St Stephen's Presbyterian Church
East Maitland

Charles Richardson 1897, 2m., 10 sp. st., mechanical

© PdL 2005

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


An earlier brick church building in the Gothic style with a square crenellated tower suffered in the great flood of 1893 and so a new church was built on higher ground and opened on 16 July 1938.  Constructed in brick in a contemporary Gothic idiom, the building incorporates a square tower flanking the entrance porch. [1]


The organ standing elevated at the front of the building was built in 1897 by Charles Richardson, of Sydney, at a cost of £270.  The consultant for the project was Mr Hadwen Chandler (organist of St Stephen’s Macquarie Street in Sydney), who also gave the opening recital. [2]   In 1938 the instrument was transferred to the new building. 

© PdL 2005


The instrument survives today totally intact, the only modification being the addition of electric blowing.  All original pipework survives with cone-tuning preserved intact, all original console features have been preserved, the hand-blowing mechanism is still in place, the original actions are preserved, and the superb polished cedar case, with attractive stencilled patterns, has likewise not been altered: it makes the appearance of the organ instantly recognisable as the work of Charles Richardson.  Unusual features of the organ are the “octopod” Swell division, with its collection of flute, string and reed tone colours, and the swell shutters which open at the rear of the enclosure.


The preservation of this instrument, a rare and pristine example of its builder’s work, is to be considered a priority.



© PdL 2005



Charles Richardson 1897 (2/10 mechanical)

Open Diapason
Hohl Flute

Lieblich Gedact
Spitz Flöte


8 Ft
8 Ft
8 Ft
4 Ft
2 Ft

8 Ft
8 Ft
8 Ft
8 Ft

16 Ft




Swell to Great

Swell Octave

Great to Pedals

Swell to Pedal (odd label)


Tremulant (on right jamb)






Mechanical action to manuals, couplers and stops


Tubular-pneumatic action to pedal


2 composition pedals to Great

2 composition pedals to Swell


Hitch-down swell pedal


No. of pipes = 480


Pitch a 1 = 444Hz at 190 C


Wind pressure  75mm (3”)



+ C-B from Hohl Flute

* C-B from Lieblich Gedact

¶ c0 - f1 from Hohl Flute



© PdL 2005




[1] White, The Challenge of the Years, 339.


[2] Rushworth, Historic Organs, 126 and John Stiller, “St Stephen’s Presbyterian Church, East Maitland NSW – Documentation of Pipe Organ built by Charles Richardson, 1897”. Organ Historical Trust of Australia, 28 May 1981.