Carngham Uniting (Presbyterian) Church

Main Street, Carngham

Built 1893-94 Fincham & Hobday; renovated 1996 Leighton Turner
2 manuals, 11 speaking stops, 5 couplers, tubular-pneumatic action

From the 1994 OHTA conference book ‘Vintage Victoriana: the XVIIth annual conference of the Organ Historical Trust of Australia’ prepared by John Maidment, p.36


This impressive bluestone church was built in 1892-93 and was wholly endowed as a memorial to the squatter The Hon Philip Russell (1822-1892). It cost more than £10,00 to build, a phenomenal sum at the time.

The architect was J.J. Jackson, of Beaufort, and D. Brown the builder; the design was modelled upon that of The Scot’s Church, Melbourne.

The main façade is flanked by a tower and spire on one side and a porch on the other. The spacious interior focusses upon the apse and a large Oamaru stone pulpit with Gothic traceried panels. The pews are of carved blackwood, of unusual thickness, while a panelled dado lines the walls. The elaborate four-light window at the rear is an early example of the work of Brooks, Robinson & Co., clearly showing the influence of the English firm of Clayton & Bell.

The organ, sited to the left of the pulpit, was built by Fincham & Hobday at a cost of £320 and opened on 30 January 1894. It remains largely intact, retaining its original console, tubular-pneumatic action, polished blackwood cases, ornately diapered façade pipes and slider-less windchests, possibly the last of this design to survive. This was among the final organs built by the firm before the great 1890s financial depression that curtailed its Australian work until the end of the decade. In 1897 Arthur Hobday, who would have designed and voiced the organ, departed for New Zealand and the style of the firm’s instruments irrevocably changed. Renovation work was carried out by Leighton Turner in 1986. At some stage a protective cover was fitted over the organ.

Gt. Open Dia
Gt. Claribel
Gt. Dulciana
Gt. Principal
Gt. Fifteenth
Sw. to Gt. Sub
Swell to Great
Sw. to Gt. Super

Sw. Violin Dia.
Sw. Gedact
Sw. Gamba
Sw. Flute
Sw. Oboe

Ped. Bourdon
Great to Pedal
Swell to Pedal





Compass: 56/30
3 thumb pistons to Great
Trigger swell lever
Attached drawstop console with roll top cover
Tubular-pneumatic action

100 Years: the centenary of the laying of the foundation stone of the Carngham Uniting Church Snake Valley, November 1892-November 1992. Carngham: the church, 1992.

E.N. Matthews, Colonial Organs and Organbuilders. Carlton: Melbourne University Press, 1969, p.164

Photos: Trevor Bunning (Oct 2009)