Ann Street Presbyterian Church, Brisbane
December 14, 2010
News: Brisbane City Hall Pipe Organ Restoration
December 14, 2010

This instrument was originally built by Henry Willis and Sons in England between 1891-2 and first erected in the Brisbane Exhibition Hall, Bowen Park.  At that time it had 4 manuals and 45 speaking stops, with tubular pneumatic action – a very advanced design for the period.  While the first recital was held in 1892 for the members of the Royal National Association (the governing body of the Exhibition), public concerts were a popular attraction for many years.

In the 1920’s, the Association faced financial problems and thought of selling the instrument interstate. Mr. George Sampson, Organist at St. John’s Cathedral, suggested that it be acquired for the Civic Hall being built on King George Square and arranged a number of subscription concerts to help defray costs.

Opportunity was taken at this time to enlarge and modernise the instrument.  Henry Willis and Sons, working in conjunction with local organ builders Whitehouse Brothers, converted the action to electro-pneumatic.  In 1930, the rebuilt instrument with five manuals and pedals, containing seventy-six speaking stops, was playing again.

Regular concerts were given by the City Organists and visiting celebrities as well as local promising students.  For many years orchestral works involving the organ were a feature of Symphony Concerts and Recitals.

Some 40 years after its first rebuild, it became apparent that much of the electrical work needed replacement and opportunity was taken to resite the Solo and Choir departments.  Bringing the Solo into the one area brought into focus the desirability of rearranging the Solo Tuba as a 16′.  New pipework was provided for the 8′ Tuba and Tuba Clarion 4′.  As well, the Great and Pedal were provided each with a new Mixture stop, while the Choir was enlarged by a Sesquialtera II.  All of this work, as well as the installation of a solid state capture system, was undertaken by NSW builders Brown and Arkley, thus bringing the instrument to seventy-eight speaking stops.

Since then WJ Simon Pierce has undertaken the general maintenance and repair of the instrument; sometimes – alarmingly – just before, or in the middle of, public recitals!

The specifications shown below are the old ones. The new specifications can be found here

Specifications
Compass of Manuals CC-C, 61 notes
Compass of pedals CCC-F, 30 notes
PEDAL ORGAN

32'    Double Open Bass
32'    Contra Violone
16'    Open Bass
16'    Contra Bass
16'    Open Diapason
16'    Violone
16'    Bourdon
16'    Viole
8'     Octave
8'     Principal
8'     Violon Cello
8'     Flute
4'     Fifteenth
III    Mixture 10-12-15
IV     Mixture 15-1-9-22-26  

32'    Contra Ophicleide
16'    Ophicleide
16'    Cor Anglais
8'     Clarion
4'     Octave Clarion    

Solo to Pedal
Choir to Pedal
Choir to Pedal 4'
Swell to Pedal
Swell to Pedal 4'
Great to Pedal
Great to Pedal 4'
Orchestral to Pedal
Orchestral to Pedal 4'

GREAT ORGAN

16'    Double Open Diapason
8'     Open Diapason No 1
8'     Open Diapason No 2
8'     Open Diapason No 3
8'     Claribel Flute
4'     Principal
4'     Flute Harmonic
2 2/3' Twelfth
2'     Fifteenth
III    Sesquialtera 17-19-22
IV     Furniture 19-22-26-29
16'    Contra Tromba
8'     Tromba
4'     Clarion   

Solo to Great
Choir to Great
Swell to Great Sub
Swell to Great Octave
Orchestral to Great

SWELL ORGAN

16'    Lieblich Bourdon
8'     Geigen Diapason
8'     Lieblich Gedackt
8'     Salicional
8'     Vox Angelica
4'     Gemshorn
4'     Lieblich Flute
2'     Flageolet
III    Mixture 17-19-22
8'     Hautboy
SWELL ORGAN (cont.)

8'     Vox Humana
16'    Double Trumpet
8'     Trumpet
4'     Clarion   

Tremolo
Swell Sub Octave
Swell Unison Off

CHOIR ORGAN

8'     Viola da Gamba
8'     Lieblich Gedackt
8'     Dulciana
4'     Flute d'Amour
2'     Harmonic Piccolo
II     Sesquialtera  12-17
8'     Corno di Bassetto 

Choir Sub Octave
Choir Octave
Choir Unison Off
Solo to Choir

SOLO ORGAN (Enclosed)

8'     Flute Harmonique
4'     Concert Flute
16'    Double Clarinet
8'     Orchestral Oboe		   

Tremolo

SOLO ORGAN (Unenclosed)

8'     Diapason Stentor 8'
       Cathedral Chimes
16'    Tuba
8'     Tuba
4'     Tuba Clarion

ORCHESTRAL ORGAN

16'    Violon
8'     Violoncello
8'     Cello Celestes
8'     Orchestral Flute
8'     Tibia Clausa
8'     Sylvestrina
4'     Viola
4'     Flute Ouverte
2 2/3' Nazard
2'     Piccolo
1 3/5' Tierce
16'    Cor Anglais
8'     Clarinet
8'     French Horn
8'     Orchestral Trumpet    

Tremolo
Orchestral Sub Octave
Orchestral Octave
Orchestral Unison Off
Solo to Orchestral
ACCESSORIES ———————————————————————–
5 Thumb Pistons to Solo Organ
7 Thumb Pistons to Orchestral Organ
7 Thumb Pistons to Swell Organ
7 Thumb Pistons to Great Organ
5 Thumb Pistons to Choir Organ
7 Toe Pistons to Pedal Organ
7 Toe Pistons to Swell Organ (duplicating)
1 Reversible Thumb Piston Solo to Choir
1 Reversible Thumb Piston Solo to Orchestral
1 Reversible Thumb Piston Solo to Great
1 Reversible Thumb Piston Choir to Great
1 Reversible Thumb Piston Choir to Pedal
1 Reversible Thumb Piston Swell to Choir
1 Reversible Thumb Piston Swell to Great
1 Reversible Thumb Piston Swell to Pedal
1 Reversible Thumb Piston Great to Pedal (duplicating)
1 Reversible Thumb Piston Orchestral to Swell
1 Reversible Thumb Piston         Orchestral to Great
1 Reversible Thumb Piston      Orchestral to Choir
1 Reversible Thumb Piston      Orchestral to Pedal
1 Reversible Thumb Piston               Full Organ (programmable)
1 General Cancel thumb piston
1 Thumb Piston for “Set”
1 Thumb Piston for “Neutral Set”
Great and Pedal Combinations    coupled
1 General Crescendo Pedal
Swell Expression Pedal
Choir Expression Pedal
Solo Expression Pedal
Orchestral Expression Pedal
1 lever pedal (kick-down)
Swell Pedal selection switches
40 memory channels for Piston    Capture system
Memory Channel No.1 set by organbuilders only
PPO
PPO

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