New England Girls' School

Uralla Road, Armidale

Whitehouse Bros, Brisbane, 1936
2 manuals, 14 speaking stops (4 ranks extended), electro-pneumatic action
Addition 1947 Whitehouse Bros, Brisbane
Addition 1987 Peter D.G. Jewkes, Sydney
Additions 2000, 2016 and rebuilt 2016 Ian D. Brown & Associates, Ballina
2 manuals, 18 speaking stops (5 ranks extended & Sub Bass & Mixture), electric action




The Florence Green Memorial Chapel
at the New England Girls' School, Armidale
[Photograph by Trevor Bunning (September 2007)]



Historical and Technical Documentation by Geoffrey Cox
© OHTA 2013, 2016 (last updated November 2016)


The New England Girls' School is an Anglican school for girls, established in 1895 by Florence Emily Green. The Florence Green Memorial Chapel was opened and consecrated by the Rt Rev John Moyes, Bishop of Armidale, on 29 September 1936, St. Michael and All Angels Day. Cruciform in plan, it is built of Armidale 'Blue' brick, lined with brickwork of a lighter colour, and featuring beautiful interior woodwork of silky oak.1

The organ in the Florence Green Memorial Chapel was built in September 1936 by Whitehouse Bros of Brisbane at a cost of £957.7.6.2 An Oboe 8ft stop was added to the Swell by Whitehouse Bros in February 1947 at a cost of £210.7.6.3 This produced a specification of 14 speaking stops (4 ranks extended & independent Oboe), with electro-pneumatic action.4





The 1936 Whitehouse Bros organ
[Photographs by Trevor Bunning (September 2007)]

This was one of several 'extension' instruments built by the Whitehouse firm around this time, others being at St Andrew's Presbyterian Church, Bundaberg (1932), Holy Rosary Catholic Church, Bundaberg (1933), the Presbyterian Church, Ithaca (1933) and St James' Catholic Church, Forest Lodge, NSW (1934; installed c.1935). The Armidale instrument was unusual amongst these in that the Swell and Great were entirely independent, no stops being borrowed between the two. Typically, the action components, the console and console fittings were imported from Aug. Laukhuff of Weikersheim, W. Germany.5

The Whitehouse Bros firm was undoubtedly influenced in the building of these extension organs by their experience in maintaining two Wurlitzer theatre pipe organs that had been installed in Brisbane in the 1920s.6 The influence of the theatre organ is also evident in the use of stop-tongues (imported from Laukhuff) on this and other instruments.

The Swell Oboe 8ft was replaced in 1987 by Peter D.G. Jewkes Pty Ltd of Sydney with a Trumpet 8ft, the pipes having been imported from F.J. Rogers of Leeds. A new blower was also supplied at this time, and the Great windchest, which had suffered water damage, was repaired, the action being replaced with direct electric action. An independent 4-rank Mixture stop, using pipework from F.J. Rogers of Leeds, was added to the Great in 2000 by Ian D. Brown and Associates of Ballina, who at the same time extended the Trumpet to the Pedals. The bottom octave of the Pedal Trombone 16ft actually speaks at 5-1/3ft pitch, presumably intended to form a 'quint' with the Trumpet 8ft.7











Console details of the 1936 Whitehouse Bros organ as it existed before 2016
[Photographs by Trevor Bunning (September 2007)]

The instrument was entirely rebuilt in 2016 by Ian D. Brown and Associates of Ballina. The remaining windchests were converted to electric action and the console was fitted with new keyboards, new rocking tabs in place of the stop-keys, a generous supply of divisional and general thumb pistons, and a new capture system with ten memory levels. The console dimensions were standardised; the pedalboard was re-capped; the bellows re-leathered; and an independent Sub Bass 16ft stop was added to the Pedals.8

GREAT
Bourdon
Open Diapason
Stop Diapason
Flute
Principal
Fifteenth
Mixture

SWELL
Violin Diapason
Lieblich Gedact
Geigen Principal
Lieblich Flute
Flautina
Trumpet

PEDAL
Sub Bass
Bourdon
Bass Flute
Trombone
Trumpet

COUPLERS
Great to Pedal
Swell to Pedal
Swell to Great
Swell Sub Octave
Swell Super Octave
Swell Oct. to Great

16
8
8
4
4
2
IV


8
8
4
4
2
8


16
16
8
16
8









A
B
A
A
B
B



C
D
C
D
D
E



A
A
E
E









[Ten. C ?]





[2000]







[1987; originally Oboe, 1947]


[2016]


[2000; bottom octave actually sounding 5-1/3]
[2000]








[Swell] Tremulant
Originally 2 thumb pistons to Great
Originally 2 thumb pistons to Swell
Detached stop-key console
Electric action
Compass: 61/30
Balanced swell pedal
Pedalboard: radiating & concave.9



[Photograph by Trevor Bunning (September 2007)]

___________________________________________________________________

1 New England Girls' School website http://www.negs.nsw.edu.au - accessed May 2012.

2 Whitehouse Bros Ledger (1922-1940), p. 348.

3 Whitehouse Bros Ledger (1940-1954), p. 463.

4 Specification supplied by Peter Jewkes, April 1981, for John Maidment, Gazetteer of New South Wales Pipe Organs (Melbourne: Society of Organists (Vic), 1981).

5 John Maidment, 'The Development of the 'Unit' Organ in Australia,' OHTA News, vol. 26, no. 1 (January 2002), pp. 12-19; Personal communication to G. Cox from Peter Jewkes, February 2013.

6 These were at the Wintergarden Theatre and the Regent Theatre.

7 Personal communication to G. Cox from Peter Jewkes, February 2013. Additional information from [Ian Brown,] 'Off the Chest,' The Sydney Organ Journal, vol. 47, no. 4 (Spring 2016), pp. 38-39.

8 [Ian Brown,] 'Off the Chest,' The Sydney Organ Journal, vol. 47, no. 4 (Spring 2016), pp. 38-39.

9 Specification derived from Trevor Bunning photos, September 2007, and details supplied by Peter Jewkes, February 2013.