Wyclif Congregational Church

Norfolk Road, Surrey Hills

Built before 1918 Mr Dudley, Armadale for residence of Charles Stickland, 115 Miller Street, North Fitzroy
Installed Surrey Hills 1919 Meadway & Slatterie
Rebuilt and enlarged 1924-25 Geo. Fincham & Sons Pty Ltd
Alterations 1934 C.W. Andrewartha
Removed 1975 and broken up; parts to St George's Anglican Church, Mont Albert and to J.A.H. Brooks
2 manuals, 13 speaking stops, 5 couplers, tubular-pneumatic action

Wyclif Congregational Church, Surrey Hills
(photograph by John Maidment [3 March 2022])

Historical and Technical Documentation by John Maidment
© OHTA, March 2022 (updated December 2023)

The foundation stone of Wyclif Congregational Church was laid on 13 September 1890. The building was extensively described in the press:

The following is a description of the building: - it will be of dark bricks, relieved with white brick dressings; the front will face Norfolk-road, having two entrance porches, flanked with buttresses; but the great feature is a large perpendicular gothic window, 17ft. x 8ft., filled with cathedral glass, as are all the other windows. The side elevations have double lancet-shaped windows, with strong buttresses between each, and is capable of extension two bays more as future requirements permit: temporary wood buildings are provided, consisting of a space 14ft. square, for the choir, and on one side is a vestry, and on the other is a class-room. The roof is of pink slates. Ventilation, both inlet and outlet, has been carefully studied, and is on the same principle as the Howe Crescent Church, which the same architects built. The roof is open, light and airy, and is carried on light iron columns; the soffit is boarded, and it is anticipated the acoustics will be good. Comfortable sitting accommodation is provided for 225 persons; but, in cases of necessity, 300 can be seated. Gas will be provided by the Box Hill Company. The cost of the whole, including seats, will be £1360; and when finished it will be one of the neatest and most economical of the Congregational churches in the colony. Mr. Stanes, of Surrey Hills, is the builder, and the architects are Messrs Elleker and Kilburn, of Melbourne.1

Considerable extensions, additions and alterations to the building, together with changes to the organ, were reopened on Sunday 4 November 1934.2 The building was sold in 1975 and is now St Mary’s Armenian Apostolic Church and the fabric has been carefully preserved.

Wyclif Congregational Church, Surrey Hills – the organ showing the original console
(photograph kindly supplied by the Surrey Hills Historical Society [1922])

The organ was installed initially in the residence of Charles Stickland, 115 Miller Street, North Fitzroy. He was seeking a practice pipe organ in January 19183 and this was clearly supplied by March 1918 when he advertised the organ as available for practice.4 It was advertised for sale in July 19195 and was acquired by the Surrey Hills church at this time.

On Wednesday a new pipe organ at the Wycliff Congregational Church, Surrey Hills, was dedicated by the minister (Rev. C. Bernard Cockett, M.A.). It contains two manuals and pedals, and an electric blower. It was built by Mr. Dudley, Armadale, and was re-erected in the church by Messrs. Meadway and Slattery, Melbourne, being revoiced throughout on a heavier pressure of wind by Mr. Meadway. A recital was given by Mr. C. Stickland, organist of the North Carlton Presbyterian Church.6

The organ was initially built with an attached drawstop console, as shown in the illustration above. It was rebuilt in 1924-25 by Geo. Fincham & Sons Pty Ltd who supplied an extended console, and added three stops: 8ft Gamba, 8ft Diapason, and 4ft Clear Flute, these placed on an additional slider chest.7

In May 1925 it was reported:

After extensive alterations and improvements the pipe organ at the Wyclif Congregational Church, Surrey Hills, was again put into commission last week. A good programme was provided by Mr. Harry Holt, formerly organist at St. James's Old Cathedral. The soloists were Miss Hortense Fyfe, Mr. Eric Gifford (bass), Miss Lily Willaton (soprano), and Miss Wekworth (pianist). An efficient church choir, conducted by Mr. H. H. Philips, contributed a series of anthems.8

Further changes took place in 1934 by C.W. Andrewartha which may have included new rocking tablets to the console and moving it to a new organ chamber.9

Wyclif Congregational Church, Surrey Hills – organ after detached console supplied and before its removal
[Photograph by John Maidment (1975)]

The organ was removed in 1975 and broken up. Parts went to St George's Anglican Church, Mont Albert in 1976 when the case and façade pipes, one of the Great slider chests and the console shell were used by Bellsham Pipe Organs to build a single manual organ of six speaking stops; this was removed in 1999 when this church closed. The remainder of the organ went to the late J.A.H. Brooks, who resided at the time nearby.10

Open Diapason
Stopped Diapason
Clear Flute
Swell to Great



Lieblich Gedact
Viol d’Orchestra8
Closed Horn
Sub Octave
Super Octave


Bass Flute
Great to Pedal
Swell to Pedal




*common bass CC-BB

Compass: 58/30
Detached stopkey console
Fixed thumb & toe pistons
Balanced mechanical swell pedal
Tubular-pneumatic action11

Wyclif Congregational Church, Surrey Hills – foundation stone
(photograph by John Maidment [3 March 2022])

1 The Reporter, 19 September 1890, p.3

2 The Age, 3 November 1934, p.19

3 Spectator and Methodist Chronicle 16 January 1918, p.60

4 Preston Leader, 9 March 1918, p.4

5 The Argus, 12 July 1919, p.1

6 Ibid., 6 September 1919, p.17. No mention of a Mr Dudley of Armadale can be found in the Sands & McDougall Melbourne directories for 1915 and 1920. He was associated with Meadway & Slatterie in 1919 as shown in a quotation for alterations to the organ at Auburn Methodist Church which is signed Meadway, Slatterie and Dudley.

7 Geo.Fincham & Sons letters, 4 December 1924 (State Library of Victoria)

8 The Argus, 7 May 1925, p.12

9 Noted from console inspection by John Maidment (date unknown)

10 As noted by John Maidment for the Gazetteer of Victorian Pipe Organs

11 Specification noted by John Maidment before 1976