St Augustine of Canterbury Anglican Church
cnr Unley Road & Edmund Avenue, Unley
First organ, see: Payneham. St Aidan's Anglican Church.
Present organ, B 1877 Bishop & Son, London, for St Peter's Anglican Cathedral Adelaide;
reb & inst 1931 Hill Norman & Beard. 3m, 29spst, 9c, el.pn.
Gt: 18.104.22.168.4.4.2-2/3.2.III.8. Sw: 22.214.171.124.2.III.8.8.4. Ch: 126.96.36.199.4.2.8. Ped: 16.16.8.
From the 2009 OHTA Conference Book, David Shield writes:
St Augustine’s Anglican Church has had two pipe organs. The first pipe organ has an intriguing history. Coming from St John’s, Halifax Street, it was placed in the old church in the northern apse of what is now the opportunity shop of St Augustine’s. The organ was transferred to the new church in 1924. The second organ came from St Peter’s Cathedral. After 50 years the Bishop & Son organ of 1877 was replaced, removed, reconstructed, and relocated to St Augustine’s. It was dedicated in March 1931. The first instrument made its way to St Aidan’s Anglican Church at Marden.
St Augustine’s was one of only two churches built in the Adelaide suburbs during the Episcopal reign of the first Church of England Bishop of Adelaide, Augustus Short.1 Thomas English called for tenders for its erection in December 1868. At the laying of the foundation stone it was reported to be Early-English in style having a porch on the south side with a gable end to Unley Road. Its bell turret rose to 54ft (16.5 m) while dimensions of the nave were given as 44ft x 20ft (13.4 m x 6.1 m). Glen Osmond stone was used for the fabric, which David Deans of Mitcham had built for about £800. A further front was added in 1873.2
The church had aspirations for a pipe organ but initially used a harmonium. In 1897, it was reported that “the most pressing present need is for a choir vestry, and the next will be for an organ”.3 Two years later the Improvements Committee had discussed the matters of enlarging the church, of building a pipe organ, and of building a rectory. They had collected £60 towards the organ:
The only difficulty has been to know where to put it. An organ worthy of our church should cost £300, and I have no fear about raising the money if we could spare the space for it. If there was room the best place would be, I believe, in the South transept. But we have no room to spare, and therefore if it is to be put into the existing church I believe that the suggestions of our choirmaster to put it in an apse directly behind the altar is the best.4
Sometime during 1901 the organ from St John’s arrived. There had been various functions during 1901 to raise funds for the organ and by the Easter Vestry Meeting of 1902 it was reported the debt on the new organ had been paid.5
The congregation continued to grow and a new church required. The current church was dedicated on 28 August 1924 and, presumably, the organ relocated. The organist for the occasion was Arthur Bushell who concluded the service by playing the Hallelujah Chorus.6 The wish for an organ “worthy of their church” was to be realised six years later when improvements at the Cathedral saw the Bishop organ of 1877 replaced and become redundant.
The organ was dedicated on 27 March 1931 by the Rt Revd Dr Arthur Nutter Thomas, Bishop of Adelaide; a shortened evensong following the service. The organist, C.J. Hewitt, played Pastorale by W.T. Best, and the Fantasia and Fugue in G Minor of Bach. The organ had been reconstructed and modernised. The former tracker action was replaced with electro-pneumatic control and balanced swell pedals were provided to the swell and choir divisions. The console became electrically operated throughout.7 The work had been done by Hill Norman & Beard at a cost of £1500 Sterling.
Bishop & Son 1877, job no 1198
Hill Norman & Beard Ltd 1931, job nos 2819 and 2828
3 manuals, 29 speaking stops, electro-pneumatic action
Sub Open Diapason
bass in façade
Swell to Great
Choir to Great
Swell Sub Octave
Swell Unison Off
CHOIR ORGAN (enclosed)
Viol di Gamba
Swell to Choir
Great to Pedal
Swell to Pedal
Choir to Pedal
Attached drawknob console
5 adjustable thumb pistons to Great (duplicated by toe pistons)
5 adjustable thumb pistons to Swell
3 adjustable thumb pistons to Choir
3 adjustable toe pistons to Pedal
Reversible thumb piston for Swell to Great
Reversible thumb piston for Great to Pedal
Reversible to piston for Great to Pedal
Balanced swell and choir pedals
Total number of pipes: 1,920
Wind pressure: 3”
1 Hilliard D Godliness and God Order 1986 p.53. The other church was St Bede’s Semaphore, 1879.
2 Jensen E. & R., Colonial Architecture in South Australia (1980), pp.393, 500
3 The first harmonium had been purchased by Mr Gooch at the cost of £19 10s: church brochure, St Augustine’s Unley Adelaide (circa 1897), pp.6, 9
4 St Augustine’s Parish Magazine, no.2 (October 1899) p.2
5 Advertiser, 2 May 1902, p.6
6 Register, 28 August 1924, p.13.3; ibid, 29 August 1924, p.13.2; Advertiser, 29 August 1924, pp.14, 17.1/2
7 Advertiser, 27 March 1931, p.14.7; see also pamphlet St Augustine’s Diamond Jubilee Souvenir 1870-1930. A full two-page description and photograph of the new organ was given, but no history of the previous instrument.
Photos: Trevor Bunning (March 2009)