St Peter's Anglican Cathedral
cnr King William Road & Pennington Terrace, North Adelaide

B 1929 Hill Norman & Beard
4 manuals, 50 speaking stops, 26 couplers, electro-pneumatic action.




Information quoted from CD program notes "Pipe Organs of Adelaide Volume 10" (AMCD971111) and written by Harold Fabrikant and Bruce Lindsay, 1997.


"St Peter's Cathedral received its first organ in 1876. Built by Bishop & Son, the organ contained 29 stops distributed over 3 manuals and pedals, being installed in what later became the Sacristy. With the addition of the present Nave and Lady Chapel, despite its substantial size it was considered inadequate for the enlarged building. The organ was removed to St Augustine's Anglican Church in suburban Unley where it survives to this day.

Development work on the Cathedral was funded from an Appeal launched in 1925 and from which funds were made available to purchase a new organ at an estimated cost of £7000.

The new instrument was dedicated at an opening recital on Sunday, July 6th, 1930, at which time a special collection attempted to make up a funding shortfall of £500, this despite the absence of the organ's casework and several stops.

The organ is significant in the history of Australian organ-building, since its commission coincided with several other major contracts won by HN & B (notably the replacement of the organ - destroyed by fire on February 1st, 1925 - in the Melbourne Town Hall, followed between 1925 and 1930 by contracts for new organs in Christchurch Cathedral, Christchurch City Hall, Dunedin Town Hall and the Presbyterian Assembly Hall in Sydney - now in Scotch College, Melbourne), and which justified the British parent company's establishment - in August 1926 - of an outpost factory in Clifton Hill (Melbourne) which survived until 1974. While its metal pipes were imported from England, as much as possible of the balance of the instrument was constructed locally.

Its specification was drawn up in consultation with A E H Nickson, an outstanding Melbourne-based organist and teacher, whose engagement included superintending its construction at Clifton Hill, and testing the finished work, when he is quoted by a Cathedral publication (c. 1930) as saying that "...he believed the Cathedral had now one of the finest organs in Australia".

It is also significant that the instrument remains today in largely the condition in which it was built nearly 70 years ago. Its Curator declares that all pipes installed in 1930 remain in playable condition, while major work has been limited to lifting the pitch to orchestral requirements and conversion of the bottom octave pipes to electro-pneumatic action (1971), installation of solid state switching for key and stop action (1983), replacement of the blowing system (1986), installation of a new 5-rank Mixture to the Great (1986), and the addition of a new Contra-Trombone 32' stop to the pedal division (1989). The first stage of the casework, to the original design of architect Walter Bagot and installed in his memory, was fitted in 1963 and has yet to be completed. The completed gothic design envisages a magnificent and elaborately carved timber frame encasing the towe
rs and flats of the facade pipes."



From the 2009 OHTA Conference Book, David Shield writes:


In 1868, the noted English architect William Butterfield (1814 - 1900) provided a design to Bishop Short for an Anglican cathedral in Adelaide.  With its banded brickwork and continental detailing, this proved to be too avant-garde for local tastes and it was tamed by local architect E.J. Woods, removing the polychromatic detailing and substituting more windows.

Butterfield’s western façade was replaced with one based upon that of Notre-Dame in Paris, suggested by the Countess of Kintore, wife of the South Australian Governor.1  Elements of Butterfield’s design survive in the octagonal tower over the eastern crossing, based upon French precedents, and resembling that he provided for Rugby School Chapel, in Britain, although on a smaller scale.  The adoption of double transepts is based upon major English churches such as Canterbury, Lincoln and York.  The eastern end of the building, originally with a square termination, was later rebuilt to provide an apse and lady chapel where Butterfield’s original reredos has been repositioned.


The building has a splendid range of fittings of which the carved reredos, designed by English architect T.H. Lyon and made in Devon 1904-09, is the most spectacular.  There are numerous windows, too, by the leading English stained glass maker C.E. Kempe.

The first services were held in the partially completed cathedral on 29 June 1876.  It took many years to complete the building.  A disputed block of land led to the cathedral being placed outside the central business district but its site is certainly spectacular, with long views from the south unequalled in the country.2


The first organ was built in 1877 at a cost of £1,200 by Bishop & Son, London and stood on the floor of the right choir transept with a reversed console standing behind the choir.3  Here it was said to sound magnificent, with ample height and space, and J.E. Dodd eulogised its tonal excellence.  This instrument was moved in 1930 to St Augustine’s Church, Unley, where further details may be found in this book.

