St Andrew's Anglican Church

cnr Murray & Hume Streets, Pittsworth

Whitehouse Bros, Brisbane, 1929
Additions 1973 Walter Emerson, Toowoomba
1 manual, 7 speaking stops, tubular-pneumatic action

St Andrew's Anglican Church, Pittsworth
[Photograph by Howard Baker (1990s)]


Historical and Technical Documentation by Geoffrey Cox
© OHTA 2011, 2015 (last updated June 2015)

Situated on the Darling Downs just off the Gore Highway some 40 kilometres south-west of Toowoomba, the rural town of Pittsworth was originally called 'Beauaraba', deriving from the pastoral station of that name. The name was changed formally to Pittsworth in 1915. The town is noted for its cheeses, and also for its flowering Silky Oak and Jacaranda trees during Spring.

The foundation stone of the present St Andrew's Church was laid on 3 November 1912, and the building was consecrated on 7 October 1913.1 It replaced an earlier building designed by the prominent Toowoomba architect John Marks in 1888-89.2

Foundation stone of the present St Andrew's Church, Pittsworth
[Photograph by Geoffrey Cox (July 2012)]

The foundations of the new St Andrew's Church, Pittsworth
being laid in front of the old church in 1912
[Photograph: John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland]

The organ was built in 1928-29 by Whitehouse Bros of Brisbane at a cost of £375.3

It was dedicated on Tuesday 30 April 1929 by Archdeacon Glover with festal evensong sung by the choir, and the Rev. Harmer, second Assistant Curate at St James' Church, Toowoomba, presiding at the organ:

For some three years or more the members of St Andrew's Sewing Guild have worked consistently with the object of purchasing a new organ for the Parish Church. About fifteen months ago the order was placed with Messrs B.B. Whitehouse and Co. of Brisbane, for an organ of the Positive type. The building of this organ was completed in the Parish Church just about a month ago. A service of dedication followed by a recital was held on Tuesday last at 8 p.m., the order of service being as follows:- The choir marched into the choir stalls while the Venerable Archdeacon Glover, together with the Rector, the Rev. C. Tuustall, proceeded to the organ, where the dedication prayers were read, and the organ formally dedicated by the Archdeacon. . . . The Rev. Harmer, second assistant Curate of St James' Church, Toowoomba, presided at the organ, and provided a full church with a musical treat not soon to be forgotten, the excellent tone, quality and volume of the various stops being effectively demonstrated.4

A single-manual pneumatic-action instrument without pedals, it originally comprised only five stops. Like the single-manual pneumatic-action organs built by the firm at St Augustine's Anglican Church, Hamilton (1918) and Zion Lutheran Church, Minden (1931), this one includes a 'melodic bass' stop. This stop sounds the lowest note of a chord at 16ft pitch, over the bottom two octaves of the compass, C-b.

The 1929 Whitehouse Bros organ
in St Andrew's Anglican Church, Pittsworth
[Photographs by Howard Baker (1990s)]

All of the pipework, apart from the lower pipes of the Open Diapason 8ft and the Double 16ft, was originally enclosed in the swell box. Two further stops (Geigen Principal 4ft and Oboe 8ft) were added in 1973 by Walter Emerson of Toowoomba, who removed the Open Diapason entirely from the swell box, and extended it to provide the Geigen Principal 4ft.5 The bottom twelve wooden pipes of the Double 16ft are arranged along the sides of the organ, six on each side.

The 1929 Whitehouse Bros organ
showing the wooden pipes of the Double 16ft along the side
[Photographs by Geoffrey Cox (July 2012)]

The Open Diapason rank (extended to Geigen Principal 4ft)
now located outside the Swell Box on both sides of the organ
[Photograph by Geoffrey Cox (July 2012)]

Open Diapason
Geigen Principal

Octave Coupler




(melodic bass, 20 notes, C-b) [wood]




Attached stop-key console
No pedals
Compass: 58 notes
Tubular-pneumatic action
Balanced swell pedal.6

Console details of the 1929 Whitehouse Bros organ
[Photographs by Geoffrey Cox (July 2012)]


1 Glenda Murrell, Anglican Records and Archive Centre Guide to Records (DioceseofBrisbaneWeb, 2001) - cited January 2004.

2 Donald Watson & Judith McKay, Queensland Architects of the 19th Century: A Biographical Dictionary (Brisbane: Queensland Museum, 1994), pp. 121-23.

3 Whitehouse Bros List gives "New 1928 £375". Whitehouse Bros Ledger (1922-1940), p. 352, shows payments up to March 1929.

4 The Pittsworth Sentinel (4 May 1929), p. 3, cited by Grant Uebergang. See also The Brisbane Courier (16 May 1929), p. 27.

5 Personal communication from Walter Emerson to G. Cox, February 1974.

6 Specification noted by G. Cox, July 2012.