Holy Trinity Lutheran Church
Para Road, Nuriootpa
B 1877 Gebrüder Walter Guhrau Pr, Schliesen (opus 118);
inst c.1888 St Petri Lutheran Church, Nuriootpa;
inst 1966 present loc; res 1988 Roger Jones.
2 manuals, 7 speaking stops, 3 couplers, tracker
Hw: 18.104.22.168. Ow: 8.4. Ped: 16.
Photo: PdL (Oct 2009)
Roger Jones advises (August 2007):
"I restored this organ in 1989. The silver frost was removed from the pipes and the original decoration redone to pipes and fretwork. Compass: CC to top note chromatic (no rollerboard). A similar organ by the same builder is located at St Paul's retreat Glen Osmond, with one manual and pedals." This latter instrument has been unplayable for many years. [David Shield, April 2009]
From Historic Organs of the Barossa Valley, Volume 2:
Before 1958, members of this congregation attended St Paul's, Tanunda. Members of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Australia Synod, their numbers grew enabling a new church and hall to be built in Nuriootpa and be dedicated on 17 July, 1960.
The pipe organ was built at Guhrau, Silesia, by the Walter Brothers, and was procured for the St Petri congregation in 1887 where it served for many years before being transferred to Holy Trinity in 1967. It is notable for its beautifully voiced ranks of tin flutes and its exquisite case.
located rear of north side.
From the 2009 OHTA Conference Book, David Shield writes:
The congregation at Holy Trinity has had a relatively short history, being formed in 1958. From foundation to 1974, individuals and families were members of the St Paul’s congregation in Tanunda. The organ, on the other hand, has had a much longer one. Originally imported from Germany by Jacob Witkowski in 1887, it saw service at St Petri Lutheran Church here in Nuriootpa for almost the next 80 years, before being displaced by a larger instrument in a new building. It was purchased by Holy Trinity in 1966.
Six Nuriootpa families, all members of the St Paul’s congregation in Tanunda, formed the nucleus of what is now Holy Trinity. This group held occasional services in the old Methodist church from April 1925 to 1926, being ministered to by C.H. Wiebush from Tanunda, Concordia seminary students, or E. Fischer from Kapunda. The Methodists had owned a block of land in Nuriootpa from 1854 but it was not until 1901 a small wood and iron building was erected in Second Street Nuriootpa. The current Coulthard Memorial Uniting Church was opened in November 1936.
In 1926-27, services were suspended while the people of St Paul’s planned and built their new church in Tanunda. Like those in Nuriootpa they had been meeting in homes from early in the century, had grown in numbers to rent then purchase a small church, and expanded further to require a larger building. Occasional services resumed in 1927 and became more regular from October 1942 when services moved to the Nuriootpa Institute. These were supplanted in September 1947 with weekly services, now held in the new Methodist Church financed by William Coulthard.
As elsewhere, the numbers grew and on 2 November 1958 the Holy Trinity Evangelical Lutheran Congregation was formed. Two years previously E. Nuske had purchased Coulthard’s cattle yards and donated it as a site for a future church. This was realised with the current building being dedicated on 17 July 1960. Trinity and St Paul’s operated as a parish. In December 1974, there was a realignment of the parish and ties with St Paul’s in Tanunda were severed.1
The organ is one of only two such organs extant in South Australia, both imported by Jacob Witkowski. Witkowski and his wife arrived in South Australia in March 1847, nominating himself as a farmer for naturalization purposes three years later. Rather than move to Hoffnungstahl as many of his fellow travellers did, he chose to remain in Adelaide living first in North Terrace and, by 1864, in King William Street, Kent Town. In early years he was called an ironmonger, general dealer, broker and auctioneer, but from 1870 he became predominantly an importer and music seller. Harmoniums by Traser and Alexandre, cabinet organs from Mason & Hamlin, and pianos from Blaedel and Gerhardt were available. He became sole agent for Beatty’s Golden-Tongued American Organs. Adelaide assessment records also show he was the landlord for a number of properties in North Terrace and Pulteney Streets. He died on 1 May 1885 and is buried in the Walkerville Cemetery.2 Though not thought to be many, it is unclear how many instruments Witkowski imported. The media reported two instruments in February of 1877, pipes of both being exclusively of metal. In May a further report describes an instrument more closely identifiable with that now at Holy Trinity.3 It is known that the Wesleyan Methodist Church at Alberton purchased an instrument from Witkowski in 1878.4 This instrument, opus 115, is now to be found at St Paul’s Retreat, Urrbrae. A further instrument was advertised for sale in April 1879.5
Exactly which instrument came to St Petri in 1887 requires further research. Suffice it to say that the organ became redundant with the growth of the congregation and need to construct a new building, designed by Sir Eric von Schramek, in 1966-67. It was subsequently sold to Holy Trinity at a final cost of $1518 and dedicated on 20 March 1966.
Stiller noted in 1979 that a super octave coupler for the Hauptwerk had been added in 1966 and also that tuning slides had been added to the pipework. At some time the general swell and a device for exhausting the wind at the discretion of the performer had also been removed. Of note is the rare Portunal stop and the medallions referring to exhibition prizes won by the builders.6
In January 1988, a complete overhaul of the action, wind chests, casework and pipework, including exposure of the original decoration, was undertaken by Roger Jones at a cost of $6000. The organ was rededicated 15 May 1988.7
Gebrüder Walter, Guhrau Pr. Schlesien (Silesia) opus 118
2 manuals, 7 speaking stops, mechanical action
Octave Coppel *
* added in 1967
Mahogany casework of Corinthian design
Attached drawknob console; knobs with porcelain labels
1 Information extracted from church pamphlets for Holy Trinity Lutheran Church Nuriootpa c.1994, and St Paul’s Lutheran Church Tanunda –A Brief History 1904-200
2 Research Notes D. Shield
3 Register, 27 February 1877, p.6.6; Advertiser, 4 May 1877, p.5.3
4 Alberton Wesleyan Methodist Church Trustee Minutes - State Library South Australia, SRG 4 28/1, quarterly payments to Witkowski from 30 April 1878; Register, 5 March 1878, p.5.2. An opus list for the Walter firm appears at:
http://dirk.steindorf-sabath.eu/Guhrau_182_Orgelbauanstalt%20Walter.pdf These were the only instruments built by the firm for locations outside Europe.
5 The Christian Colonist, 4 April 1879, p.6.3
6 Stiller, J., Documentation Holy Trinity Lutheran Church Nuriootpa Organ 21 October and 21 December 1979, p.1
7 OHTA News, vol 12, no 1 (January 1988), p.9; ibid., vol 12 no 3 (July 1988), pp.16, 25; pamphlet Holy Trinity, op.cit.
Photo: Roger Jones (2000)
Photo: Trevor Bunning
(Newton Williams playing)
Photos: Rodney Ford (Oct 2009)
Photos: PdL (Oct 2009)