St Jude's Anglican Church

Built 1866 George Fincham for Melbourne Intercolonial Exhibition; 
installed 1868 St John's Anglican Church, Toorak; installed present location 1872; 
restored 1989-90 Knud Smenge. 1manual, 11speaking stops, 1 coupler, mechanical action 
Church and organ badly damaged by fire October 2014; organ parts removed to storage

Recording of 'Choral Song' by S.S. Wesley, performed by John Stiller, 24 September 1994, 3.30 pm during an OHTA Conference.
[recorded by Elizabeth Kleinig]


St Jude’s was built between 1866 and 1870 to the design of Reed & Barnes, the first fully polychromatic brick church in Australia and based upon Italian brick Gothic precedents as promoted by G.E. Street in his book Brick and Marble in the Middle Ages : Notes of a Tour in the North of Italy (1855).

The building consists of a nave of eight bays and a square-ended chancel placed over a substantial undercroft.  The proposed tower and spire (very similar to that at the Independent Church, Collins Street, Melbourne) was never erected.

The interior includes examples of stained glass by Ferguson & Urie (over the sanctuary). Rogers & Hughes, Brooks Robinson and William Montgomery.

The organ was built in 1866 by George Fincham for display at the Intercolonial Exhibition, Melbourne, at which it won first prize.  The juror’s opinion stated:

“ORGANS. – Of this class only one specimen is exhibited, showing a decided progress in colonial manufacture, every part being made in Melbourne except the radiating pedals and the ivory keys

Mr. Fincham, of Bridge-road, Richmond, has exhibited this instrument according to a specification supplied by him, but suggested by Mr. Horsley.

This Organ, under the most trying circumstances, has proved an undoubted credit to Mr. Fincham.  Subjected to the most severe atmospheric variations, used for the benefit and amusement of the visitors to the Exhibition, it has given the Jurors great satisfaction, especially when they record that the work was commenced and completed within the short space of eight weeks.

This organ was hired to St John’s Anglican Church, Toorak until late 1872 when it was sold to St Jude’s Anglican Church, Carlton at a cost of £230.  The provenance of the organ is clear from a pamphlet issued by Fincham in 1866 which is endorsed with the name ‘St Jude’s Carlton’.  It was moved from its rear gallery location at St Jude’s to the chancel of the church in 1896.

The instrument was fully restored by Knud Smenge in 1989-90 at which time the organ was relocated to its original location in the centre of the rear gallery.  The windchest, action and pipework were overhauled, the latter fitted with new tuning slides in place of those previously existing.  At this time the swell box enclosing the manual stops (considered to be non-original as the Trumpet was fitted with dust bonnets) was removed and stored and a new top and back made for the casework.  The casework had been covered with thick brown varnish, was cleaned back with spirit solvent to reveal an elaborate original decorative scheme that included panels painted in turquoise and Egyptian red with gilt trailing ivy leaves and fleur-de-lys.  The gold paint was also removed from the façade pipes to reveal the spotted metal beneath, but at the expense of eradicating a previous decorative scheme.  Some of the console panels were remade in new blackwood to match the original where they had been badly damaged by electricians.

The is a very large single manual instrument, the largest built by Fincham, with a complete chorus to Mixture and a chorus reed, the latter the oldest example of a Fincham reed stop to survive.  It is also the earliest Fincham organ to survive in relatively intact state, his earlier instrument at the Congregational Church, East Melbourne (1864) and later at Christ Church Anglican Church, Ormond, having been rebuilt and enlarged in 1978.


Open Dia
Stopd. Bass
Viol de Gamba
Mixture RK.
Manual to Pedal




TC [Bell Gamba]


Compass: 56/29

3 composition pedals

Mechanical key and stop action



Image of St Jude’s Church, Carlton showing the tower and spire

Photos: JRM (Oct. 2008)


Victorian Churches, edited by Miles Lewis.  East Melbourne: National Trust of Australia (Victoria), 1991, p.49

George Fincham, Bridge Road, Richmond, Melbourne, Organ Builder.  Pamphlet issued c.1866

E.N. Matthews, Colonial Organs and Organbuilders.  Carlton: Melbourne University Press, 1969, pp.108, 126, 155.

‘Restorations: St Jude’s Anglican Church, Carlton, Victoria’, OHTA News, volume 14, no 2 (April 1990), pp. 6-7.