The present organ was built by William Hill & Son and Norman & Beard Ltd, of London and Melbourne.  The 1928 contract price was stated to be £7,197 and the English job number was 27274, Australian job number 21.  The specification (incorporating all of the stop names in the original Bishop organ) was developed in association with the consultant A.E.H. Nickson FRCO, organist of St Peter’s Church, Melbourne.5  This was one of the three major Australian organs that the firm contracted to build at the end of the 1920s, the other two being at Melbourne Town Hall (parts subsumed into new instrument 1999-2000) and the Presbyterian Assembly Hall, Sydney (now in the Memorial Hall, Scotch College, Melbourne).  The firm’s partner G.A. Wales Beard negotiated the contracts and was the managing director of the firm in Melbourne before his return to Britain in the early 1930s.

 



St Peter’s Anglican Cathedral, North Adelaide :

unexecuted case design by Walter Bagot

(Roger Lewis)

Initial plans were for the organ to be divided on either side of the choir, but in the end the more economical solution of a single location in the left-hand choir transept, was adopted. The detached console was placed in a newly-built loft adjacent to the pipework; constructed in oak, the stop jambs are attractively panelled and resemble those in the former organ at Melbourne Town Hall and at Peterborough Cathedral, in Britain.Walter Bagot, the Cathedral’s architect at the time, prepared plans for a splendid carved case, but this could not proceed owing to cost; in 1963, the base of this was completed.It is of interest that the central pipes of the two towers have double mouths facing at right angles to one another.

The organ was dedicated on 6 July 1930 and remains largely unaltered from the original, testimony to the excellence of its original construction. Only two minor, but significant, tonal additions have been made in 1989 by George Stephens, but all of the original pipework survives in its original location. The instrument sounds particularly well in the building as a result of the resonant acoustic, highly favourable to organ music. Plans are currently being developed for its full restoration.


 

 


The specification is:

Great
Double Open Diapason
Open Diapason No.1
Open Diapason No.2
Claribel Flute
Corno Dolce
Principal
Harmonic Flute
Quint Flute
Fifteenth
Sesquialtera 17.19.22
Mixture 15.19.22.26.29
Trumpet
Clarion
Swell to Great
Swell Suboctave to Great
Swell Octave to Great
Choir to Great
Choir Suboctave to Great
Choir Octave to Great
Solo to Great
Solo Suboctave to Great
Solo Octave to Great
Great Pistons to Pedal Combinaton

Swell
Lieblich Bourdon
Open Diapason
Rohr Flöte
Viol d'Orchestre
Voix Celeste (TC)
Principal
Flute
Fifteenth
Mixture 12.17.19
Contra Fagotto
Cornopean
Oboe
Clarion
Suboctave
Octave
Unison Off
Tremulant
Solo to Swell

Choir
Gedeckt
Gamba
Unda Maris (TC)
Suabe Flute
Salicet
Harmonic Piccolo
Clarinet
Orchestral Oboe
Suboctave
Octave
Unison Off
Tremulant
Swell to Choir
Swell Octave to Choir
Solo to Choir

Solo
Harmonic Flute
Violoncello
Salicional
Harmonic Flute
Vox Humana
Tuba
Clarion
Suboctave
Octave
Unison Off
Tremulant

Pedal
Double Open Diapason
Open Diapason
Contra Bass
Bourdon
Violoncello
Bass Flute
Contra Trombone
Trombone
Trumpet
Great to Pedal
Swell to Pedal
Choir to Pedal
Solo to Pedal

16
8
8
8
8
4
4
2-2/3
2
III
V
8
4









Levers


16
8
8
8
8
4
4
2
III
16
8
8
4







8
8
8
4
4
2
8
8









8
8
8
4
8
8
4






32
16
16
16
8
8
32
16
8





B









Added 1989 George Stephens













All ranks have an extra octave of pipes for use with the Octave coupler



















Enclosed together with the Solo
















Enclosed together with the Choir





Unenclosed
Unenclosed








B



A - Added 1989 George Stephens
A







Accessories
6 thumb pistons to Great (5 fixed, 1 adjustable)
6 thumb pistons to Swell (5 fixed, 1 adjustable)
4 thumb pistons to Choir (3 fixed, 1 adjustable)
4 thumb pistons to Solo (3 fixed, 1 adjustable)
5 combination pedal levers for Swell (duplicating thumb pistons)
4 combination pedal levers for Pedal (3 fixed, 1 adjustable)
Great to Pedal reversible thumb piston
Swell to Pedal reversible thumb piston
Solo to Great reversible thumb piston

Pedal Stops to Great Combination Pedals (this label is misleading, it should read: Great Pistons to Pedal Combination Levers - as there are insufficient pedal levers, these cover Great pistons 1 to 3 only).
Five separate Adjuster buttons, one for each division: to set a piston, draw the stops for that division then press the appropriate Adjuster button.

Compass: 61/32







Photos: MQ & TB













1930 Hill, Norman & Beard brochure and photos taken c.1930 (JRM)














Five photos above: Simon Colvin (Jan 2010)