St Ignatius' Catholic Church

Corner Queen & William Streets

Built by J.E. Dodd 1897
Restored by Leith Jacob 1989
2 manuals, 12 speaking stops, 3 couplers, mechanical action

St Ignatius' Catholic Church, Norwood: exterior from the west
[Photograph by John Maidment (10 August 2011)]

Historical and Technical Documentation by David Shield
© OHTA 2013 (last updated September 2013)


The church at Norwood has close connections with the Jesuit settlement at Sevenhill. Begun as a mission outreach Father Hinterocker supervised the construction of the building that was opened in 1870. A full architectural description with dimensions was given in the Press:

The church, which is in the Italian style, consists of a chancel, nave, and north and south side chapels, the walls being of Glen Osmond stone with cement dressings. The principal entrance is by a porch at the west end of the building. This is flanked by two towers 63 feet in height to the top of the crosses, which form their finials. The interior walls are covered with floated rough stucco, the pilasters, archivolts, cornices, &c, being in plaster of Paris; the roof is open, and the timbers are stained and varnished; the floor is formed of Mintaro slate. The chancel arch, which is semicircular, is supported by two Tuscan columns, as are those of the side chapels, in each of which an altar is fitted up with foliated capitals. At the west end of the nave there is a gallery, carried on semi-elliptical arches, supported by columns and pilasters. The chief dimensions are as follow : — Nave, 75 feet by 40; walls, 27 feet high to the springing of the roof ; area of the chancel, 25 feet by 22; side chapels, 11 by 7. The benches are open, of deal stained and varnished. Over the high altar is a life-size picture of St. Ignatius, … On the north side of the chancel there is a vestry, from which access is gained to the pulpit, which is let into the wall.1

St Ignatius' Catholic Church, Norwood: interior from the rear gallery
[Photograph by John Maidment (10 August 2011)]

The death of Father Joseph Peters S.J. was the catalyst for a memorial. It was decided that the most appropriate way to perpetuate the memory of this popular Jesuit father of St Ignatius Catholic Church in Norwood was to erect a stained glass window and acquire an organ. An order was placed with E.F. Troy for the window and J.E. Dodd for the organ. The instrument is the second made by Dodd and began introducing features of his own design.

The Revd Father Joseph Peters was a prominent Jesuit. Born in Munich in 1840, he was the son of a general in the Bavarian army under Napoleon I. After studying medicine he joined the Society of Jesus and came to Australia. On his landing at Glenelg in February, 1874, he was sent by his superiors to Norwood. Whereas most of the Jesuit fathers spent a limited time at Norwood before serving elsewhere, Peters, first as assistant priest, and afterwards as superior, was destined to remain until his death, on 6 December, 1895. Described as a theologian, scientist, eloquent preacher, capable financier, and a zealous priest, by dint of hard work and business ability he succeeded in freeing the church at Norwood from debt. His remains were conveyed to Seven Hills, where they were laid to rest in the crypt of St. Aloysius' Church.2 So high was his esteem that it was considered fitting to commemorate his memory. As Father Peters had often expressed the wish that the choir should have the assistance of a good organ this was agreed too, along with a window or windows to be placed in the church. A committee was established.3

Sufficient funds had been received by the first day of April for action to be taken. The committee decided that it would be well to instruct Mr. J.E. Dodd, of Adelaide, to build an organ suitable to St. Ignatius Church at a cost of between £300 and £400. Steps were also taken to obtain estimates and designs for the window.4

St Ignatius' Catholic Church, Norwood: organ
[Photograph Trevor Bunning (15 October 2013)]

The specification of the organ, built at Dodd's Twin street factory, was printed in the Press eight months later as follows:

Great organ—open diapason, 8 ft; claribel, 8 ft; dulciana, 8ft; principal,4ft; wald flute, 4 ft; and fifteenth, 2 ft. Swell organ—Violin diapason, 8 ft; gedocht 8 ft; celeste, 8 ft; octave, 4ft: and oboe, 8 ft; pedal, bourdon,. 16 ft; and the usual three couplers. A balanced swell pedal (the only one in the colony) has also been introduced.5

