The Big Debate – Pipe Organ or Electronic?
June 29, 2020
Restoration Philosophy
June 30, 2020

William Pierce Thesis

BETWEEN 1850 and 1900.

A project submitted as part of the requirements for the degree of Bachelor of Arts (Honours) in the Department of Music, University of Sydney.

SYDNEY, 1953
This project on organ building in New South Wales between 1850 and 1900 is in two parts. The first part describes the mechanism and tonal production of organs of this period while the second part describes the work of British and Australian builders in the local field.

The mechanical and tonal developments leading up to the present-day modern British organ have been treated by many able and experienced enthusiasts of the instrument so that this section is in no way original. It is hoped however, that not only will it assist in an understanding of the descriptions in the second section but that it will also stress those aspects of the craft which gave the instruments of this period their own particular character.

The second part, recording the work of British and Australian builders in the local field attempts to show the extent of organ-building activity in New South Wales at this time. It endeavours to show who were the important firms, where examples of their work are to be found and to give a detailed description of at least one instrument representative of each firm’s work. In the case of Australian builders, notes on organs built since 1900 have been included in order to give some idea of trends since then, as well as to complete the work of certain builders and place as many instruments as possible on record.

While the instruments have been classified according to their builders, the possible history of individual instruments should not be overlooked. Some of the instruments proved to have quite an interesting history upon enquiry. However, time has prevented this being done in every case so that further evidence may possibly be brought forward.

Finally, this project does not attempt to weigh the advantages and disadvantages of the instruments of this period from a present-day performer’s point of view, although one or two observations have been made; rather it aims to record as many instruments as possible.

Much of the information in the second section has been obtained from different local enthusiasts but particularly valuable has been a collection of photographs and specifications as well as a collection of press cuttings made by the late Robert Cherry, both collections having been made available through the kindness of Mrs. Cherry.

To all those who have helped the writer in his efforts, his grateful thanks is extended.



The Mechanism of the Instrument
The Practice of Tonal Production
British Organ Builders:

Bevington and Sons
Forster and Andrews
Hills and Sons
Hunter and Sons
Walker and Sons
Australian Organ Builders:

Note on an early organ builder
W. Davidson
C. J. Jackson
Notes on some later builders

Key action
Stop action
Barker lever action
Tubular pneumatic exhaust system
Tubular pneumatic pressure system
Flue pipe and parts
Reed pipe and parts
Diagram of various types of stops

The organ at St. Stephen’s, Newtown
Newtown Methodist Church
St. Thomas’, North Sydney
All Saints, Woollahra

The Modern British Organ – Noel Bonavia-Hunt
The Organ – W.L. Sumner
Grove’s Dictionary of Music and Musicians – Article under “Organ”.
Oxford Companion to Music – Percy Scholes
“The Organ”, London – a quarterly magazine.
2 collections of photographs, specifications and press cuttings by the late Robert Cherry.

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