St James' Anglican Church

Russell Street, Toowoomba

Cole & Duckworth, Manchester
Installed between 1881 and 1888 Canon Thomas Jones (rector)
Installed 1902 in organ chamber
2 manuals, 12 speaking stops, mechanical action
Rebuilt & enlarged 1950 Whitehouse Bros, Brisbane
2 manuals, 15 speaking stops, tubular-pneumatic action
Addition 1954 Whitehouse Bros, Brisbane
Electrified with addition 1974 Whitehouse Bros, Brisbane
Revisions 1992 W.J. Simon Pierce, Brisbane
Addition 2015 Ian D. Brown & Associates, Ballina
2 manuals, 19 speaking stops, electro-pneumatic action





St James' Anglican Church, Toowoomba
[Photograph by Howard Baker (1990s)]


 



Historical and Technical Documentation by Geoffrey Cox
© OHTA 2011, 2015 (last updated May 2015)


St James' Anglican Church was opened in 1869, built in early English gothic revival style to the design of the Brisbane architect, Richard George Suter. The building has been extended and parts of it replaced over the years, but the original section of the building still features polychrome brickwork with sandstone detailing. The original small apsidal chancel was replaced and the nave extended by two bays in 1882-83, when the building was enlarged to the design of James Marks, a local architect. Following structural problems, the chancel, northern transept and adjoining vestry were rebuilt in 1904.1





St James' Anglican Church, Toowoomba, c.1872
showing R.G. Suter's original apsidal chancel
[Photograph: John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland]




Extended chancel and vestry added in 1882-83 and partially rebuilt in 1904
[Photograph by Trevor Bunning (November 2011)]

The organ installed in this church in the 1880s was the first in Toowoomba, and the only one installed in the city during the nineteenth century. It was purchased by Canon Thomas Jones, Rector of St James' Church from 1881 until 1888, who erected it himself at his own expense, the cost being repaid to him after he left the parish.2 The instrument is reported to have been built by Cole & Duckworth of Manchester, England.3 The original specification has been reconstructed as follows:


1.
2.
3.
4.
5.


6.
7.
8.
9.
10.
11.


12.





GREAT
Open Diapason
Stopped Diapason
Dulciana
Principal
Fifteenth

SWELL
Double Diapason
Open Diapason
Salicional
Principal
Mixture
Oboe [Ten. C]

PEDAL
Bourdon

COUPLERS
Swell to Great
Swell to Pedal
Great to Pedal

8
8
8
4
2


16
8
8
4
III
8


16



























Compass: 56/30
Mechanical action.4


Exactly where the organ was placed originally in the church is not known, but according to parish records it was moved into its present chamber in 1902.5 Walter Emerson, who was a choirboy at St James' in the 1920s, recalled that it was originally hand-blown. A new electric blower was installed in 1930.6




The Cole & Duckworth organ
located in a new organ chamber after 1902
[Photograph by Howard Baker (1990s)]


The character of the original organ was radically changed radically in 1950, when the instrument was rebuilt and enlarged by Whitehouse Bros of Brisbane at a cost of £1648. The mechanical action was replaced by tubular-pneumatic action and a new detached console was provided. Although most of the original pipework was retained, several stops were moved to different parts of the organ, and the original Swell Mixture was discarded. At the same time, the pitch of the instrument was lowered c 522 (with a new bass pipe to each rank), and the swell box was moved to its present position, speaking through a grille from the chamber into the south transept. The rebuilt organ was dedicated by Archbishop Halse on 8 October 1950.7 Plaques on the organ case record that most of the stops added to the organ were donated by members of the congregation as memorials or gifts.


 



Interior of St James' Anglican Church,
showing the position of the Swell Organ after 1950,
speaking through a grille into the south transept
[Photograph by Howard Baker (1990s)]


Less radical were the changes of 1974, when the action of the organ was converted from tubular-pneumatic to electro-pneumatic by Whitehouse Bros, and the Great Mixture III was added. The instrument was re-opened on Sunday 24 March 1974.




