Uniting (formerly Wesleyan Methodist) Church

Bower Street, Moonta Mines

Built c. 1882-84 by James Broad & Son
2 manuals, 12 speaking stops, 3 couplers, mechanical action

Uniting Church, Moonta Mines: exterior
[Photograph by John Maidment (2 October 2013)]

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

The Moonta Mines Uniting church is a significant building of South Australia's heritage. A replica of the Wesleyan Chapel in Truro, Cornwall, it was built in 1865 and replaced an earlier wooden chapel of 1861. Gothic in structure, it was built of stone with brick quoins and arches and roofed with galvanised iron, the foundation stone being laid on 7 August. Internal measurements were 75 feet by 45 in the clear and originally it had an inclined floor. Mr F. May was the architect and S. Rossiter the builder. It cost £1395 and was estimated to hold a congregation of 750 people. The internal cedar fittings by Mr P. Kneale of Thebarton, Adelaide, were not quite complete in time for the first service though the trustees had purchased a harmonium performed on by Capt Osborne.1 Expansion led to the flattening of the floor and the addition of galleries in 1872 for further seating accommodation. The organ was acquired in 1888.

Uniting Church, Moonta Mines: interior from rear gallery
[Photograph by Trevor Bunning (2 October 2013)]

It is not clear exactly when the organ at Moonta Mines was constructed. J.J. Broad had offered an instrument to the trustees of the Methodist Church at Moonta Mines by August 1884. However, their liabilities were such that at that stage they felt unable to entertain the offer.2 The organ was to remain in Broad's shop in George Street, Moonta.

Four years later, with the dissolution of partnership between Broad and his father, a clearing sale was advertised for Friday September 7:

comprising 1 pipe organ (an excellent instrument, and suitable for a church) 1 Barrel Organ 13 Cabinet Organs 1 Organette Bass and Side drums, Tamborines, Bombardon, Clarionettes Flageolets, Flutes Piccolos Banjo Cornets, tenor horns, Accordeons, Drum sticks oil Paintings Oleographs Chromographs Bibles Books Music Instructors Albums Music Rolls and folios And a quantity of Business requisites.3

At a meeting that night of the Moonta Mines Wesleyan Church trustees it was:

Moved by Bro Lathern seconded Bro Brown that it is desirable to purchase the pipe organ now on sale at Mr Broad's shop Moonta provided the same can be obtained on reasonable terms. Carried. It was further resolved that Brethren Lathern Brown and Opie be a committee to attend the sale tomorrow. Resolved that they be empowered to bid for the organ to the amount of £175. Resolved that the further consideration of the organ question be deferred.4

The sale of the organ did not eventuate although it was probable that the Committee's bid was the highest. At the next meeting of the Trustees a letter was read from Broad, which stated:

he had been authorised to offer the pipe organ now standing in his shop, to be delivered, erected and maintained for two years for the sum of £235 cash.5

This was agreed to, and the same trio were appointed to "attend to the purchase and erection of the same".6 Exactly how the negotiations progressed is unknown however payment for the organ was not made directly to Broad. Naylor records payment of £200 on 28 January 1889 to Mr Adamson Jr. and £42 to Broad for erecting the organ, with other expenses amounting to £16/13/3.7 A second source suggests £200 was paid to A. Amos of Adelaide and Broad was paid £42 for installation with sundries of £16.8 Whatever the figure it was said the purchase was effected largely through a handsome donation from Captain H. R. Hancock.9

Uniting Church, Moonta Mines: organ
[Photograph by John Maidment (2 October 2013)]

The organ was opened on Sunday 16 December 1888 and was played at all the services by M.H. Stocker, of Kadina.10

J.J. Broad had moved to Moonta in 1884. As with the organ at All Saints' in Moonta it is assumed that he maintained the instruments after erecting them. By 1900 he had moved back to Adelaide and the trustees were communicating with J.E. Dodd in relation to improvements to the organ.11 What these were is unknown as the original letters are missing.

In April 1913 the first organist and self appointed custodian of the organ Mr Henry Herbert died.12 He had retired a couple of years earlier and the new organist was Oswald Pryor of cartoonist fame. It seems no coincidence that a discussion was had to remove the organ and place it in the Sunday School Hall, though who initiated the idea nor what plans were had to replace the instrument is unclear.13 At the same time there were negotiations to supply an Oboe, and replace the Fifteenth on the Great with a Dulciana. Quotations were given for supplying an electric blower in preference to a hydraulic engine. Nothing was to come of the relocation or, it seems, the changed stop. The Oboe was added in 1915 its installation being deferred by World War I shipping delays.14

Uniting Church, Moonta Mines: console
[Photograph by John Maidment (2 October 2013)]

Open Diapason
Wald Flute
Swell to Great

Violin Diapason
Harmonic Flute

Great to Pedals





Compass 56/30
Attached drawknob console
Trigger Tremulant
Trigger swell pedal
Mechanical key & stop action


1 Advertiser 19/8/1865 p.3; Wallaroo Times 9/12/1865 p.4

2 Moonta Mines Wesleyan Methodist Church, Trustee Minutes, August 21 1884

3 Advertiser 6/9/1888 p.8

4 Minutes op.cit September 61888

5 ibid October 11 1888

6 ibid

7 Naylor B.A., Organ building in South Australia, unpub. thesis M.Mus., University of Adelaide, 1971 vol 2 pp.658-9 Paid 28th January 1889 Mr Adamson Jr. for organ £200 Paid 28th January 1889 Mr J J Broad for erecting organ £42. Paid January 28th 1889 Minister's expenses and labour and materials £13/12/7. Paid March 9th 1889 various accounts labour on organ £3/-/8

8 Church information sheet sited 10/11/2012

9 Christian Colonist 4/1/1889 p.3, ibid 21/3/1890 p.3; Pryor O., Australia's Little Cornwall 1962, p.110

10 Yorke Peninsula Advertiser 21/12/1888 p.3

11 BAN Index JED Letters 1898-1903 to F. Bourne p.89; S. Lathern p.90, 91, 99; Henry Adams p.102

12 Chronicle 19/4/1913 p.45

13 DLB vol 8 1909-1914, Dodd to Oswald Pryor, 2/10/1913 pp.217-219

14 DLB vol 10 1913-1916, Dodd to Oswald Pryor p.178, 24/11/1914; ibid Dodd to Methodist Church Moonta Mines, 5/1/1915 p.202


Uniting Church, Moonta Mines: left-hand stop jamb
[Photograph by John Maidment (2 October 2013)]

Uniting Church, Moonta Mines: right-hand stop jamb
[Photograph by John Maidment (2 October 2013)]

Uniting Church, Moonta Mines: detail of pipe decoration
[Photograph by Trevor Bunning (2 October 2013)]

Uniting Church, Moonta Mines: view through rear of organ to Great
[Photograph by John Maidment (2 October 2013)]

Uniting Church, Moonta Mines: rear of swell box showing folding doors
for access and reservoir
[Photograph by Trevor Bunning (2 October 2013)]