St Peter and Paul's Anglican Church
c.1908 Charles Richardson; opened 1909
Enl. 1977 Peter Jewkes (addition of Principal)
Restored and moved 2008 Peter Jewkes
2 manuals, 7 speaking stops, 3 couplers, tracker & tubular pneumatic action
Gt: 8.8 divided.8.4. Sw: 8.8. Ped: 16.
From the Sydney Organ Journal (Winter 2012), Peter Jewkes writes:
Situated in the picturesque NSW South Coast village of Milton, this charming brick church commands views from its vestry step, to the East of the Pacific Ocean, and to the West of Pigeon House Mountain, all the while surrounded by lush green dairy pastures and rolling hills. The parish's organ has been involved with two maritime mishaps over the years, with the first instrument, by Charles Richardson of Sydney reputed to have sunk on the steamer bringing it to Ulladulla in 1908, after which Richardson supplied a second identical organ, finally opened at Milton in 1909. The original specification included a "prepared for" Principal 4' stop, which was finally installed in 1977 by Peter Jewkes, after the church purchased a good quality second hand Principal rank from the Sydney organbuilder Arthur Jones, who had acquired it (along with numerous others) from a shipping agent - who had himself acquired the pipes after their arrival in Australia but been unable to locate their intended recipient. Years later with hindsight, it is assumed that these pipes were in fact part of an entire instrument bound for St Charles Borromeo Ryde c.1971, and lost en route. Whatever their provenance, the "new" Principal pipes were a good match for the contemporaneous pipework at Milton, and it is hoped that no further misadventure will occur!
Work on the Milton organ recently completed has included restoration of pipework, action, bellows and casework, with a silent German blower added by the Jewkes firm in 2008 being retained. The opportunity was also taken to move the organ into the centre of its transept from its rather lop-sided position, and slightly forward for better tonal egress. Though a modest seven stops, this little instrument gives an excellent account of itself, and is much valued as one of only three organs on the far South Coast, and the most Southerly instrument in the Anglican Diocese of Sydney. The project was assisted by the NSW Heritage Office, and the project's consultant was Dr Kelvin Hastie OAM.
Specification provided by Peter Jewkes (from memory 1/12/07):
Stopped Diapason Bass
Swell to Great
Swell to Pedal
Great to Pedal
actually a Hohl Flute
prepared for by Richardson, added PDGJ April 1977, pipes c.1900 from Arthur Jones, ex the “lost” organ for St Charles’ Ryde
bass from Gedact
From the Sydney Organ Journal, Spring 2012:
Dr Kelvin Hastie writes:
A RICHARDSON RESTORED
Kelvin Hastie OAM
The heritage described
Charles Richardson was the most prominent local organ builder of the late-nineteenth and early-twentieth centuries. His life and work is described by Graeme Rushworth who records the builder's association with his father's firm of W.E. Richardson & Sons of Manchester and outlines his provision of apprenticeships to those who became his competitors or successors, notably C.W. Leggo, T.C. Edwards, S.T. Noad and G.C. Griffin.1
The organs of Charles Richardson were solidly constructed from quality materials and housed in attractive cases, while his tonal designs were conservative. It is important to note that Richardson adhered to a consistent tonal formula that was grounded in the late nineteenth century: as most of his instruments were small, he rarely had the opportunity to experiment with a varied palette of romantic or symphonic voices. His instruments had neither the colourful flair associated with the output of J.E. Dodd, nor the forthrightness that is often produced by a Whitehouse instrument with an unpromising paper specification. These observations are, of course, based on an appraisal of most of his surviving instruments: it could well be true that had more of his larger instruments survived a more comprehensive analysis might be possible.
Rushworth notes that some organs provided by Charles Richardson were either wholly or partly built by his father's firm (see page 122) and it is therefore difficult to provide a definitive opus list: this problem is compounded by the fact that not all his work has been fully documented. Ongoing research has filled some gaps (as recorded, for example, in the Rushworth Supplement of 2006), but doubtless many others remain.2 In spite of this limitation, it is fair to say that Charles Richardson built (or provided) over 40 new organs and of these, approximately 34 per cent have survived in largely original condition, 15 per cent have been tonally or mechanically altered but are still recognisable, 27 per cent have been completely altered through rebuilding and enlargement, while an unacceptably large proportion – 24 per cent – have been totally destroyed.3
Of the instruments that have been lost, many were regarded by an older generation of organists as fine examples of Richardson's work. These include the two-manual organs formerly at St Enoch's Presbyterian Church, Newtown (1898), Mathison Congregational Church, Croydon (1903) and St John's Anglican Church, Wagga Wagga (1910).