[Photograph by Howard Baker (1990s)]




The detached Whitehouse console of 1950
[Photograph by Trevor Bunning (November 2011)]








Stop keys on the console of 1950
[Photographs by Trevor Bunning (November 2011)]

Refurbishment of the instrument was undertaken in 1992 by W.J. Simon Pierce of Brisbane, who removed the stoppers of the 1950 Pedal Bourdon 16ft and Bass Flute 8ft, so that they speak now at 8ft and 4ft pitch respectively.8 In 2015, Ian Brown of Ballina added a Trumpet 8ft on the Great, duplexed as "Great Trumpet 8ft" on the Swell. At the same time, the pipes of the original Stopped Diapason 8ft on the Great, from Tenor G upwards, were replaced with new wooden Claribel pipes. The old pipes have been stored inside the organ.9

Of the original instrument, only the casework and most of the pipework remain, albeit re-configured into a different design. Tonally and mechanically, the instrument now represents the work of Whitehouse Bros from 1950 and 1974, with later additions and alterations as noted above.

GREAT
Open Diapason No 1
Open Diapason No 2
Claribel
Dulciana [gvd bass]
Viol de Gamba [Ten.C.]
Principal
Mixture (15.19.22)
Trumpet

SWELL
Violin Diapason
Gedact
Salicional [gvd bass]
Principal
Fifteenth
Oboe
Cornopean
Great Trumpet

PEDAL
Bourdon No 1
Bourdon No 2
Bass Flute

COUPLERS
Swell Super
Swell to Pedals
Swell to Great
Great to Pedals
Swell to Great Super
Swell to Great Sub

8
8
8
8
8
4
III
8


8
8
8
4
2
8
8
8


16
8
4
















A









A



B
B









[old No 1]
[old No 7]
[Ten.G upwards 2015; formerly Stopped Diapason, old No 2]
[old No 3]
[1950]
[old No 4]
[1974]
[2015]


[1950]
[49 pipes old No 6; remainder 1950]
[old No 8]
[old No 9]
[old No 5]
[old No 11; bottom octave 1950]
[1954]
[2015]


[old No 12]
[12 pipes old No 6; remainder 1950] [at 16ft pitch before 1992]
[1950] [at 8ft pitch before 1992]


[1950]



[1950]
[1950]

Swell tremulant [1950]
Detached stop-key console
Compass: 61/30
3 thumb pistons to Great & Pedal
3 thumb pistons to Swell
Electro-pneumatic action.10


 



General interior view of St James' Anglican Church
[Photograph by Trevor Bunning (November 2011)]




East window, St James' Anglican Church
[Photograph by Trevor Bunning (November 2011)]


_____________________________________________________________________

1 Queensland Heritage Council, Queensland Heritage Register, location 601298; Donald Watson & Judith McKay, Queensland Architects of the 19th Century: A Biographical Dictionary (Brisbane: Queensland Museum, 1994), pp. 122, 186.

2 The Centenary of St James' Church of England, Toowoomba (1869-1969) [privately printed, c.1969].

3 Personal communication to G. Cox from Walter Emerson (organist 1934-1953), c.1974.

4 Specification supplied c.1974 to G. Cox by Walter Emerson, who claimed that it also included a Swell Vox Celeste 8ft, but amended by Leslie W. Rub, March 1987 (who had lessons on the organ before 1949).

5 Personal communication to G. Cox from The Revd C. Thomas (Rector), 1974.

6 Whitehouse Bros Ledger (1922-1940), p. 489; and plaque on the organ.

7 Whitehouse Bros Ledger (1940-1954), p. 316; and personal communication to G. Cox from Kevin Whitehouse, 1974; The Courier-Mail (7 October 1950), p. 6.

8 Personal communication to G. Cox from Simon Pierce, March 2003.

9 Ian D. Brown & Associates Newsletter (June 2015), pp. 1-2, 4.

10 Specification noted by G. Cox, 1974; details of 1950 rebuild and subsequent additions supplied to G. Cox by Kevin Whitehouse, c.1974; Further details supplied by Phillip Gearing, May 2003, and from sources listed above.