Majestic Theatre

Factory Street, Pomona

Installed 1982 Ron West
incorporating console and pipework from various sources
Additions c.1990
2 manuals, 7 ranks extended & percussion, electro-pneumatic action

The Majestic Theatre, Pomona
[Photograph by Howard Baker (October 1989)]


Historical and Technical Documentation by Geoffrey Cox
© OHTA 1989, 2012 (last updated September 2012)

Situated at the base of Mount Cooroora some 150 km north of Brisbane, Pomona was established as a small timber and dairy town in the late nineteenth century. The Majestic Theatre was opened in 1921 as a multi-purpose hall in what was then the centre of the town, and boasts the distinction that it has been operating continuously since that time. A supper room, which now houses the organ chamber, was added in 1925. The building now functions as a tourist attraction, providing a rare opportunity to experience the cinema organ fulfilling its intended role of accompanying silent movies.

Poster for the silent movie 'The Son of the Sheik'
[Photograph by Howard Baker (October 1989)]

The organ is a composite instrument, the core of which (comprising three ranks and percussion) was installed at Pomona in 1981-82 by Ron West for The Queensland Cinema Organ Cultural Trust.1 It had been purchased from the A.C.T. Division of the Theatre Organ Society of Australia, who, in turn, had acquired it in 1974 from the Seventh Day Adventist Church, Patterson Street, in the Sydney suburb of Concord.2

Already in the form in which the organ had existed for more than twenty years at Concord, it was to some extent a composite instrument: The console (a 2-manual Wurlitzer) was once thought to have come from the Strand Theatre, Hobart, Tasmania, but is now believed to be from the 7-rank Wurlitzer installed in 1923 by J.E. Dodd at the Hoyt's De Luxe (later Empire) Theatre, Melbourne. Even so, its keyboards, stop-keys and internal mechanisms are not original.3 The pipework and chests, on the other hand, came from the 9-rank Christie organ installed at the Empire (St James) Theatre, Dunedin, New Zealand in 1928.4 The Swell shutters (stamped 'ECHO') were made originally for the unused echo chamber of the Wurlitzer organ installed by Dodd at the Prince Edward Theatre, Sydney in 1923.5

The Wurlitzer Console, incorporation keyboards,
stop-keys and internal mechanisms from various instruments
[Photograph by Howard Baker (October 1989)]

The action of the organ is electro-pneumatic, with the console on the left-hand side of the auditorium. The pipework is installed in the former supper room, on the right-hand side. The ranks and percussion installed in the early 1980s were as follows:

Christie (1928):


Violin Diapason
Tibia Plena [marked "Tuba Plena"]
Viol Celeste (Ten. C)

Toy Counter.6
8, 4
16, 8, 4, 2-2/3, 2, 1-3/5
8, 4


Wurlitzer percussion ranks (Glockenspiel and Xylophone)
[Photograph by Howard Baker (October 1989)]

Around 1990 or later, four more ranks were added, these coming from the Gaumont Palace, Lewisham, England, with various other parts from other locations in England and the United States.7

Harrison (1892):


Oboe Horn

Vox Humana.8


There are plans eventually to add a second chamber on the left-hand side. Several further ranks, obtained from various sources, await installation.

In late February 2012, the theatre and organ were badly damaged in a freak storm, during which the theatre was flooded with six inches of water. Much of the mechanics of the organ, including the blower and rectifier, were destroyed. Repair work is in progress.9


1 Personal communication to G. Cox from Joseph W. Leggett, Chairman of The Queensland Cinema Organ Cultural Trust, c.1982-83.

2 John Maidment, Gazetteer of New South Wales Pipe Organs (Melbourne: Society of Organists (Victoria) Inc., 1981), s.v. 'Concord. Seventh Day Adventist Church'.

3 Ian McIver, 'Encyclopedia of Australian Theatre Organs' on website Theatre Organs under the Southern Cross [www.]. Date 1923 from 'List of J. E. Dodd contracts,' OHTA News, vol. 5, no. 2 (April 1981), p. 19.

4 Personal communication to J. Maidment from Terry Lloyd, Canberra (1980), cited in Maidment, 1981, op. cit.; Order No 9 in 'Hill, Norman & Beard Australian Orders,' cited in OHTA News, vol. 11, no. 2 (April 1987), p. 20.

5 McIver, op. cit; Maidment, 1981, op. cit., s.v. 'Marrickville. Town Hall'; Date 1923 from 'List of J. E. Dodd contracts,' OHTA News, vol. 5, no. 2 (April 1981), p. 19.

6 McIver, op. cit.

7 Ron West, in brochure 'West's Majestic Theatre' (1999)

8 Ron West, cited in McIver, op. cit.

9 Personal communication to G. Cox from Robyn Jones, Majestic Theatre, September 2012.