Of the surviving instruments, the best-known larger examples are those of St Andrew's Uniting Church Singleton (c.1885), Balmain Presbyterian Church (1893) and Ann Street Presbyterian Church, Brisbane (1903), while the organ at St Columba's Uniting Church Woollahra (1892) awaits resuscitation and a sympathetic restoration.
Several small instruments survive largely as Richardson left them, notably in Blackheath, Carcoar, Drummoyne, Hunters Hill, Kogarah, Kiama, Maitland, Milton, Narrandera and Neutral Bay. (The last two mentioned here contain a substantial amount of second-hand material). A favourite is the delightful instrument at St Stephen's Presbyterian Church, East Maitland, which survives utterly unaltered excepting for the fitting of electric blowing.4
The Milton church and organ
Milton is a village set on high hills on the verdant South Coast of New South Wales, not far from Pigeon House Mountain, named by Captain James Cook during his voyage of 1770 aboard the Endeavour. Although the township was established in 1860, the Revd Thomas Kendall, who settled nearby as early as 1828, is considered the district's pioneer.15 Milton today has a small population of 1,500 and while dominated by the adjacent seaside towns of Mollymook and Ulladulla, thrives on tourism based on its galleries, restaurants, antique and craft shops.
The Anglican Church of St Peter & St Paul was opened in 1860 and enlarged in 1908 with the addition of a chancel and chamber to take the pipe organ built by Charles Richardson, opened in 1909. While it has been suggested that an earlier organ was lost in a shipwreck and that the design of the present instrument was based on the instrument at St Augustine's Anglican Church, Bulli, neither suggestion has been confirmed by documentation and further research is thus required.
It can be said with confidence, however, that the Milton instrument was identical in tonal design to the Richardson organ opened in the same year at Wesley Methodist Church, Wollongong, even though Milton's Great Open Flute 8' was mislabelled Stopped Diapason and its Principal 4', while prepared for on the soundboard, was not supplied with pipes.6 The Milton instrument survives in near-original condition. The Wollongong organ was electrified and enlarged and removed to Queensland, where it was eventually broken up.7
In 1977 Peter Jewkes installed the prepared-for Principal 4' stop, which was obtained second-hand in Sydney from Arthur Jones.8 With the passage of time, it became apparent that a full-scale restoration would be required and in 2010 the church applied to the NSW Heritage Office for a grant and was successful in obtaining $35,000. In order to qualify for this grant the church needed to provide a statement of significance, a conservation and maintenance plan and gain the approval of its local government heritage adviser. Captain Mark Russell MBE co-ordinated the project carried out Peter D.G. Jewkes Pty. Ltd.
The standards adopted during the restoration are those contained in NSW Heritage: Pipe Organ Conservation and Maintenance Guide (NSW Heritage Office and Organ Historical Trust of Australia, 1998). John Stiller's documentation of 1984 served as a useful guide in assessing the condition, originality and significance of the organ.9
The restoration described
The organ was fully restored from top to bottom: the work completed by the Jewkes firm is described below:
1 The double-rise bellows was dismantled, stripped, cleaned and re-leathered in the traditional manner. Of interest is the construction of the bellows, which sits on an oversized well, planned to accommodate parts of the pedal mechanism while providing sufficient capacity for the pipe work.
2 All action components were fully restored. The pedal roller boards were restored with new leather bushings supplied to the arms and red felt bushings on the studs. The trackers and stickers were re-shellacked, with many being rewound with new thread. All brass wires were cleaned and fitted with new buttons and cloths. The Swell to Great coupler stickers were cleaned and re-graphited. The Pedal square rails were restored with new cloths and felt bushings, while new threaded wires were supplied. The pneumatic combination action was restored, the large book motors re-leathered, with the pallets recovered and small pneumatic motors covered in lambskin. A new trundle rod was made for the Great Dulciana 8' stop, as a mismatched replacement of odd shape and size had been fitted at some stage.
3 The pedal board was taken apart for cleaning and restoration, it was also re-felted and refaced.
4 The Great Soundboard was dismantled and cleaned, with the table sanded and planed: it was in good condition with no splits or major warps, owing to Charles Richardson's use of Australian timbers, the favourable climate of Milton and excellent workmanship. The grid was brushed with animal glue to seal any leaks and new canvas was fitted to the underside and covered with animal glue on both sides. The external ochre-coloured finishes were retained. The sliders and bearers were planed true and covered in graphite, with blue bearer paper glued in place.
