OHTA 2018 Conference

Each year the Organ Historical Trust of Australia organises a conference lasting about a week in one of the states of Australia. Conferences have also been held on both islands of New Zealand. These conferences bring organists and those interested in the instrument together from all over Australia, as well as New Zealand, the UK, the USA, Asia and Europe. Often, an international authority on the history and restoration of historic organs attends as a key-note speaker. Past guests have included Uwe Pape (Germany), Barbara Owen (USA) and Stephen Bicknell (UK). Opportunities are provided for recitals on historic and instruments. Members often have time to play and inspect the instruments for themselves and papers on the preservation of organs and other relevant topics are presented and later published in OHTA News.

Upcoming conferences

  • 2022 TBA


Past conferences


In place of a full-scale conference this year, OHTA will be hosting an online symposium on Saturday 9 October 2021, via Zoom technology.  The topic will be The Modern Australian Mechanical Action Organ and it will include brief contributions from many Australian states and will last for around two hours.  Apart from presentations, there will be opportunities to ask questions.  In order to participate, it will be necessary to register with the OHTA secretary online – details are given below.

The symposium will start at the following time:  Saturday 9 October 2021 at 1.00 pm EDT (Sydney & Melbourne) / 12.00 pm midday EST (Brisbane) / 12.30 pm CDT (Adelaide) / 11.00 am WST (Perth).

The Symposium will include a national overview, outlining the landscape which saw the introduction of mechanical action instruments across Australia. Several organbuilders will be examined, ranging from Ronald Sharp, one of the Australian pioneers, through to Lynn Kirkham whose output, objectively, is of international significance, not least of all because of his exceptional engineering innovations.

We will hear how the social and economic environment of South Australia saw the delayed growth of opportunity there.  With the arrival of progressive influencers, however, the perceived austerity times with J.E. Dodd & Sons, Gunstar Organ Works were followed by some more notable prosperity with George Stephens Organbuilder. Later achievements shine a light on what could have been in different circumstances.

The role of the organ consultant will be explored through the contribution of prominent Australian organist Robert Boughen, in relation to the large number of new mechanical action instruments for Brisbane during the 1970s and 1980s. These include organs of varying sizes for liturgical, concert and teaching purposes.

Rounding out our discussion will be the role of organ festivals in promoting such instruments in New South Wales, Western Australia and Victoria.

To participate in the symposium,  contact the OHTA Secretary, Dominic Perissinotto, at who will email you a web link address with instructions on how easily to access the event.