Christ Church Anglican Church
Builder unknown; rebuilt J.J. Broad 1880; rebuilt Fincham & Hobday 1887
2 manuals, 13 speaking stops, 4 couplers, mechanical action
Christopher Dearnley plays:
Handel - Bourée in B flat
From Historic Organs of the Barossa Valley Volume 1 (1995) CD booklet and the 1991 OHTA Conference handbook:
Kapunda became a thriving town due to the discovery of copper in 1842. The population was more than 2,000 by 1851 and many interesting heritage buildings survive today. Christ Church was built in 1856 and reflects the opulance of the mines. The first organ was purchased from the estate of Wilhelm Mai (also spelt May) of Tanunda in 1873. The price was given as £120 although it was valued at £200 and the organ was said to have been built by Mai. It is unclear whether this organ was discarded or incorporated into the new organ of 1880 built by J J Broad who had worked briefly with other South Australian organbuilders. Five instruments can be credited to him, including that at Kapunda which failed in a very short time and was subsequently improved enlarged by Fincham & Hobday in 1886 for £270. A feature of this organ is the fine diapering of the pipes which may be the work of Broad's brother who was a noted artist in the colony. In March 1959 the organ was completely renovated.
From the 2009 OHTA Conference Book, David Shield writes:
F.S. Dutton and his neighbour C.S. Bagot found copper ore at Kapunda in 1842. Mining operations commenced in 1844. Both Methodist and Catholic churches were soon established with the Church of England following in 1857. During the incumbency of the Revd J.M. Donaldson at Christ Church an organ was procured and subsequently rebuilt on two occasions to form the current instrument.
“How amiable are Thy tabernacles O Lord of hosts!”1 So began the first sermon in the new Kapunda Church of England by the incumbent. the Revd F.P. Strickland, on Sunday 11 October 1857.2 The interior was fully furnished with pulpit, reading desk, altar and rails of cedar. There was also a stone font and the leadlight window over the altar, constructed by Mr James Stokes who, it is said, bought a large portion of the stained glass from England; glass from the same lot as used in windows in Westminster Abbey and Canterbury Cathedral. No mention was made of any musical instrument.3
Moves had been made as early as November 1855 to consider the erection of a church. Fund raising began in earnest the following year and sufficient monies had been raised by April 1857, including the purchase of eight acres of land, to begin construction of a building capable of accommodating 180 persons. Dr M.H.S. Blood had laid the foundation stone of the “imposing but sombre” building designed by Edmund Wright, the previous April, in the absence of his wife who was ill.4 Robert Anderson & Co. was appointed as masons with John George & Co. responsible for carpentry. Peter McLaren undertook the plastering.5
The organ at Christ Church derives from the term of the fourth incumbent of Christ Church. The Revd J.M. Donaldson was appointed in 1872, and left in ignominious circumstances in 1888.6 The first organ was purchased for the church from the estate of H.J.W. (Carl) Mai of Tanunda in 1873.7 A second generation immigrant, Mai had been a cabinet maker and it is assumed the instrument was constructed for personal use. With a single manual and 10 stops it was opened with a choral service on Easter Sunday, 13 April. George Oughton, late of St Paul’s Adelaide, was organist. Donaldson referred to it with pleasure in his vestry meeting report for “the great advantage it will afford in the musical part of the Church Service.” It would “be a fresh stimulus to the Choir, and a means of attracting additional members…”.8As described in the local media the specification was as follows:9
Manual 10 stops
1 Open Diapason
3 Stop Diapason treble
4 Stop Diapason bass
5 Principal treble
6 Principal bass
7 Hohl Flute and wood flute
8 Fifteenth treble
9 Fifteenth bass
Open wood TC
Stopped wood TC to CC
CCC to B 22 pipes
Compass: CC to c, 49 notes “Wind suppliers were provided for the feet, also separate blowers.”There were 267 pipes and the case of polished cedar measured 8 feet by 4 feet (244mm x 122m.)
For whatever reason, the instrument was deemed unsatisfactory. At the vestry meeting of 26 April 1880, Mr J.J. Broad was instructed to proceed with the work of installing a new organ. In 1877, the roof of the church had been lifted to conform to the height and proportion of the transepts added ten years previously.10 Perhaps the organ was damaged or simply regarded as inadequate.
The opening of the new organ at Christ Church, Kapunda was announced for 11 July 1880 with the Revd C.C. Elcum MA to conduct the Sunday services. Mrs Price was to officiate at the organ with voluntaries from J.J. Broad. The preacher admonished the gathering with the charge that “There was no worship without sacrifice, so we must give to God the first rate. Thus they could not be content with inharmonious music, nor let the sanctuary be bare and ugly”.11The specification was as follows:-
Manual to Pedal
metal (includes front speaking pipes)
(compass not given)
Casework gothic in style, elaborately gilded
From this description, the pipework from the old appears to have been used in the new, the addition being the new full scale pedal Bourdon and the Posaunne on the pedal. The compass of the manuals was increased from 49 notes to 56 notes, but the pedal compass is not given.
