St John-the-Baptist Anglican Church

B unknown [local amateur, later 19th century?]
1m, 5spst, no pedals, tr.
Man: 8.8 divided.4.4.2. All pipework of wood.


An earlier church was opened in November 1868 to the design of the Ballarat architect H.R. Caselli, costing more than £900.00.  This small building was only 36 x 24ft inside, was incomplete and was never consecrated: it was demolished in early 1957.  The remarkable stone font in the present church clearly comes from this earlier building.  The foundation stone of the present church, designed by Ballarat diocesan architect G.S. Richards, was laid in April 1957.  It was constructed in cream brick in a refined Gothic style: there is a small tower at the west end.  The building includes many stained glass windows by the accomplished Scottish-trained artist D. Taylor Kellock.


The organ, of anonymous manufacture, was in use before 1908 and is believed to have been built locally.  There was a very similar and slightly smaller instrument of three speaking stops in the Methodist Church, Beaufort until the late 1950s.  Both instruments had pipework entirely of wooden construction.  The unusual casework of the St John’s organ includes dummy wooden ‘flatback’ pipes and incorporates both Classical and Gothic details.  The console is located behind wooden doors that open right to the ground.  The right hand case panel is hinged for internal access.  The keycheeks are scrolled and the drawstops have endolithic labels so must date from later than the start of the 20th century.  This is the only early organ in Victoria where the pipework is entirely of wood.


Open Diapason
Stop Diapason




Compass: CC-F 54 notes (no pedal board is provided)

2 composition pedals

Attached drawstop console

Mechanical key and stop action


Photos: JRM (April 2009)


Church of St John the Baptist, Beaufort, Diocese of Ballarat: centenary 1869-1969.  Beaufort: St John’s Church, 1968.

John Stiller.  St John-the-Baptist Anglican Church, Beaufort, Victoria: documentation of pipe organ.  Camberwell, Vic.: Organ Historical Trust of Australia, 1980 (unpublished mss)

Vintage Victoriana: the XVIIth Annual Conference, The Organ Historical Trust of Australia, 23-29 September 1994.  Conference booklet, p.37.

Notes by John Maidment: visits to organ 1994, 2009


John Maidment

21 April 2009