J.E. Dodd invariably tried to control the first performance of one of his new instruments by selecting the organist. This was not always possible, frequently leading to compromise. In the case of St Ignatius, Dodd asked J.H. Fray to do the honours. Fray did "peal forth" an impromptu while the Archbishop and attendants returned to the sanctuary after consecrating the organ, but it was Miss Nellie Sullivan, the Cathedral organist, who accompanied the Mass proper that followed immediately. At the end of the service Fray played "The War March of the Priests," Wely's "Andante No. 2," and, as a tribute to the memory of Father Peters, Chopin's "Funeral March" in C minor.6

At the consecration the Archbishop briefly spoke to the congregation. It is interesting to note that His Grace had congratulated them "on possessing an organ beautiful both in its appearance and musical quality".7 Given the pipe decoration on the organ at St Bartholomew's it is surprising that the 1989 restoration by Leith Jacob determined the original finish was plain. It is also noted that the timber is unstained.

The appointment of organist was not immediate. Mr Ernest P. Howard was considered a certainty but was subject to the endorsement or otherwise of the new superior at "Manressa" (the administrative house of the Jesuit order in Norwood).8 The position was still not settled by 1 March.9 However, appointed he was, until followed by Arthur Noyes in 1902, who was to remain until his death in 1929. Noyes was sufficiently thought of as to have a stained glass window in the porch. Local artist Miss Nora Burden created this.10

In May 1914, the Revd T. O'Brien had a conversation with J.E. Dodd about a power plant for generating the wind to the organ. Dodd quoted either £53.10.0 for a second hand hydraulic engine, or £70 sterling for a Ventus electric blower connected to an AC single phase motor. It is assumed the church acquired the latter.11

St Ignatius' Catholic Church, Norwood: console
[Photograph John Maidment (6 October 2013)]

In 1989 the organ was thoroughly overhauled by Leith Jacob. At this time the casework was completely stripped back and given the current appearance. The casework strongly resembles the almost contemporary Dodd instrument of 1898 at Christ Church, Mount Barker, except that it incorporates cast iron ornamentation above and beneath the central transom rail.

Donovan12 lists 10 windows in the church, noting that the two by E.F. Troy, an ardent Catholic, are amongst the finest of his religious windows to be found in Adelaide. The artist for these windows was Herbert M Smyrk, a decorative artist of Melbourne.

1 St Ignatius

2 Ascension

3 St John, E.F. Troy 1897

4 Angel holding flagellam and pillar

5 Angel holding Crown of thorns

6 Angel holding Veronica's veil

7 Angel holding spear and nails

8 Guardian angel E.F. Troy 1897

9 Patterned window E.F. Troy

10 St Francis Xavier, erected to the memory of Mr. Thomas O'Mara. Advertiser 12/2/1917 p.9

There are also the porch windows undertaken by local artist Miss Nora Burden. That in memory of the organist Mr Arthur Charles Noyes was installed in 1929. Advertiser 29/7/1929 p.12

Open Diapason
Swell to Great

Violin Diapason
Lieblich Gedacht
Voix Celeste

Great to Pedal
Swell to Pedal






Compass 56/30
balanced swell pedal
location west gallery
3 combination pedals to Great
attached drawstop console

1 Register 13/8/1870 p.7s

2 ibid 31/5/1924 p.4

3 Advertiser 14/1/1896 p.7

4 ibid 1/4/1896 p.4

5 ibid 16/1/1897 p.5

6 Register 18/1/1897 p.6

7 ibid 18/1/1897 p.6, author's emphasis

8 Advertiser 20/2/1897 p.6

9 Register 1/3/1897 p.6

10 Mail 30/6/1934 also articles in Australian Women's Weekly 10/3/1934 p.3; Australian Women's Weekly 29/4/1939 p.30

11 DLB vol 8 1909-1914 J.E. Dodd to Revd T.O'Brien 13/5/1914 pp.294-6

12 Donovan P. & J., A Guide to Stained Glass Windows in and about Adelaide, 1983, p.15, pp.54-5. Note, the Guardian Angel window in the church has a memorial pane to John and Catherine Eickhoff. It is located on the stairs to the organ gallery.

St Ignatius' Catholic Church, Norwood: left hand stop jamb
[Photograph Trevor Bunning (15 October 2013)]

St Ignatius' Catholic Church, Norwood: right hand stop jamb
[Photograph Trevor Bunning (15 October 2013)]

Norwood: St Ignatius Catholic church prior to new porch
(Trevor Bunning)