer organ at St Michael & All Angels' Anglican Church, New Farm, Brisbane, from which the pipework had been removed and incorporated into a new instrument at New Farm in 1964. The remaining parts of the Steinmeyer organ were re-deployed for Hughenden, with new pipework to a specification closely resembling the original, but without pedal pipes.3
The specification as recorded at Hughenden was recorded as follows:
[= Manual to Pedal]
The five drawstops were located in a single row above the keyboard, with the 'Coupla' in the middle. There was never a pedal stop on the console, and the original pedal pipes appear to have been permanently 'on'. The Geigen Principal 8ft had originally extended only to Tenor C (42 pipes), but was completed into the bottom octave for Hughenden.5 The bottom octave formed a show-front in Hughenden, tubed off the main soundboard.6
The instrument was purchased around 1980 by Mr Ken Barelli with the intention of having it installed in his residence in Melbourne. It was removed from Hughenden in 1981, but came to serious grief en route to Melbourne: The crates in which it was packed for the journey literally 'fell off the back of a truck' and the organ was deemed unfit for repair by the time it reached its destination.7 Parts of it were subsequently incorporated into an organ built by Geo. Fincham & Sons for Ken Barelli's residence in Mitcham, Vic.8
1 An earlier version of the historical documentation presented here appeared in 1987 as: Geoffrey Cox, 'The Ignoble Tale of an Organ that (literally) "Fell off the Back of a Truck",' with Addendum by Ken Barelli, OHTA News, vol. 11, no. 2 (April 1987), pp. 16-19.
2 Dates supplied by Rev. B. Buckley to G. Cox, 1974.
3 Details supplied by Kevin Whitehouse & Joe H. Whitehouse, 1973-74.
4 Specification noted by David Molloy, 1971.
5 Details supplied by Kevin Whitehouse & Joe H. Whitehouse, 1973-74.
6 Personal communication to G. Cox from Ken Barelli, c.1987.
7 Ken Barelli, 'Addendum' to G. Cox, 'The ignoble tale of an organ,' OHTA News, vol. 11, no. 2 (April 1987), pp. 16-19; rpt. in Organ Society of Queensland Newsletter, vol. 15, no. 4 (Feb. 1988), pp. 34-37.
8 Ken Barelli, 'An Organ at Home,' Victorian Organ Journal (August 1982), pp. 5-6 & front cover.