St John's Lutheran Church

Pella Church Road, Pella

Built 1885 by Alfred Fuller for Congregational Church, Howe Crescent, South Melbourne
Installed present location 1970 by Hill, Norman & Beard (Australia) Pty Ltd (order no V803)
Renovated 2022 Australian Pipe Organs Pty Ltd
2 manuals, 10 speaking stops, 3 couplers, mechanical action

St John's Lutheran Church, Pella: the exterior
[photograph by Tony Love (October 2013)]

Historical and Technical Documentation by John Maidment
© OHTA, 2008 (last updated July 2023)


Congregational Church, South Melbourne: the Fuller organ
[photograph by Robert Tobin (c.1969)]

Construction of St John's Church began in 1910, constructed from locally quarried limestone.1 The whole site was registered by Heritage Victoria in 2023 as of considerable heritage significance.2

The organ in this church was built in 1885 by Alfred Fuller, of Kew, for the Congregational Church, Howe Crescent, South Melbourne. Here it was installed free-standing on a gallery at the front of this spacious church. It was reported:

A new organ built by Mr. Fuller, of Kew has been placed in the Albert-park Independent Church and a successful concert and organ recital in connexion with the opening of it was given on Thursday evening, about 700 people being present. Mr. Philip Plaisted performed a series of pieces from the works of the best composers on the new instrument. During the evening, Miss Christie Fuller sang "Nazareth" and "The Lord is Mindful of His Own" and Miss Louise Yeomans "The Children's Home" and "At the Eastern Gate." Solos were also sung by Mr C.P. Rouvray, Mr. Rofe and Mr Bundi.3

The Congregational Church property and organ were sold around 1970 – the building was occupied for some time by the Victorian Chapter of the Royal Australian Institute of Architects. The organ was installed at St John's Lutheran Church, Pella in 1970 by Hill, Norman & Beard (Australia) Pty Ltd.

St John's Lutheran Church, Pella: the Fuller organ
[photograph by Tony Love (October 2013)]

The instrument remains unaltered from the original, retaining its ornately decorated casework and stencilled façade pipes, tonal scheme, splendidly crafted console, cut-crystal knobs to the console doors, wind system and action. It is a very pleasing example of Alfred Fuller's work. The Swell is tuned through a hinged rear panel, with the Oboe placed at the back of the organ.

The major problems before the recent overhaul were:

The whole organ was badly out of tune.

The Swell Oboe tuning springs had rusted, making tuning difficult.

The Swell Suabe Flute is provided with cork stoppers, which had deformed the mouths of the pipes as they expanded and contracted in the weather. This had affected the tuning.

The action was worn and needed adjustment.

The Pedal Bourdon stoppers needed re-leathering.

The whole organ was filthy. The most prevalent problem in the church is bat droppings!

In 2022, the organ received a comprehensive overhaul by Australian Pipe Organs Pty Ltd.

The entire organ was cleaned.

Windchests, slides, upperboards and rackboards were repaired.

Conveyancing from Great chest to display pipes was repaired, having been 'temporarily' fixed with duct tape.

All pipework was repaired as necessary. Wooden pipes in particular had split in the dry climate.

Stoppers for the Swell Suabe Flute were tightened and support bands provided for the lowest 12 pipes, to prevent the stoppers dropping down the pipes.

The Swell Oboe was provided with new phosphor bronze tuning springs.

Stoppers for the Pedal Bourdon were re-leathered.

The blower was cleaned and serviced.

The action was adjusted and some worn parts replaced.

The whole organ was tuned.

Some casework finish was touched up.4


Open Diapason
Viol de Gamba
Harmonic Piccolo
Swell to Great

Lieblich Gedackt
Swabe Flute 
Tremulant to Swell

Great to Pedals
Swell to Pedals




gvd.bass, spotted metal



Compass: 56/30
2 composition pedals to Great
Lever swell pedal
Mechanical key & stop action
Attached drawstop console5

1 accessed 6 November 2013

2 accessed 29 July 2023

3 The Argus 28 March 1885, p.9

4 Details kindly supplied by Pastor Lucas Matuschka July 2023

5 Details noted John Maidment February 1966

St John's Lutheran Church, Pella: console
[photograph by Tony Love (October 2013)]

St John's Lutheran Church, Pella: nameplate
[photograph by Tony Love (October 2013)]

St John's Lutheran Church, Pella: left-hand stop jamb
[photograph by Tony Love (October 2013)]

St John's Lutheran Church, Pella: right-hand stop jamb
[photograph by Tony Love (October 2013)]

St John's Lutheran Church, Pella: view of Swell pipework from rear of organ
[photograph by Robert Tobin (c.1969)]