Museum of Old and New Art (MONA)

655 Main Road, Berriedale

B. 1847 J.C. Bishop, London for Bishop F.R. Nixon;
inst. Christ's College, Bishopsbourne and
later 'Bishopstowe', New Town (later 'Runnymede'),
the residence of Bishop F.R. Nixon
Inst. 1863 St Andrew's Presbyterian Church, Campbell Town
Rem 2009 and res 2010 Gibbs & Thomson
1m., 8, pedal pulldowns, tr.
Man: 8 divided.8 divided.8.8 divided.4.4 divided.2.8.
Carved blackwood case

Historical and Technical Documentation by John Maidment
© OHTA (last updated May 2011)

Museum of Old & New Art [photograph by John Maidment (April 2011)]

The Museum of Old and New Art (MONA) is a private art museum established by David Walsh on a splendid site on the banks of the River Derwent. The building was designed by leading Melbourne architects Fender Katsalidis and opened in January 2011. Many of the galleries are hewn out of solid rock and are underground. The art collection is among the most substantial private holdings in the country.1

The organ was installed in 2011 and has a long history. James Chapman Bishop, of London, built this instrument in 1847 to the order of Bishop F.R. Nixon. Graeme Rushworth's research has revealed:2

'From subsequent press reports it seems that the J.C. Bishop organ was not intended for Nixon's own use, but for Christ's College at Bishopsbourne, Norfolk Plains, near Launceston; on 11 March 1847 it was reported that "His Lordship has sent an organ to the College — one of Bishop's best."3 So far it has not proved possible to establish when or at which port the organ arrived, or if it went to Christ's College before it was installed at Nixon's residence 'Bishopstowe', now 'Runnymede', at New Town, Hobart, a National Trust property. However, the date of the press report precedes the date of the order in the firm's records, so it is possible that this may have been another Bishop organ (possibly one of the instruments now at Carrick or Cressy).'

On 26 November 1863, this organ was auctioned on the premises 'Bishopstowe' at New Town, Hobart.4 The organ was presented to St Andrew's Presbyterian Church, Campbell Town5 where it was preserved without essential alteration, although it appears from some stray supporting angel brackets that the Gothic case may have once been surmounted by a cornice. The Campbell Town church has now closed and the organ was removed in 2009 to storage at the National Trust property 'Clarendon', near Evandale, and it has since been restored by Gibbs & Thomson, of Hobart. They have been assisted in this work by Hans Meijer, of Launceston, who restored the reservoir and pipework, and Dennis Lake, of Launceston, who restored the blackwood casework, all under the direction of National Trust of Australia (Tasmania) conservator Linda Clark.6

Museum of Old & New Art [photograph by Trevor Bunning (April 2011)]

The J.C. Bishop estimate book has the following entry relating to this instrument:

April 30, 1847
Bishop of Tasmania

Estimate by J.C. Bishop to build an organ of the following description:

compass from GG to F in alt with GG#, and containing the following stops.

1. Open diap. bass to CC in metal, lower notes wd.
2. Open diap. treble
3. Clarabella treble
4. Stopt dia bass wood
5. Stopt diap treble metal
6. Dulciana treble
7. Dulciana bass
8. Flute bass to Tenor C open pipes and stopt to the bottom
9. Principal
10. Fifteenth
11. Hautboy to Fid. G
12. Flute treble

"bellows to feed double with compensation fold"

An octave and half of German pedals and five composition pedals.
Spotted metal pipework
General venetian swell
220 guineas erected at Lisson Grove5


Museum of Old & New Art: console details
[photograph by John Maidment (April 2011)]

Museum of Old & New Art: console details
[photograph by Trevor Bunning (April 2011)]

Museum of Old & New Art: J.C. Bishop nameplate
[photograph by Trevor Bunning (April 2011)]

Museum of Old & New Art: carved armorial bearings on casework
[photograph by Trevor Bunning (April 2011)]

Museum of Old & New Art: carved armorial bearings on casework
[photograph by Trevor Bunning (April 2011)]

1 'The Collector', The Age, 14 April 2007; ibid., 22 January 2011

2 Graeme Rushworth 'Notes on some Early Tasmanian Organs and also on the commencement of the Hobart Town Choral Society', OHTA News, vol. 23, no. 2 (April 1999), p.37.

3 Hobart Town Courier (11 March 1848), p.2.

4 The Mercury, 14 November 1863, p.4

5 N. Nixon, The Pioneer Bishop in Van Diemen's Land 1843-1863. Hobart, 1953, pp.12-13, 54

6 Specification noted from records of Bishop & Son, London, 1975 by John Maidment

7 Noted by John Maidment 2010