St Matthew's Anglican Church
Moses Street, Windsor

Johnson & Kinloch 1840, restored K. Smenge 1986 (2/10 mechanical)

St Matthew's is an important Georgian church, designed by the colonial architect Francis Greenway (formerly a convict who had been transported for forgery) and built in the years 1817-20 by convicts using sandstock bricks and sandstone on the site of an earlier church. Some indication of the importance attached to the church may be drawn from the gifts of a Bible and clock for the tower, presented by King George IV. In 1840 a gallery was built to house the pipe organ and a porch was added to the southern side. The dominant feature of this fine building is the square tower with an octagonal cupola. Internally, the fine joinery and coffered ceiling are notable. [1]

The 1840 Johnson & Kinloch organ which now stands in its original gallery position has the distinction of being the first "finger" organ built in Australia. A full description of the circumstances surrounding the construction of this historic organ is contained in Graeme Rushworth's book, Historic Organs of New South Wales (Hale & Iremonger 1988).

Simon Colvin 2007

Until the most recent work was undertaken, the principal changes made to the organ were:

a. In 1873 the Great Twelfth 2-2/3 was removed in favour of a Flute 4 and a Pedal Bourdon was added, played from a 25-note pedalboard. At this time a Gamba 8 was added on the slider originally left vacant for a Trumpet 8. At this time, or perhaps later, the Great compass was reduced from 66 to C and the front pipes were changed from a gilt finish to a richly-stencilled finish.
b. In 1896 the organ was moved from the gallery to a position on the floor in the south -east comer of the chancel.
c. Electric blowing was installed in 1952, and a renovation undertaken in 1972 by Ian D. Brown involved the extension of the Swell compass down to C using pipes operated by electric action. New stop-knobs were also fitted at this time.
d. Over the years the pipework has suffered considerably - numerous pipes had been stolen or replaced and tuning slides were fitted throughout. Many pipes had been transposed or shifted around.[2]

David Kinsela was appointed consultant to the church in 1982 and recommended that the contract for a complete reconstruction of the organ be awarded to Knud Smenge. This work was completed late in 1986. Smenge's work may be summarlsed as follows:

a. Complete overhaul of the soundboards making modifications as considered appropriate.
b. Restoration of the double-rise operation of the bellows.
c. Restoration of the console, extending the Great compass to GG and the installation of new drawstop domes with new engraving undertaken by Roger Jones of South Australia. These were copied from another organ by Johnson, c. 1845.
d. The replacement of original worn trackers with a completely new set. Other repairs and modifications were made to the action;
e. Repair of case with stencilled patterns being replaced with gold size and gold leaf;
f. Replacement of many original open metal pipes with new ones as old pipes were considered beyond repair. The two Open Diapasons and Great Principal 4 were completed using original pipes and cone tuning was restored with extra lengths being soldered for this purpose to a small number of pipes. A new Twelfth 2-2/3 to replace that which had been removed over a century ago was made by cutting down the added Swell string. New pipes were made for the Fifteenth 2, the Swell Principal 4 and the Trumpet 8. The wooden pipes were restored.[3]

The organ was returned to the gallery after the restoration and reconstruction. Although the work undertaken did not constitute an authentic restoration aimed at maximum retention of original parts, the work has successfully re-created an early 19th century character to the organ and made it a viable and pleasing Georgian styled musical instrument. A very substantial grant from the Heritage Council of New South Wales assisted in the project. The specification is as follows:

Open Diapason
Stop Diapason

Open Diapason
Stop Diapason





2 Couplers (Sw-Gt; Gt-Ped)
Great compass: 59 notes
Swell compass: 39 notes
Pedal compass: 25 notes
Mechanical action throughout [4]

1 Historical details supplied Keith Asboe, May 1988, using material from National Trust sources.
2 Rushworth, Historic Organs of NSW. pp.66-67.
3 David Kinsela, "The Restoration of the Organ at St Matthew's Windsor, NSW.", OHTA News Vol 11, No 3, July 1987, pp.12-25.
4 ibid

Photos: Trevor Bunning (July 2012)


Simon Colvin 2007

Simon Colvin 2007

Photo supplied by Peter Jewkes