St John's Lutheran Church

Roderick Street, Ipswich

British Pianoforte Depot Ltd., 1911,
for St Andrew's Presbyterian (subsequently Uniting) Church, Tamworth, NSW
Installed in present location with addition 1996 H.W. Jarrott, Brisbane
2 manuals, 11 speaking stops, mechanical & tubular-pneumatic action

St John's Lutheran Church, Ipswich
[Photograph by Trevor Bunning (November 2011)]


Historical and Technical Documentation by Geoffrey Cox
© OHTA 1998, 2011, 2017 (last updated August 2017)1

The congregation of St John's was organised in 1860, meeting initially in the nearby Church of England Sunday School, but they were able to erect their own brick church in 1864.Preliminary plans for a new church were submitted in 1951 by the distinguished architect Dr Karl Langer, but the present church was not opened and dedicated until 21 May 1961.3

The organ was installed in 1996, having been purchased second-hand. It was built in 1910-11 by the British Pianoforte Depot Ltd of Sydney for St Andrew's Presbyterian (subsequently Uniting) Church, Tamworth, NSW. The British Pianoforte Depot had commenced trading under this name in Sydney around 1891. From around 1909, the firm began to manufacture organs in Sydney, and these instruments were associated with Frederick Ernst Ladegast, an immigrant German organbuilder who had arrived in Australia in 1883. Ladegast was the son of the famous nineteenth-century German organbuilder, Johann Frederick Ladegast, whose organs were championed by Franz Liszt.4 Trading under the name of the British Pianoforte Depot Ltd, the younger Ladegast built at least nine organs in New South Wales, as well as building and re-building several other organs under his own name.5

The British Pianoforte Depot organ
in St Andrew's Presbyterian Church, Tamworth
[Photograph by David Evans (1984),
supplied by Richard Ward for OHTA News (April 2011)]

The organ was dedicated in Tamworth on 28 May 1911, and the opening recital was given by Ladegast himself.6 John Stiller observed that the Swell Voix Celestes pipes were made in Germany. The bellows were re-leathered by Roger H. Pogson shortly before 1985. The instrument retains its functional case (of polished kauri) and other original components, including console fittings.7

[Photograph by Howard Baker (September 1998)]

The British Pianoforte Depot organ
at St John's Lutheran Church, Ipswich
[Photograph by David Grieve,
supplied by Richard Ward for OHTA News (April 2011)]

The organ was installed in its present location by H.W. Jarrott of Brisbane, and opened in November 1996 with an organ recital played by Walter Noller and Peter Krenske, and a service of re-dedication at which the organist was Freida Reuther.8 H.W. Jarrott refurbished the instrument and added a Fifteenth 2ft stop to the Swell Organ. Apart from this there has been no other major alteration, although the formerly operable hand-blowing apparatus was dismantled in 1996.9

Console of the British Pianoforte Depot organ
at St John's Lutheran Church, Ipswich
[Photographs by Trevor Bunning (November 2011)]

Organbuilder Bert Jarrott at the console in 1996
[Photograph supplied by his grandson, Tom Anderson]



Open Diapason
Stopped Diapason

Violin Diapason
Lieblich Gedact
Voix Celestes
Flute Harmonique


Swell to Great
Swell to Pedal
Great to Pedal
Swell Octave




[gvd bass]

[gvd bass]

[Tenor C]


Compass: 56/30
Mechanical action (manuals)
Pneumatic action (pedals & façade pipes)
Pedalboard: parallel & concave
Balanced swell pedal
2 toe pistons to Great.10

Stop Jambs of the organ
[Photographs by Trevor Bunning (November 2011)]



1 The documentation presented here is based on that provided in the 21st Annual OHTA Conference Book (1998). Further details can be found in: Richard Ward, 'The Historic Organ in St John's Lutheran Church, Ipswich, Qld,' OHTA News, vol. 35, no. 2 (April 2011), pp. 18-23.

2 F. Otto Theile, One Hundred Years of the Lutheran Church in Queensland (Brisbane: UELCA, 1938), pp. 230-31.

3 'History of St John's Lutheran Church, Ipswich' at - accessed October 2011.

4 Graeme Rushworth, Historic Organs of New South Wales: The Instruments, Their Makers and Players, 1791-1940 (Sydney: Hale & Iremonger, 1988), pp. 149-153.

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

6 Tamworth Daily Observer (27 May 1911), p. 2, (30 May 1911), p. 2, (3 June 1911), p. 4 - cited in Rushworth, op. cit., p. 447.

7 John Stiller, Detailed Documentation: St Andrew's Uniting Church, Tamworth, NSW (Camberwell, Vic: Organ Historical Trust of Australia, 1985).

8 The Organ Voice, vol. 23, no. 2 (June 1997), p. 19.

9 Personal communication to G. Cox from H.W. Jarrott, July 1998. Ward, op. cit. reported incorrectly that the Fifteenth 2ft stop was added to the Great.

10 Stiller, op. cit.

[Photograph by Trevor Bunning (November 2011)]