In November 1882 a young Charles Alfred Davies arrived in Kapunda to become the organist at Christ Church.12 Davies, son of a very musical family, had emigrated for reasons of health. Within two years it would seem that he had convinced Donaldson of the need to improve the organ.13 By July 1885, decisions had been taken to remove the organ to the South transept and have improvements made. The need was apparently urgent. A threat of losing Davies perhaps? Donaldson wanted the organ complete by February 1886, something Fincham& Hobday could not agree to, so in August the tender of £290 to remove and improve the organ by 30 April 1886 was accepted, though even this date was not met.14 This was too late for Davies. In 1885, he accepted an invitation to move as organist to the new Fincham & Hobday organ completed for the Gawler Congregational Church in September.15 Before leaving however he opened the rebuilt organ and his loss was tempered by the arrival of his brother Edward Harold Davies in to take his place in January 1887.16
The additional stops ordered for Kapunda from Melbourne were an Open Diapason Ten C to G small great scale; Dulciana ten C to G; Fifteenth; Open Diapason Swell scale Ten C to G; and Gemshorn 4ft CC to G.17 The instrument is of note for its elaborate casework, with two round towers and three flats, the outer ones (possibly by Fincham & Hobday) curving inwards and the central one surmounted by a Gothic canopy. The façade pipes are spectacularly diapered and comparable with the J.J. Broad instruments at Moonta. The case timbers and console all appear to have been painted subsequent to the original construction.
H.J.W. (Carl) Mai 1873; rebuilt J.J. Broad 1880; rebuilt Fincham & Hobday 1886
2 manuals, 14 speaking stops, mechanical action
one spare slide
Swell to Great
Swell to Great Sub
Swell to Pedal
Great to Pedal
3 composition pedals
Trigger swell pedal
Attached drawknob console
Location: south transept
Water engine disconnected in situ
In March 1959, the organ was completely renovated. A new electric blower was installed. In recent years, elements of the organ have been restored as funds have allowed.
1 1 Holy Bible, King James Version, Psalm 84 verse 1. The evening text came from the 48th verse of Acts, Chapter 7 “Howbeit the most high dwelleth not in temples made with hands; saith the prophet” Incidentally Strickland lived in the house that became the home of William John Moyle Oats, bootmaker and uncle to W.N. Oats who later became principal of King’s College and then The Friends School, Hobart. See section on Pembroke School.
2 Observer, 24 October 1857, quoted in Smith, Revd L.P.G., A Short History of Christ Church Kapunda 1856-1976 (no pagination)
4 Register 30 November 1855. Blood was an instigator of the move for a church and became Treasurer of the committee. He was to be Mayor of Kapunda in 1865-66-67. During the incumbency of the Revd Thomas Sabine, 1858-1866, Dr Blood severed his membership with the church and joined the Congregationalists in protest at high church practices, though he did not resign from being a Trustee of Christ Church; Observer, 6 December 1856; Australian Dictionary of Biography online, article ‘Edmund Wright’
5 Register, 30 November 1855; Smith, Rev L.P.G., op cit
6 In August 1888, a charge of Bigamy was brought against Donaldson. Without giving detail, he was tried before an ecclesiastical court in Adelaide in the absence of the Bishop who was overseas. His offence was that he had married Catherine Brock in All Saints’ Church, St Kilda on 17 November 1866 and while she was still alive he married Jean Morton on 2 January 1888 in England. Consequently on the grounds of behaviour unbecoming of a minister the “respondent’s licence was cancelled”:. Kapunda Herald, 11 September 1888
7 Northern Guardian, 8 March 1873, p.2.7; Kapunda Herald, 11 March 1873, p. 2.6
8 Ibid., 22 April 1873, p. 3.3; repeated in Guardian,26 April 1873, p. 3.3
9 Kapunda Herald, 11 March 1873, p.2.6
10 Smith, op.cit.
11 Kapunda Herald, 7 July 1880, p. 2.6; Ibid., 13 July 1880, p. 2.6/7
12 Register, 2 March 1889, p. 2.1, 4.5 5.1
13 In error, Bridges, More than Musician (2006), p.7, attributes E.H. Davies with urging the addition of a second manual and hydraulic engine to the organ in 1888 and reviving the Philharmonic choir in Kapunda. However, it was Charles Davies who became the conductor of the Philharmonic (Kapunda Herald 25 April 1884) and it was the Gawler Congregational Church that upgraded its organ in 1888. Hobday to A. Davies, Fincham & Hobday letters, 12/164 2, May 1888
14 It seems that three options were suggested, the 3rd being accepted. This involved the “addition of open diapason swell and 3 composition pedals, double action to the great at £40 extra” Hobday to Donaldson, Fincham & Hobday letters, 12/119 15, September 1885. For early completion, see Hobday to Donaldson, ibid., 12/117 7, September 1885; ibid., 12/119 15 September 1885 short history. At the Easter vestry meeting it was announced that the new organ would probably be erected in July, Kapunda Herald, 4 May 1886, p. 2.6
15 Obituary, Register, 2 March1889, p. 5.1
16 Report on opening, Kapunda Herald, 31 December 1886, p.3.2/3; ibid,. 1 February 1887, p. 2.7. In March 1887, Hobday sent one of three photographs of Kapunda to Melbourne, Fincham & Hobday letters - Hobday to Fincham, 12/147 14, March 1887; Tenure of E.H. Davies: he only stayed at Kapunda till December 1888 before moving to St Peter’s Church, Glenelg as organist and choirmaster: Bridges, D., op cit., pp.5, 8
17 Fincham & Hobday letters, 12/132: order list
Photos: Trevor Bunning (Oct 2009)