Peace Memorial Methodist Church

Epping Street, Malvern East

Built 1922 George Fincham & Sons Pty Ltd (using 2nd hand components)
Removed 1981 Australian Pipe Organs; parts used elsewhere
2 manuals, 24 speaking stops, 5 couplers, tubular-pneumatic action

Peace Memorial Methodist Church, East Malvern – exterior from north-east
(photograph from the Uniting Church Archives [c.1922])

Historical and Technical Documentation by John Maidment
© OHTA, March 2022

The foundation stone of the Peace Memorial Methodist Church was laid on 12 November 1921 and the building opened on 4 June 1922.1 The architects were North & Williams and their design, constructed in red brick with terra cotta shingles on the roof, was in a modern form of arts and crafts Gothic, noted for its overall simplicity and massive forms.

The building was described in a contemporary report:

The building departs in many respects from the conventional type of Methodist church, the style of architecture being a free adaptation of Ecclesiastical Gothic. The interior of the building comprises a spacious nave separated by an arch from a side aisle. In a transept are placed the choir stalls, the organ being placed in a loft above. The seats and panelling are of Tasmanian oak, fumed and waxed, while the pulpit, organ screen, console, and chancel furniture are of the same timber, but finished in a tone is harmonising with the interior brickwork. The windows are rich in carving, but the glass which is of pale green is of an inexpensive kind, it being hoped that generous members of the congregation will some day provide stained glass memorial windows. The two-manual pipe organ is a handsome instrument but provision has been made for five additional stops to be built in later. The church and organ will cost more than £7,000 of which £4,818 has been promised to date.2

The building remained as a Uniting Church until 1983 when it was auctioned on 22 June of that year.3 The internal fittings remained intact until that date. The church was acquired by the Greek Orthodox denomination and is now St Catharine’s Church. Spires have been added to the two towers and the interior has been lavishly redecorated.

Peace Memorial Methodist Church, East Malvern – organ
(photograph by John Maidment [c.1978])

Peace Memorial Methodist Church, East Malvern – interior with organ to the right
(photograph from the Uniting Church Archives [c.1922])

The organ was built in 1922 by Geo. Fincham & Sons Pty Ltd. Sited in an elevated chamber above the vestries, it incorporated many earlier components such as the building frame of a three-manual organ, two older slider chests, the Great of N formation and the Swell of A formation (maybe by Hill & Son). The large double-rise reservoir and feeders occupied the whole space. The organ was placed at 90 degrees to the organ façade, speaking sideways.4 The source of the material is unknown and not described in the firm’s records.

Open Diapason no 1
Open Diapason no 2
Stopped Diapason
Wald Flute
Viole Sourdine
Clear Flute
Harmonic Gemshorn
Clarionet 5
Swell to Great


(8 rank slider chest plus clamp)

no provision on chest, 1-12 in case

grooved bass – placed on clamp

grooved bass: very small scale and tapered

capped, with mitred bass
TC, in its own swell box; added 19465

Double Diapason
Violin Diapason
Lieblich Gedacht
Voix Celeste
Viol d’Orchestre
Suabe Flute
Orchestral Oboe
Sub Octave
Super Octave


(5 rank slider chest)

stopd wd bass: Bell Gamba from 4ft : placed on clamp
TC spotted metal: placed on clamp
no provision on chest

no provision on chest
Bassoon bass
no provision on chest

Open Diapason
Bass Flute
Great to Pedal
Swell to Pedal


wooden Violone


Compass: 58/30
Tubular-pneumatic action
Detached console with rocking tablets
Balanced swell pedal
3 fixed thumb pistons to Great
3 fixed thumb pistons to Swell
3 general toe pistons
Great combinations to Pedal
Swell combinations to Pedal6

Maintained in the 1950s until 1964 by Charles Lomas, the organ was removed from the church by Australian Pipe Organs Pty Ltd in 1981, after the auction. Parts went to the Baptist Church, Coburg (now at St Patrick's Catholic Church, Albury, NSW), three unison ranks to the new Choir Organ at St John’s Church, Camberwell, and the Pedal Open Diapason to St James' Catholic Church, Gardenvale (later destroyed by fire).

1 The Age, 29 May 1922, p.7

2 The Argus, 31 May 1922, p.15

3 The Age, 28 May 1983

4 Detailed notes on the organ taken by John Maidment 19 November 1977

5 William Henry Bossence, Epping Street (Melbourne: The Hawthorn Press, 1978), p.39

6 Specification noted 1977 John Maidment