Former Methodist (subsequently Uniting) Church

Lutwyche Road, Lutwyche

Whitehouse Bros, Brisbane, 1949
Removed to storage c.1994 at Sandgate,
and c.1999 at Residence of Donald Backstrom, Kedron
2 manuals, 8 speaking stops, tubular-pneumatic action

Lutwyche Methodist Church, c.1925
[Photograph: John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland]


Historical and Technical Documentation by Geoffrey Cox
© OHTA 2012, 2016 (last updated April 2016)

Methodist worship in Lutwyche began in 1873 with a few people meeting in a private house, and the first Methodist Church building was opened in 1874.1 The foundation stone of the new brick church was laid in April 1924, and the building was opened and dedicated on Saturday 9 August of the same year.2 The church was closed around 1994 and sold to the Christadelphians.

The musical needs of the congregation were at first met by a two-manual Estey reed organ, which can be seen in a photograph of the C.E. Alumni Banquet attended by the Lord Mayor of Greater Brisbane, Alderman W.A. Jolly, C.M.G., on 16 April 1928.

Interior of Lutwyche Methodist Church,
C.E. Alumni Banquet, 16 April 1928
[Photograph supplied to David Vann by Beres McCallum,
Secretary of the Windsor District Historical Society (October 2013)]

The records of Whitehouse Bros refer to "supplying & fixing vacuum blower" in November 1929,3 "overhauling & tuning 2 Manual Estey reed organ" in October 1942, and various references to overhauling "portable" organ between 1943 and 1949.4

The pipe organ for this church was completed in 1949 by Whitehouse Bros of Brisbane at a cost of £1,389.18.0, the specification having been drawn up in September 1947.5 Special services on Sunday 13 February 1949 included the dedication of the new pipe organ, with music by the choir and visiting organists:

11 a.m. Rev. D. S. Brumwell. O.B.E.,
assisted by Rev. G. E. Holland.
Unveiling Honour Plaque, and Dedication New Pipe Organ
and Church Improvements. Music by Choir.
3 p.m. GRAND CHORAL SERVICE by Lutwyche Methodist Choir.
Organ solos by Miss Margery Horn.
7.15 p.m.: The President of Conference, Rev. R. S. C. Dingle.
Music by the Choir. Special Offerings at all Services.
Tuesday Night, 8 p.m., Special musical programme by
Mr. Will Stay, L.R.S.M.6

This was one of the last of the firm's standardised pneumatic-action organs, which they had built from the early 1910s onwards, using cone-pallet chests and featuring 'inclined-block type' stop tabs placed in a row above the upper manual. The specification is identical with that of the organs for the Methodist Church, Morningside (1947) and the Methodist Church, Chermside (1950), and one stop smaller than at Toowoomba Preparatory School (1949). The duplexing of the Swell string stop on the Great Organ had been a common feature on these instruments from the early 1930s onwards, although these later instruments used the same name 'Salicional' for both stops. The stop tabs on this organ were spaced so as to allow for further stops to be added.

Open Diapason

Violin Diapason


Swell to Great
Swell to Pedal
Great to Pedal
Swell to Great Super




[from Swell]


Swell tremulant
Attached stop-tab console
Balanced swell pedal
Radiating-concave pedalboard
Tubular-pneumatic action
Compass: not recorded.7

The instrument was purchased by the Sandgate Uniting Church in 1994, and removed to storage at Deagon. Prior to this, the Sandgate congregation also purchased the 1966 Whitehouse organ from the Kedron (formerly Methodist) Church, and there were plans to amalgamate the two into a new instrument at the Deagon Worship Centre. These plans were never realised, and the Lutwyche organ was purchased instead by Mr Donald Backstrom of Kedron in 1999 with a view to installing it or having it rebuilt as a residence organ. The pipework and console of this instrument remain in storage at his residence in Kedron, although the pneumatic-action parts have been discarded.8


1 The Brisbane Courier (1 December 1923), p. 8; Russell Dundas, Lutwyche Methodist Church: Centenary Souvenir, 1874-1974 (Lutwyche, 1974).

2 The Brisbane Courier (28 April 1924), p. 10; The Brisbane Courier (9 August 1924), p. 24.

3 Whitehouse Bros Ledger (1922-1940), p. 488.

4 Whitehouse Bros Ledger (1940-1954), p. 308.

5 Whitehouse Bros Ledger (1940-1954), p. 318.

6 The Courier-Mail (12 February 1949), p. 10; The Courier-Mail (14 February 1949), p. 5; Dedication program, 'Lutwyche Methodist Church: War Memorial Services,' in scrapbooks of Miss Margery Horn, State Library of Queensland.

7 Specification from the Collected Specifications of Bernie Brohan (c.1952), with details of couplers confirmed by Mr W.N. Braid (organist), c.1974.

8 Personal communications to G. Cox by David Cahill, February 2003, and Simon Pierce, March 2003; Personal communication to G. Cox from Donald Backstrom, July 2012.