Christ Church Anglican Church
Denham Street, Hawthorn
First organ, B 1855 J.W. Walker, London;
rem c1875; present loc unknown. 1m, 5spst, pedal pulldowns, tr. Man: 8.8 divided.8.4.2.
Present organ, B 1876 Alfred Hunter, London; res 1968 Hill, Norman & Beard (o/n V742);
ren. c1983 George Fincham & Sons. 2m, 19spst, 3c, tr.
Gt: 8.8 divided.188.8.131.52-2/3.2.III.8. Sw: 184.108.40.206.4.2.II.8.8. Ped: 16.
The initial parts of Christ Church were erected in 1853-54 to the design of Charles Vickers. Later additions were made in 1873 (chancel and temporary organ chamber) and in 1886 (extension of nave and addition of north transept). The current organ chamber was erected in 1897 and vestries were added in 1953. The church was constructed in bluestone in an Early-English Gothic idiom and has a small bellcote to the left of the main facade. The interior fittings include a richly carved chancel screen and fine stained glass, particularly a three-light window in the south transept by John Hardman & Sons that is very similar stylistically to the west windows in St Patrick's Cathedral, Melbourne and Holy Trinity Church, Coleraine.
The first organ was built by J.W. Walker, London in 1855 as the firm's job number 536, and was ordered by Charles J. Latrobe Esq, 33 Ely Place, Holborn. This was a single manual instrument of five stops and cost £112-12-0. It was erected on a gallery at the rear of the church, but was sold in 1876 for £120; its present location is unknown and it is likely to have been either been broken up or subsumed into a larger instrument.
Stop Diapason Bass
Stop Diapason Treble
to Gamut G 8 47 pipes
to 4 foot C 8 42 pipes
Compass from GG to F in alt including GG#
One octave & half of German Pedals GG to D
Two composition pedals to bring on –
1st Open & Stop Diapn Bass & Treble & Dulciana
2nd Full power
The whole enclosed in a neat Deal Gothic case, stained & varnished with gilt pipes in the front,- abt 10ft high 6ft 6in wide & 4ft deep
The present organ was built in 1876 by Alfred Hunter, 379, Kennington Rd., London and was opened on 12 September 1877. The total cost was £495. It is unclear why Hunter was chosen to build the organ although he and George Fincham worked together at J.C. Bishop's factory in London. However, the organ was installed by William Anderson, so this connection may be tenuous.
Stopped Diap Bass
Swell to Great
Sw Double Diapason
Sw Open Diapason
Sw Stopped Diapason
Great to Pedals
Swell to Pedals
added 1877: probably 15.19.22
added 1877 [Clarionette 8ft]
formerly on Great
added 1877: probably 19.22
3 composition pedals
Tremulant by trigger pedal (original swell pedal)
Balanced swell pedal
Attached drawstop console
The organ was restored in 1968 by Hill, Norman & Beard (Australia) Pty Ltd, who replaced the Hunter strip music desk with a solid oak desk and painted out the original pipe stencilling, evident in a photograph taken c.1966, also filling the openings on either side of the central flat with bronze mesh. In around 1983 George Fincham & Sons Pty Ltd carried out a renovation.
This organ sadly is placed in a deeply recessed organ chamber where much of the sound fails to escape into the nave from where it is invisible. The choruses are complete up to Mixtures that only contain quints and unisons, and the Cornopean adds a great deal to the full sound. The casework, too, is highly distinctive, and is possibly architect-designed; it has prominent pierced transom rails and an unusual pierced frieze above the console, the design of the latter being copied by William Anderson on a number of his instruments.
Victorian Churches, edited by Miles Lewis. East Melbourne: National Trust of Australia (Victoria), p.73
E.N. Matthews, Colonial Organs and Organbuilders. Carlton: Melbourne University Press, 1969, pp.136-137.
Information from the order books of J.W. Walker, courtesy of J.W.Walker & Sons Ltd, Brandon, Suffolk
The Argus, 13 September 1877, p.5
18 November 2010
Photos: John Maidment (Nov 2010)