The Methodist Church, Toowong, c.1910
[Photograph: John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland]
Historical and Technical Documentation by Geoffrey Cox
© OHTA 2011, 2013 (last updated May 2013)
The first organ in this church was built originally by B.B. Whitehouse & Co. of Brisbane for the Presbyterian Church, Toowong. The Whitehouse Bros List gave the date speculatively as 'about 1906,' but it can now be dated with certainty to October 1909, when the opening of the instrument at the Presbyterian Church was reported in The Brisbane Courier as follows:
The formal opening of the new organ, built for the Toowong Presbyterian Church by Messrs. Whitehouse and Co., of George-street, was held in the church last Thursday evening. The organist was Mr. Hermann Knapp, who rendered Mozart's "Andante, from Quartette in D Minor," Th. Salome's "Grand Choeur," Alex. Giulmant's "Canzone," F. Silas's "Andante in D," and "Festal March," by Batiste Calkin. Miss Minnie Norris sang "Consider the Lilies," and "Come Unto Me," and she was recalled on both occasions. Miss Manson sang "The Swallows," and "Love the Pedlar," and Mr. W. Blackstock (baritone) was heard in "Calvary" and "A Dream of Paradise." Mr. W. Cox Horan sang "Crossing the Bar," and the choir, under the leadership of Mr. C W. Scott, contributed two anthems, "Like as the Hart," and "The Lord is My Shepherd." There will be special musical services to-morrow, when Mr. Hermann Knapp will again officiate at the organ.1
This single-manual instrument appears to have been identical in size and appearance to the one completed by B.B. Whitehouse & Co. for Scots Presbyterian Church, Clayfield in 1907, which is now located at St Alban's Anglican Church, Toowoomba. Like other single-manual mechanical-actions organs built by the firm around this time, these instruments used divided stops to a greater or lesser extent.
There were repairs to the Toowong Presbyterian instrument by Whitehouse Bros: to the blowing apparatus in 1936 and to the pedal piston motors in 1939.2 An electric blower was supplied in 1940, and the organ was extensively overhauled in 1948.3 It was installed in the Methodist Church, Toowong, in 1959, when the original Presbyterian Church building was being replaced by a new one.4
The organ was removed from Toowong in 1975 by Walter Emerson of Toowoomba. Most of the original pipework found its way into instruments being built or enlarged by Emerson around this time.5 The console, soundboard, action, swell box, building frame and the bass octave of the Open Diapason 8ft were all restored and incorporated in 1976 by Les Rub of Toowoomba into the organ at St Matthew's Anglican Church, Drayton, near Toowoomba.
Console of the organ for the Presbyterian Church, Toowong (1909)
with minor modifications, now at St Matthew's Anglican Church, Drayton
[Photograph by Howard Baker (1990s)]
|MANUAL [compass divided at e'/f']
Open Diapason Bass
Open Diapason Treble
Dulciana [Ten. C]
Oboe Bass [Ten. C]
|COUPLERS (operated by pneumatic action with "ON" and "OFF" buttons)
Great to Pedal
Level swell pedal
Mechanical action (manuals, except for the façade pipes)
Pneumatic action (pedals and façade pipes)
Radiating concave pedalboard.6
The second organ at this church also arrived secondhand from another church, and has subsequently been rebuilt elsewhere. It was constructed originally in 1958 by Werner-Bosch of Sandershausen (near Kassel), W. Germany, and was situated in the Elizabeth Street (Brethren) Chapel, Wellington, New Zealand, prior to arrival in Brisbane. It had been advertised for sale early in 1974,7 and was installed in the Toowong church in mid 1975 by Walter Emerson of Toowoomba.8
Walter Emerson installing the Werner-Bosch organ at Toowong in 1975
[Photograph: The Sunday Mail (8 June 1975), p. 18]
Purchased and installed at the instigation of the then organist, Graeme Morton, the instrument was significant in Brisbane at the time as the first 'modern' tracker-action, neo-baroque organ. In this respect, it preceded those at Mayne Hall, University of Queensland (1976), the Conservatorium of Music (1980), and St Peter's Lutheran Church, Beenleigh (1983). The specification was as follows:
The original swell shutters were reportedly never installed at Toowong.10 A factory-produced instrument of early Orgelbewegung design, it was neither tonally or mechanically distinguished in the form in which it arrived in Brisbane. It was removed to Victoria in 1982, where it was rebuilt very successfully by Knud Smenge and installed in 1984 at St Mary's Anglican Church, North Melbourne.11
1 The Brisbane Courier (30 October 1909), p. 16.
2 Whitehouse Bros Ledger (1922-1940), p. 56.
3 Whitehouse Bros Ledger (1940-1954), pp. 342, 401.
4 Date supplied by Kevin Whitehouse from records of Whitehouse Bros, c.1972.
5 The Gedact 8ft, Oboe 8ft and Bourdon 16ft were added in 1976 by Walter Emerson to the organ at St Andrew's Presbyterian Church, Toowoomba. The Open Diapason 8ft (from Tenor C only) and the Dulciana 8ft were incorporated by Emerson in 1980 into the organ at Peace Lutheran Church, Gatton (Personal communications to G. Cox from Walter Emerson, c.1980, and Leslie W. Rub, June 2003).
6 Collected Organ Specifications of Bernie Brohan (c.1952); Notebooks of Mr E.R. Salisbury; Details of divided compass supplied by Graeme Morton (organist), 1972.
7 The Sydney Organ Journal, vol. 5, no. l (January 1974), p. 3.
8 The Sunday Mail (8 June 1975), p. 18; Personal communication to G. Cox from Walter Emerson, 14 May 1975.
9 Specification supplied by Graeme Morton, August 1974.
10 Ron Mackay, 'The Werner-Bosch Organ at St. Mary's Anglican Church, North Melbourne,' Organ News [The New Zealand Association of Organists], vol. 34, no. 3 (November 1998), pp. 63-65.
11 David Agg, 'The New Organ for St. Mary's Anglican Church, North Melbourne,' Victorian Organ Journal (February 1984), pp. 11-13.