Bairnsdale Uniting Church

corner of Great Alpine Road and Lanes Road, Bairnsdale

Geo. Fincham & Sons Pty Ltd 1935 for the Methodist Church, Bairnsdale
Rebuilt and installed 1991 new Uniting Church, Bairnsdale by S.J. Laurie Pty Ltd
2 manuals, 16 speaking stops, electro-pneumatic and electro-magnetic action


Original church building: exterior
[Photograph by Bruce Walker (1965)]

Present church building
[Photograph by Bruce Walker (2012)]

Historical and Technical Documentation by Bruce Walker
© OHTA 2018 (last updated September 2018)

Organ history began in 1877 with the newly built Bairnsdale Methodist Church in which a pedal organ was purchased for the opening which 'added greatly to the efficiency of the choir'. In 1898 when seating accommodation for the growing congregation was found to be inadequate the north and south transepts were added to the church.

It wasn't until 1934 that a new pipe organ was suggested by the Revd Wesley Hobbs as an ideal memorial to commemorate the work and service of the church pioneers.

In spite of the Great Depression, sufficient funds were raised to place an order in 1934 with George Fincham & Sons Pty Ltd for a pipe organ at a cost of 1,000 pounds. Only six months later the organ was dedicated on 17 February 1935 with the church 'crowded to its utmost capacity'. Two days later a recital was given by Mr George Wale of Melbourne.

Document extract 1935

The 1935 Fincham console in the old church building
[Photographs by Bruce Walker (1965)]

The 1935 Fincham case in the old church building
[Photograph by Bruce Walker (1965)]

By the early 1960s, the original tubular-pneumatic action began to fail. In 1966 Myles R. Brown was contracted to upgrade the organ – changing the pneumatic action to electro-pneumatic at a cost of 3000 pounds.

When the new Uniting Church was formed, it was decided to sell both the Methodist and Presbyterian churches and construct a new church on the outskirts of the town. This was completed in September, 1989.

A further decision was made to dismantle the Methodist organ and rebuild/update it for the new church. Its pipes were boxed and transported to the factory of S.J. Laurie Pty. Ltd in Modialloc. Here the company restored each of the three sections and enlarged the organ to 853 pipes in 16 ranks. It also incorporated a new console, stool, air blower and electronically controlled actuators for all pipes. The action was changed from electro-pneumatic to electro-magnetic.

The reconstructed organ was installed in a balcony at the rear of the new building with a detached stopkey console. It was dedicated at a special service on 24 February 1991.

The S.J. Laurie casework
[Photograph by Robin Winter (2017)]

The S.J. Laurie console
[Photograph by Robin Winter (2017)]


Open Diapason
Stopped Diapason

Hohl Flute
Viola de Gamba
Mixture 19.22.26
Closed Horn

Octave Quint
Octave Flute



CC – 61 Notes
61 pipes, metal and zinc
61 pipes, wood
61 pipes, metal
61 pipes, metal (former Swell)
61 pipes, metal (new)

CC - 61 Notes
61 pipes, wood
49 pipes, spotted metal
61 pipes, (former Sw. Open)
61 pipes
183 pipes, (new)
61 pipes (revoiced)

CC – 30 Notes
30 pipes, wood
18 pipes, metal (new) (1 – 12 Gt. No.1)
12 pipes, wood, ext. No. 12
ext. No. 12
12 pipes, wood ext. No 12

Swell Sub Octave
Swell Sub Octave to Great
Swell to Great
Swell to Pedal
Swell Octave
Swell Octave to Great
Great to Pedal

3 Adjustable thumb pistons to Great
3 Adjustable thumb pistons to Swell
4 Adjustable toe pistons to Pedal
1 Coupler, 'Pedal to Great thumb pistons'
1 Reversible thumb piston Great to pedal
1 Reversible thumb piston Swell to Great
Balanced Swell Pedal
On-Off switch and pedal light

Console action electric
Stops by rocking tabs
Windchest action, electric and electro-magnetic
Notes and stop action, solid state multiplex
Stop Slider and swell shutter action, electric



Interior pipework
[Photographs by Robin Winter (2017)]

Organ case and rear of the church
[Photograph by Bruce Walker (2012)]

Verna Cox, organist and console
[Photograph by Bruce Walker (2012)]

Sanctuary and rose window, present church building
[Photograph by Bruce Walker (2012)]

Rear of present church building
[Photograph by Bruce Walker (2012)]