5 The Swell soundboard is tiny in dimension and interestingly has no grid: the pallets cover the holes for each note on each of the two stops. The soundboard was dismantled and cleaned, with the table sanded and planed. The sliders and bearers were treated in the same manner as the Great.
6 The two pedal chests were fully restored, pallets trued up and recovered, springs adjusted and external surfaces repainted in grey.
7 The building frame was cleaned with the original glue wash patina retained: because the original finish was in excellent condition, it did not require recovering in fresh paint. The firm has made a ground plate (of 12 mm thick marine ply) and painted it grey. This plate (covering the area encompassed by the building frame) enabled the organ to be set up in the factory and will enhance physical stability at Milton. The building frame and pedal roller boards are screwed onto this plate where previously they had been screwed to the floor.
8 The organ was repositioned forward and this has allowed a new blower position at the back of the organ, which, in turn, has provided better access for its maintenance. Given the small size of the organ and its position in a chamber, moving the organ forward also assists in the transmission of sound to the nave of the church.
9 The case post and transom rails were cleaned sanded, gouges and extraneous electrical and screw holes filled and the surfaces recoated in shellac. The console timbers (red cedar) were sanded and the non-original oil based finish removed. Fresh shellac was applied and the surfaces were covered in protective wax. The pine panels either side of the pedals were similarly treated. New blue felt was provided to the stopknob holes and the manuals were cleaned, with new felts and cloths provided throughout.
10 The Swell Shutters were cleaned with new felt glued to the edges and to the edges of the enclosure opening. The Swell box (which was cleaned, but not repainted) was braced to the chamber wall rear to keep it steady during maintenance.
11 All metal and wooden pipe work was cleaned, with the stopped wooden pipes repacked. Metal pipes were rounded out where necessary and repairs made to tops of cone-tuned pipes. Conveyances to front pipes were repaired and repainted and façade pipes were repainted in silver, with gold mouths and maroon on the inside of the ears. (This pattern is based on other Richardson organs of the period).
After completion of the restoration in mid-February 2012, the instrument was transported from the Ermington workshop to Milton. The church had arranged for the remaking of the organ chamber foundations and floor, recovering of the window at the back of the organ with a timber panel and the provision of new electrical wiring, connections and switching for the blower and lighting. New tuning lights were fitted inside the organ. The Jewkes firm completed the instrument in early May, with regulation and fine tuning of the pipe work.
As mentioned above, Richardson adhered to a conservative Romantic tonal formula and this is strongly evident in the Milton organ. The instrument has an exceedingly pleasing sound, with the original and added diapason pipe work on the Great having sufficient harmonic development to impart brightness and clarity. The two flutes are contrasting in tone colour and are superbly voiced. The same may be said for the mild Great Dulciana and the charming Swell Gamba – harmonically rich without being scratchy. The tiny Swell division is obviously restricted in what it can do, although the octave coupler (which also works through the Swell to Great Coupler) enhances its output considerably.
A village church requires an organ that is reliable and inexpensive to maintain, while providing a good lead to a small congregation and possessing sufficient tonal and dynamic variety for the accompaniment of soloists and small ensembles. Such an instrument should also be able to support small-scaled works from the organ repertoire, including transcriptions. The Milton organ, with the specification below, is an excellent example of such an organ and it has been worthily restored to the highest standards.
1 Graeme D. Rushworth, Historic Organs of New South Wales: the instruments, their makers and players, 1791-1940 (Sydney: Hale & Iremonger, 1988): 122- 135.
2 Graeme D. Rushworth, A Supplement to Historic Organs of New South Wales: the instruments, their makers and players, 1791-1940 (Melbourne: Organ Historical Trust of Australia, 2006).
3 This information is based on Rushworth's research and from observations by the author in the field.
4 This organ was inspected during the 2005 OHTA Conference.
5 Information from http://www.heritageaustralia.com.au/search.php?state=NSW®ion=15&view=677 (accessed 28 May 2012)
6 Ralph and Roslyn Parsons, One Hundred Years of Service: Centenary of Wesley Church, Wollongong, 1882-1982 (Kiama: Weston Printers, 1982), pp. 35-39.
7 Information provided by Geoffrey Cox , with full details available at http://www.ohta.org.au/organs/organs/BurleighHeadsCathCh.html (accessed 28 May 2012)
8 Information provided by Peter Jewkes, May 2012.
9 John Stiller, "Ss Peter & Paul's Anglican Church, Milton, NSW: Documentation of Pipe Organ built by Charles Richardson & Co., c.1908." Organ Historical Trust of Australia and Heritage Council of New South Wales, 1984. Organ investigated 8 March 1984.
Photos: Trevor Bunning (Nov. 2007)