Corpus Christi Catholic Church

Bage Street, Nundah

Whitehouse Bros, Brisbane, 1926
2 manuals, 8 speaking stops, tubular-pneumatic action
Electrified 1973; additions 1973 and c.1980, Whitehouse Bros, Brisbane
2 manuals, 9 speaking stops, electro-pneumatic action

[Photograph by Howard Baker (1990s)]

Historical and Technical Documentation by Geoffrey Cox
© OHTA 2011 (last updated July 2011)

The foundation stone of Corpus Christi Catholic Church was laid on 14 June 1925, and the building was opened on 21 November 1926. It replaced an earlier small timber church in the area, dating from 1904. The building was designed by the Australian architects Hennessey, Hennessey, Keesing and Co., who were also engaged at this time to design the ill-fated Holy Name Cathedral in Brisbane. Indeed, it has been suggested that Corpus Christi Church may have been a prototype for the intended Cathedral. Built in Romanesque revival style with polychrome brickwork, it features a massive copper-sheeted dome, surmounted by an octagonal lantern.1


The interior of Corpus Christi Church,
showing the dome over the crossing
[Photograph by Geoffrey Cox (July 2011)]


The organ was built by Whitehouse Bros of Brisbane at a cost of £700,2 and was completed in time for the opening of the new building.3 It was used at Christmas 1926, when Miss Rene Crowe (organist) performed with the choir under the direction of Mr C. H. Hegarty.4

It is unfortunate that the architectural distinction of the building did not extend to the organ casework, which employed a standard design by Whitehouse Bros used earlier at Christ Church, Milton, and elsewhere. Facing sideways across the gallery with the Pedal Bourdon 16ft pipes on the left-hand side exposed to the nave below, the console is here necessarily placed beside the façade pipes rather than beneath them.


The console and façade pipes,
facing sideways across the gallery
[Photograph by Geoffrey Cox (July 2011)]


The instrument was overhauled in 1954 by Whitehouse Bros at a cost of £575.5 In 1973, the action was changed from tubular-pneumatic to electro-pneumatic by Whitehouse Bros, at which time the Pedal Bass Flute 8ft was added.6 It was presumably at this time also that the original hitchdown-lever swell7 was replaced by a balanced swell pedal, and that the original stop-keys were replaced by rocking tablets.

The console, including new fittings presumably dating from 1973
[Photograph by Geoffrey Cox (July 2011)]


The organ is reported to have endured ill treatment in the late 1970s, when the Great Dulciana 8ft was damaged beyond repair. Around 1980, Whitehouse Bros replaced it with a redundant Gamba 8ft, although the stop name was not changed at the console. It appears that this stop was the original Viole de gambe 8ft by George Benson (1889) from the Albert Street Uniting Church.8

The Nundah instrument was overhauled with some minor revoicing in the late 1980s by W. J. Simon Pierce.9

Open Diapason
Stopped Diapason


Bass Flute

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




[replaced c.1980 by a Gamba, but not renamed]

A [1973]

Swell tremulant
Balanced swell pedal (formerly hitchdown-lever)
Compass: 61/30
Pedalboard: radiating & concave
Attached folding-lid console
Electro-pneumatic action (formerly tubular-pneumatic).10

Builder’s plate and stop-keys
following the electrification of the action in 1973
[Photographs by Geoffrey Cox (July 2011)]


1 Queensland Heritage Council, Queensland Heritage Register, location 601460.

2 Whitehouse Bros Ledger (1922-1940), p. 200. The initial payment was made in April 1926.

3 The Brisbane Courier (19 November 1926), p. 8.

4 The Brisbane Courier (27 December 1926), p. 13.

5 Whitehouse Bros Summary List.

6 Personal communication to G. Cox from Kevin Whitehouse, 1974.

7 Collected Organ Specifications of Bernie Brohan (c.1952).

8 Simon Pierce, 'A Visit to a Whitehouse Trio,' Organ Society of Queensland Newsletter, vol. 16, no. 5 (April 1989), pp. 9-10.

9 Pierce, op. cit.

10 Specification noted by G. Cox, July 2011. The stop nomenclature is unchanged from that recorded in the Collected Organ Specifications of Bernie Brohan (c.1952).