Scots Presbyterian Church
Alfred Fuller, Kew, Victoria 1897
Restored 1990 F.J. Larner and Co., Perth
2 manuals, 10 speaking stops, 4 couplers, mechanical action
Scots Presbyterian Church, Fremantle
[Photograph by Trevor Bunning (March 2009)]
Historical and Technical Documentation by John Maidment
© OHTA 2004, 2009, 2017 (last updated September 2017)
The building was designed by Sir J.J. Talbot–Hobbs in an unusual rustic Gothic style and built in 1890 by Petrie and Co. in Fremantle limestone with contrasted quoining on the buttress faces and window edges. The main facade incorporates a tower, with octagonal spire, porch and triple lancet windows. Heritage Commission grants have assisted the restoration of the building and stained glass windows.1
[Photographs by Trevor Bunning (March 2009)]
The organ was built by Alfred Fuller, of Kew, Victoria, in 1897 and is one of the final instruments he constructed before the closure of his business in 1900. It was opened on Wednesday 9 June 1897 with a concert involving several local organists and the combined choirs of Scots' Church, Johnston Memorial Church and the Wesleyan Church:
SCOTS' CHURCH, FREMANTLE
OPENING OF NEW ORGAN.
The opening of the new pipe organ in Scots' Church, Fremantle, took place on Wednesday. The builder of the instrument, Mr. Fuller, of Melbourne, himself super-intended its erection, and he may well be congratulated on the result. The organ, though not large, is of superior tone and power, comparing favourably in voicing and general workmanship with the best English manufactured instrument. lt has two manuals and an independent pedal board CCC to F. The pedals are fitted with tubular pneumatic action, and the whole of the pipes have pneumatic pallets. The specification is as follows : - Swell Organ. - Cornopean, 8ft.; Lieblich flute, 4ft.; gedacht, 8ft.; viol de gamba, 8ft.; super octave coupler; tremulant. Great Organ. - Piccola, 2ft.; principal, 4ft.; dulciana, 8ft.; claribel flute, 8ft.; open diapason, 8ft.; Pedal Organ.- bourdon, 16ft. couplers - swell to great; swell to pedal; great to pedal.
The opening of the organ was left largely in the bands of Mr. C. W. Randle, organist of St. John's Church, Fremantle, whose skilful playing admirably brought out the qualities of the instrument. Mr. Randle's solos were an offertoire in C, by Lefebvre-Wêly, a Prelude, and Fugue in D minor by Bach. He also played an effective extemporization on Haydn's hymn to the Emperor, and accompanied many of the vocal numbers. Mr. E. E. Butson, organist of the Johnston Memorial Church, also played a solo in admirable style, his choice being a difficult offertoire by Batiste. The choral work was accompanied by Miss Smart, the organist of the church, in a manner which did much credit to herself and her instructor, Mr Butson. The vocalists were one and all good. Mrs. C. L. Clifton's rendering of Sullivan's "Lost Chord " was one of her very best efforts. Mrs. Neaves was also heard to advantage in Handel's "Angels Ever Bright and Fair," and Mr. Sefton, a tenor of no mean quality, sang well "In Native Worth," from Haydn's Creation. Miss Mofflin gave a very acceptable rendering of Mendelssohn's "But the Lord is Mindful of His Own." Mr. W. Paterson's sonorous bass told well in Gounod's "Nazareth," while Mr. Ferguson's rendition of "Lord God of Abraham," from Mendelssohn's Elijah, was both musicianly and tuneful. It is to be regretted that so capable a singer should be leaving the district. Mr. Clough's violin solo, a Nocturne, was well played and evidently appreciated. The combined choirs of the Scots' Church and the Johnston Memorial and Wesleyan churches gave three selections under the able direction of Mr. E. D. Needham. One of these selections, which was particularly well received, was a Magnificat composed by the conductor's father, formerly a resident here. Haydn's "The Heavens are Telling," was also well sung. There was a crowded attendance.2
It was restored in 1990 by F.J. Larner and Co. and more recently the decoration of the overpainted facade pipes has been restored by Pipe Organs WA. The original hand blowing still survives. The instrument is typical of Fuller's smaller instruments where the longest pipes are placed in towers at floor level on either side of the console, together with the absence of an internal passage board between the two manual chests.3
[Photographs by Trevor Bunning (March 2009)]
Viola da Gamba
4 couplers (incl Swell Octave)
Attached drawstop console with roll top
Mechanical key and stop action
2 composition pedals to Great
2 composition pedals to Swell
Trigger swell lever4
1 The Heritage of Western Australia: the illustrated register of the National Estate. South Melbourne: Macmillan, 1989, p.20; D.B. Duncan, Pipe Organs WA website.
2 The Western Mail (11 June 1897), p. 30; see also: The West Australian (10 June 1897), p. 5.
3 D.B. Duncan, Pipe Organs WA website; J.R. Elms, Gazetteer of Western Australian Pipe Organs. Melbourne: Society of Organists (Victoria) Inc., 1972.
4 Loc. cit.