St Saviour's Anglican Church

119 Young Street, Redfern

FIRST ORGAN: J.W. Walker, London, 1857, for the Royal Victoria Theatre, Pitt Street, Sydney (Job no 582)
1 manual, 13 speaking stops, 1 coupler, mechanical action
Installed 1858 in the School of Arts, Pitt Street, Sydney
Installed 1867 St Peter's Anglican Church, East Sydney
Removed 1880 to Sunday School Hall at St Peter's Church, East Sydney
Purchased 1886 and installed in this location
Removed c.1911

SECOND ORGAN: W.E. Richardson & Sons, Manchester
Installed 1911 Charles Richardson, Sydney
3 manuals, 24 speaking stops, 8 couplers, tubular-pneumatic action
Removed and broken up 1979

St Saviour's Anglican Church, Redfern

Historical and Technical Documentation by Graeme Rushworth
© OHTA 2006, 2016 (last updated September 2016)1

This polychrome brick church was designed by architects A. and C. Blacket in the Romanesque Revival style and built in 1885. A chancel was added in 1889. The building was damaged by a gale in 1910 but repaired and reopened in 1911.2

First Organ.

The first organ in this church was built by J.W. Walker of London in 1857 (Job no 582) to the order of the Royal Victoria Theatre, Pitt Street, Sydney. The full details recorded in the Walker order book and ledger are as follows:


Open Diapason Bass
Open Diapason
Stop Diapason
Dulciana TC – then run into Stopped Diapason, 49 pipes
Trumpet – 7 upper notes languid pipes
Clarion – 19 upper notes languid pipes
Flute – TC, metal 49 pipes
Hautboy, Fid G – 7 upper notes languid pipes
Bourdon Pedals C to E, 17 pipes
Posaunne, 17 pipes
Coupler, Keys to Pedals

C Compass, 61/17; 4 composition pedals; concussion bellows; double feeders; spotted metal pipes; Stained Deal Case; Gilt speaking Pipes in front; Styrong Rollers to shift organ backwards and forwards; keys not too long and carefully made not to warp; paint Bourdon pipes; ship in a first class vessel – stowed in the hold between Decks and away from the Pumps and Hatches.3

This interesting and unusual organ was moved a remarkable number of times, to at least nine locations! Upon arrival in Sydney, it was installed in the Sydney Mechanics School of Arts, Pitt Street, during February-March 1858. It was opened by William John Cordner, organist and choirmaster of St. Mary's Cathedral, in a concert of sacred music on 4 March:

CONCERT OF SACRED MUSIC. - Mr. C. Chizlett, last evening, gave a concert of music, at the School of Arts, when the new organ was opened by Mr. Cordner. The former more powerful instrument has been removed to the Pitt-street Congregational Chapel; but the new one, though only a chamber instrument, is of large size, and its capacity of tone would also suit a larger building. It was built by Walker, and, comprising fourteen stops (all enclosed in a swell), is a very effective one. There is, besides, a posaune stop attached to the pedals, which gives a richness to the bass and modifies the shrillness of the treble tones. Some of the reed stops when used judiciously in obligate accompaniments have a very good quality; but when the instrument was played to its full power, a metallic sound was apparent. Of course it is difficult to give a very confident opinion upon an instrument which had been tuned but half an hour prior to the commencement of the concert, and after an occasion which did not afford full opportunity for display. The programme included in its first part selections from various composers of sacred harmony; and the second part comprised some of the choicest portions of the Messiah. The execution, probably from the newness of the instrument by which it was accompanied, was not so good as that noticed when a week ago a similar programme was performed by the same choir, yet it appeared to give much gratification to the audience.4

In 1859, the organ was removed briefly to the Great Hall, University of Sydney, for use in the Sydney University Musical Festival held in July that year.5 At the conclusion of the Festival, it was bought by the Sydney Vocal Harmonic Society and moved to the Infants' Schoolroom, Castlereagh Street, Sydney. There, it was used by the Society for the first time on 15 September, played by Charles Packer in a performance of Handel's Judas Maccabeus, conducted by John Cordner.6

The Sydney Vocal Harmonic Society removed its organ to the 'new' Freemasons' Hall, where its first concert was given on 9 May 1861 with organist William Stanley.7 The last concert of the Society was a presentation of Handel's Messiah on 20 December 1861. The 'whole of the effects' of the Society (including the organ) were acquired early in 1862 by the Sydney Philharmonic Society.8

