St John's Anglican Church
Cooks Hill

J.W. Walker 1866, 2m., 11 sp. st., mechanical action

© PdL 2005

Historical and Technical Documentation by Kelvin Hastie
© OHTA 2005 (last updated October 2005)


This cruciform building was opened in 1859 [it is the oldest remaining church in Newcastle] and designed in the Early English Gothic style by architect Edmund Blacket.  It is constructed of rendered brick with stone dressings and includes a nave, with paired lancet windows, and transepts.  The interior includes stained glass windows and a hammerbeam roof. [1]


The splendid pipe organ by J.W. Walker, of London, housed in an attractive Gothic case, was built in 1866 as job number 832.  Costing £305/15/-, it was originally erected at the west end of the nave.  In 1966 the instrument was restored by Arthur Jones of Sydney, who acted as agent for J.W. Walker & Sons, then at Ruislip, Middlesex.  A new pedalboard was added at this time and the casework and display pipes were repainted.  The hand-blowing mechanism was also removed at some stage.


In spite of the changes, the instrument survives in a remarkably pure state of preservation, with cone tuning retained, its sprightly tone being characteristic of Walker organs of the period. The double-rise bellows and weights survive, as well as the stopknobs, engraved stop domes, keyboards, keycheeks, composition pedals, swell shutter control, builder’s nameplate and telltale. [2]   Two vacant sliders are still available to complete the tonal scheme: a Great Flute 4 and Swell Oboe 8 were envisaged by the Walker firm.


© PdL 2005


J.W. Walker 1866 (2/11 mechanical)

Open Diapason
Horn Diapason
Clarabella Flute Treb.
Stop’d Diapason Bass
Spare slide for Flute

Sw. Open Diapason
Sw. Stop’d Diapason
Sw. Principal
Sw. Cornopean
Spare slide for Oboe

Grand Bourdon

Swell to Great
Great to Pedals

8 Ft.
8 Ft.
8 Ft.
8 Ft.
4 Ft.
2 Ft.
2 ranks

8 Ft.
8 Ft.
4 Ft.
8 Ft.

16 Ft.


tone TC

tone +

Mechanical action throughout


Compass 56/30 (Note: All Swell stops of 44-note compass. The lowest octave of Swell manual plays only C-B of the Great Stop’d Diapason Bass)


3 composition pedals for Great


Hitch-down swell lever


No. of pipes = 585

Pitch a1 = 442 Hz at 190 C

Wind pressure (in 1981) =  62 mm (2⅜”)


Mixture composition:

C - b0 :  19.22

C1 - g3 : 12.15


+ 29 pipes only C - e1 per original pedalboard


© PdL 2005

© PdL 2005

© PdL 2005



J.W. Walker, London, 1866

St John’s Anglican Church, Cooks Hill

 (drawing by Graeme Rushworth)

St John's Rectory just after the 1989 Newcastle Earthquake (TB)  

[1] Barry Maitland and David Stafford, Architecture Newcastle.  Newcastle, NSW: RAIA (Newcastle Division), 1997, 8.


[2] John Stiller, “St John’s Anglican Church Cooks Hill Newcastle NSW.  Documentation of Pipe Organ built by J. Walker 1866”.  Organ Historical Trust of Australia, 1981.