[Photograph by Geoffrey Cox (July 2011)]
Historical and Technical Documentation by Geoffrey Cox
© OHTA 1989, 2011 (last updated August 2011)
The Lutheran presence in Queensland dates back to the establishment of a Lutheran mission at Nundah in 1838, where German settlers were given an area of land they called 'Zion's Hill.'1 The congregation now known as St Andrew's was formed in 1858, following the arrival of Pastor Schirmeister at the German mission in the previous year. The first church on the present site was opened in December 1861 - a wooden structure dedicated as 'Bethlehem' Church. It was replaced in 1882 by a small brick and stone-veneer building, dedicated as 'St Andreas.' The church was slightly enlarged in 1911.2 St Andrew's was host to the first Convention of the Evangelical Lutheran Synod of Queensland following its formation in 1885,3 and became part of the United Evangelical Church in Australia in 1921.
The 1882 St Andreas Church, enlarged in 1911
[Photograph from F. Otto Theile, One Hundred Years of the
Lutheran Church in Queensland (1938), p. 186]
Following the merger in 1975 of the St Andrew's congregation with that of the Bethlehem Lutheran Church, Fortitude Valley, which had separated from St Andrew's in 1928, the present building was opened on Palm Sunday, 11 April 1976. Designed by architect Barry Walduck, it incorporates the Martin Luther stained-glass window that came from Germany in 1911 for the previous church.4
The organ in the second St Andrew's Church was built in 1911 by E.F. Walcker & Co., Ludwigsburg-Württ, Germany (Opus 1636).5 It was dedicated on 23 June 1912, and the first professional organist, Mr Erich John from Germany, was appointed at the start of the following month. A church brass band that had been formed in 1907 also remained in force, though it was disbanded on account of the outbreak of war in 1914.6
The 1911 Walcker organ in the former St Andrew's Church
[Photograph supplied by Sigfried Monz, c.1974]
The Walcker organ was installed without alteration in the gallery of the present church building when it was opened in 1976. It remained there until 1990, when it was removed to Melbourne, and has since been installed in a private residence in Ballarat, Victoria.
The present organ, built and installed in the gallery of the church in 1990 by Knud Smenge of Melbourne, is known as the 'Bethlehem Memorial Organ' in recognition of the formerly separate congregation of Bethlehem Lutheran Church. This was Knud Smenge's second organ in Queensland, following the earlier one at St Peter's Lutheran Church, Beenleigh. It was his first instrument in Brisbane. The case is of Blackwood, and the keyboards are finished in Bone (naturals) and Rosewood (sharps).
The 1990 Knud Smenge organ in the gallery of the present church
[Photographs by Howard Baker (1990s)]
II-Pedal 4' (Octave coupler)
Mechanical key and stop action
Tremulant to Brustwerk
Pedalboard: straight and concave
1 Pam Turner, First European Settlement of Queensland, 1838-1988 (Nundah: Zion Lutheran Home, 1987), p. 5.
2 Siegfried Monz, A Brief History of St Andrew's Church, Wickham Terrace, Brisbane 1858-1984 (unpubl. booklet, c.1988).
3 F. Otto Theile, One Hundred Years of the Lutheran Church in Queensland (Brisbane: UELCA, 1938), p. 47.
4 The Sunday Mail Colour Magazine (13 June 1976), pp. 24-25.
5 Details noted by G. Cox at the console, 1974.
6 Monz, op. cit.
7 Organ Society of Queensland Newsletter, vol. 18, no. 1 (August 1990), pp. 6-11; OHTA News, vol. 12, no. 2 (April 1988), p. 16.