In 1866, the organ was moved to the Prince of Wales Theatre, Castlereagh Street, Sydney, where it was erected on the stage by John Kinloch.9 It was purchased in 1867 by St Peter's Anglican Church, Wooloomooloo (subsequently East Sydney),10 where it remained until it was displaced in 1880 by a new Hele & Co. organ. The Walker organ was relocated at this time to the Sunday School hall at St Peter's.11

The organ remained in the Sunday School hall at St Peter's, East Sydney, until July 1886, when it was sold to St Saviour's Anglican Church, Redfern.12 A photo of the interior of St Saviour's of c.1890 shows the Walker organ outside the first bay on the south side of the chancel. The case is Walker's 'Classical' style.13 The Walker organ was displaced at St Saviour's in 1911 when a new organ from W.E. Richardson was installed. It was advertised for sale in July 1911 as follows:

ORGAN, suitable for Church, Concert Hall, or Theatre. Offers wanted for immediate purchase
of Organ in St. Saviour's Ch., Redfern. This instrument to be removed at once to make room for the new
organ. Particulars from C. RICHARDSON and CO., Organ Builders, Church-hill, Sydney.14

The Walker organ has not been traced further.

Second Organ.

The second organ at St Saviour's was built by W.E. Richardson & Sons of Manchester, and installed in 1911 by his son Charles Richardson of Sydney.15

The specification appears to be that given in the Musical Opinion and Music Trade Review (1 December 1910) as follows:

SYDNEY, Australia – Specification of an organ shipped by Messrs. W. E. Richardson & Sons to Messrs. Charles Richardson & Co.:-

Double open diap.
Large open diap.
Small open diap.

Contra gamba
Open diapason
Stopped diapason
Viole d'orchestre
Voix céleste
Geigen principal

Rohr gedackt
Suabe flöte
Orchestral oboe

Grand open diap.
Bass flute

Swell to great
Swell to great super
Swell to great sub
Swell to choir
Swell to pedal
Choir to great
Great to pedal
Choir to pedal


III ranks




Tubular pneu. action
Detached console
Blown by an electric motor.16

The organ was broken up in 1979.17 Some of the parts are believed to have been used by G. Kendall.18



1 Most of the documentation presented here first appeared in Graeme D. Rushworth, A Supplement to Historic Organs of New South Wales: The Instruments, Their Makers and Players, 1791-1940 (Camberwell: Organ Historical Trust of Australia, 2006), p. 68, 92.

2 Register of the National Estate, place ID 1779. Cited 31 August 2016 at

3 J.W. Walker order book, p. 224. [J.W. Walker & Sons Ltd, Brandon, Suffolk].

4 The Sydney Morning Herald (12 March 1858), p. 5. Another account appeared in The Empire (12 March 1858), p. 4, where is was described as 'a full-toned - powerful instrument, indeed almost too powerful for the size of the hall.'

5 The Sydney Morning Herald (27 June 1859), p. 5; (18 July 1859), p. 5.

6 The Sydney Morning Herald (24 September 1859) & (27 October 1859), p. 5; C.V. Nathan, 'Notes on Sydney Vocal Harmonic Society,' p. 2 [Mitchell Library, Sydney, DOC 2990].

7 The Sydney Morning Herald (30 April 1861), p. 1; (8 May 1861), p. 5.

8 Nathan, 'Notes,' ibid., p. 9.

9 The Sydney Morning Herald (24 March 1866), p. 12.

10 The Sydney Morning Herald (5 August 1867), p. 4; (6 August 1867), p. 5; Seventy-Five Years! A History of St Peter's Church of England 75th Anniversary 1867-1942, p. 21.

11 Seventy-Five Years!, op. cit., p. 22.

12 Loc. cit., p. 22; Australian Christian World (8 October 1866), p. 438.

13 The Mitchell Library, Sydney - Small Picture File.

14 The Sydney Morning Herald (28 July 1911), p. 3; (29 July 1911), p. 6.

15 Graeme D. Rushworth, A Supplement to Historic Organs of New South Wales, op. cit., p. 37.

16 Musical Opinion and Music Trade Review (1 December 1910), p. 175.

17 Graeme Rushworth, Historic Organs of New South Wales (Sydney: Hale & Iremonger, 1988), pp. 327, 329;

18 John Maidment, Gazetteer of New South Wales Pipe Organs (Melbourne: Society of Organists (Vic) Inc., 1981).