St Peter's Lutheran Church
St Peter’s Church was built in 1874 as a Congregational Church to the design of the Revd J.G. Wilson. The building became disused and was taken over by St Peter’s congregation, which was formed in September 1958. This attractive painted brick building incorporates fittings from two redundant Lutheran churches in the area, including a carved altar and pulpit from Murtoa, possibly that designed and made by Robert Prenzel, and a 17th century lectern obtained in England
The organ now in St Peter’s Church was built in 1858 by Hill & Son, London. The extract from the firm’s order book reads:
Jan 10 1858 Mr Davis, Melbourne, Australia. New chamber organ.
CC-F Gt Op dp (7wd bass) Dulc ten.C. StDp. Prin. 12. 15. Flute 4 tenC.
Sw (tenor C carried out with stopped bass) OpDp. StDp. Prin. Oboe.
Ped C-E Bourd. 2cplrs. 3 comb.pedals. Mahogany case, gilt front pipes. "1/3 tin".
Complete & packed £340. "10 p.c."
A full account of the instrument may be found in the Melbourne newspaper The Argus of 17 March 1860, p.2.
MONDAY, APRIL 2.
First-class Chamber Organ.
BEAUCHAMP BROTHERS have received instructions from Mr. Peter Davis, who is proceeding to Europe, to SELL by Auction, at his residence, at Great Dandenong-road, Gardiner, five miles from town, on Monday, April 2, at 11 o’clock.
The undermentioned chamber organ.
This instrument was built by the celebrated builders Hill and Son, of London, to the express order of Mr. P. Davis, with instructions to manufacture the finest instrument they were capable of turning out, without regard to cost, limiting them to external dimensions only. The organ has been in the colony 15 months, and having passed through two summers without the slightest detriment, has become thoroughly seasoned to the climate.
The particulars of the instrument are as follows:-
Great Organ CC to F in alto.
1. Open diapason metal to G, seven lowest notes in wood, open
2. Dulciana, tenor C to F
3. Stop diapason
5. Flute, tenor C to F
Swell Organ, with Venetian swell, tenor C to F, - 12 notes carried down to CC on the stop bass. 1. Open diapason
2. Stop diapason
Pedal Organ, C C C to F, 30 notes, Bourdon, 16ft. tone
Total number of pipes 552
Couplers ------ Swell to great organ
Great to pedals
Three spring combination pedals.
N.B. The pipes of the Flute and the upper half of Stop diapason are of mahogany throughout.
The case, which is about 7ft. 6in. wide, by 4ft. 6in. deep, and 11ft. high, is a chaste design, French polished mahogany, with 26 richly-gilt speaking pipes in front.
The action of both manuals and pedals is of mahogany, and finished in the most complete manner; the composition pedal action is of oak and beech.
Although built for a chamber instrument, the pipes are a full church scale, and at present voiced sufficiently loud for any of the ordinary congregations, and may without trouble be voiced considerably louder.
The tone of the instrument is excellent, combining great power with sweetness, and the metal pipes composed of best metal; and in design, material and finish, it does credit to the celebrated builders; and is without doubt, the finest instrument of its kind in the colonies.
Terms, Liberal, Declared at sale.
The instrument was then installed at St Andrew’s Anglican Church, Brighton until 1923, when it was moved to Holy Trinity Church, Stratford, in eastern Victoria, probably by W.L. Roberts. It was moved to its present location in 1968-69 by John Kriewaldt and remains largely intact.
The organ is of international significance as an exceptionally rare example of a Hill chamber organ of the period, clothed in an elegant case, of classical inspiration, embellished with an elaborate cornice incorporating egg and dart moulding. The swell is contained within a diminutive box of ‘dovecote’ formation, typical of Hill’s practice.
The only instrument in Britain that is comparable is at St Nicholas’, Ingrave (1856) and this is two stops smaller. The Stawell organ has casework of superlative quality, in Spanish mahogany, and this material has been also used for the trebles of the wooden flute ranks.
The original Hill drawstops, labels and nameplate are missing and had been removed while the instrument was at Stratford. The keyboards also have been moved forward. All of the original pipework appears to survive. The instrument is in need of an extensive and sympathetic restoration and if completed would constitute the finest example of a Hill chamber organ of the period anywhere.
Information from OHTA 1994 conference booklet and John Maidment 2009, 2014.
Photos JRM (April 2009)