St Paul's Retreat

Glen Osmond Place, Glen Osmond

Built by Gebrüder Walter, opus 115, c.1870s
1 manual, 6 speaking stops, 1 coupler, mechanical action

St Paul's Retreat, Glen Osmond: exterior
[Photograph by Trevor Bunning (18 March 2009)]

Historical and Technical Documentation by David Shield
© OHTA 2013 (last updated September 2013)

This delightful instrument has the opus number 115 of Gebrüder Walter, Guhrau Pr., Schlesien, Germany. Unfortunately it is unplayable and no longer used. Before coming to the retreat it was placed in several locations and there are some aspects of its history requiring further research. It is certain to be one of perhaps three that were imported by Jacob Witkowski in the 1870s.

Church of Christ, Hindmarsh: organ
[photograph from collection of David Shield]

There is some confusion as to whether Witkowski imported two or three pipe organs but it would appear they were speculative and not to order. As early as 1870 he was importing harmoniums from Trayser and Alexandre, and cabinet organs from Mason & Hamlin; Beatty's Golden-Tongued American Organs were added in 1879.1 A short article appeared late in February 1877 indicating Witkowski had imported two new organs manufactured by Water Brothers (sic.) of Germany. Both had exclusively metal pipes. The larger had seven stops with two full octaves of pedals, a Spanish mahogany case, and white ornamental front pipes, and was regarded as suitable for a place of worship. The smaller organ had five stops and was better adapted to a private house.2 In April it was announced a further organ with 10 stops and two keyboards had been imported by Witkowski. It is not clear whether this instrument arrived or was jettisoned owing to stormy weather.3

The instruments were not sold immediately. In April 1877 Witkowski sought permission from the City Council to display an instrument in the Town Hall exchange room. Not surprisingly, with the installation of the Hill & Son grand organ, the request was denied.4 As an alternative it was placed in the Europe Hotel.5 This instrument is at Nuriootpa's Holy Trinity Lutheran Church.6

In July 1878, the smaller organ was installed at the Alberton Wesleyan Methodist Church, at a cost of £140.7 For the following two years it was tuned by Robert Mackenzie.8 When J.E. Dodd supplied a new organ to the Alberton church he offered the old to the Hindmarsh Church of Christ in 1910.9 Here the organ stayed until replaced by a reed organ prior to 1957. It came into the possession of a Mr Mathews as a house organ and then to the Monastery.10

St Paul's Retreat, Glen Osmond: organ
[Photograph by Trevor Bunning (18 March 2009)]


Pedal Coppel

16 fuss
8 fuss
8 fuss
4 fuss
4 fuss

8 fuss






Compass 51/25
Attached drawknob console
Mechanical key & stop action
Trigger swell pedal


1 Süd Australische Zeitung 6/4/1870 p.7; Register 14/3/1879 p.3

2 Register 27/2/1877 p.6

3 Advertiser 2/4/1877 p.4 The Strathblane suffered stormy weather and some cargo was jettisoned.

4 Advertiser 11/4/1877 p.6

5 Advertiser 4/5/1877 p.5

6 A Rich And Diverse Palate OHTA Annual Conference, 2009 pp.101-104

7 Advertiser 5/3/1878 p.5

8 Alberton Wesleyan Methodist Church Account 1878, 16 July, 25 October, 25 December; 1879, 28 January, 9 August; 1882, 11 September; 1883, 22 November. SLSA SRG 4 28/1

9 Dodd Correspondence 1909-1914 J.E. Dodd to Mr Sharples organist Hindmarsh Church of Christ 18/7/1910 Letter and specifications pp.225-6, 227

10 Naylor B.A., Organ building in South Australia, unpub. thesis M.Mus., University of Adelaide, 1971 vol 2 p. 606

St Paul's Retreat, Glen Osmond: console
[Photograph by Trevor Bunning (18 March 2009)]

St Paul's Retreat, Glen Osmond: nameplate
[Photograph by Trevor Bunning (18 March 2009)]

St Paul's Retreat, Glen Osmond: drawstops
[Photograph by Trevor Bunning (18 March 2009)]

St Paul's Retreat, Glen Osmond: prize medals
[Photograph by Trevor Bunning (18 March 2009)]

St Paul's Retreat, Glen Osmond: pipework
[Photograph by John Maidment (1 October 2013)]

St Paul's Retreat, Glen Osmond: reservoir showing concertina wind trunk
[Photograph by John Maidment (1 October 2013)]