Barossa Regional Gallery: Soldiers Memorial Hall

Basedow Road, Tanunda

Roger Lewis 1980s
1 manual, 3 speaking stops, mechanical action

Roger Lewis chamber organ, Barossa Regional Gallery, Tanunda
[photograph by John Maidment (July 2017)]

Historical and Technical Documentation by Steve Kaesler
© OHTA, 2019 (last updated October 2019)

In the early 1970s a small group of aspiring young organ reform movement advocates gathered to consider a new style of small organ. The consortium, initially led by Mr Baghurst (senior), also consisted of his son Andrew, Tom Way, David Lowe and Roger Jones. Each member had a particular skill to add to the strength of this group, setting out to combat the takeover of electronic organs within churches, halls and homes.

The aim was to design and construct a small pipe organ of three ranks of pipes with neo-baroque voicing and pleasing casework that would fit through a normal domestic door opening for installation. The engineering approaches of uniformity in design and “production line” type construction techniques were developed to ensure the model instrument could be cost effective and more affordable to the general population.

After finalizing the design, two instruments were initially built, completed circa 1977. One was installed in the residence of Andrew Baghurst and the other sold to Rayner Smith, which was eventually placed in the Lady Chapel of St Peter’s Cathedral, Adelaide, where it still currently resides.

Roger Lewis commenced construction of a third organ which was completed in the early 1980s. His casework was built with great precision and immaculate detail. The metal pipework was imported from Stinckens and was arranged to be voiced by Knud Smenge when he was in Adelaide working on the Good Shepherd Anglican organ, Plympton for Geo. Fincham & Sons. The wooden Gedackt bass was made by Roger Lewis.

Following Roger Lewis’s death in 2013, his organ was placed in the Barossa Regional Gallery where it is used for smaller group accompaniment, especially chamber music. The organ sits on a specially designed wheeled base so that it can be easily moved around the hall’s raked stage and still remain vertical for playing.1

[Chimney Flute]


Compass: 54 notes
Wind pressure: 2 inches
Mechanical key and stop action2

1 Personal conversation, David Lowe and Lesley Lewis 18 September 2019

2 Specification noted by Steve Kaesler 2019