Sydney Cheil Uniting (formerly Wesley) Church, Concord
cnr. Concord Road & Sydney Street

B. c.1915 Aeolian Co., New York.
Reb. & inst. 1935 S.T. Noad from residence of Mr Westbrook, Vaucluse

2 manuals, 22 speaking stops, 7 couplers, electro-pneumatic action
Gt: 8.8.8.8.8.4.8.8.8.8. Sw (duplexed): 8.8.8.8.8.4.8.8.8.8. Ped: 16.16.








Photo above taken with a camera phone (Feb. 2008 Nick Appleton)

Organ built by Aeolian with console replaced by organbuilder Sid Noad (who was organist of the church for many years).

Specification and photos provided by Nicholas Appleton (Feb. 2008):

The stops are (for the manuals):

* 8' Open Diapason
* 8' Flute
* 8' Gamba
* 8' String
* 8' Celeste
* 4' Flute
* 8' Trumpet
* 8' Clarinet (free reed)
* 8' Vox Humana
* 8' Oboe

The stops are duplexed across both manuals.

The pedal:

* 16' Bourdon
* 16' Echo Bourdon



From the 2010 OHTA Conference book, Dr Kelvin Hastie writes:

Sydney Cheil Uniting (formerly Wesley) Church, Concord

Concord was once a bastion of Protestantism in suburban Sydney.  The Methodists built no fewer than five churches in the district – Concord Wesley, Concord Central, East Concord, West Concord and Rhodes: most of these churches were within one or two kilometres of each other.  Wesley Church, the largest of the group,was established in 1907. The building is constructed in Romanesque style, with seating for 350 people.  It is similar in internal design and layout as the church erected by the Methodists in Strathfield, with its central focus on the pulpit, choir and organ.  Following the formation of the Uniting Church in 1977 and later demographic change, it was decided to rationalise the properties in the district and Wesley Church was made available to the Sydney Cheil (Korean) Church, which currently has a strong and active congregation and a large choir. 

The present pipe organ was built in 1915 by the Aeolian Company, of New York, being the firm’s Opus 1329.  Aeolian organs were expensive prestige instruments, made from the best quality materials and workmanship: the firm perfected the design and construction of electro-pneumatic instruments well in advance of developments in Europe and Britain. Although altered from the original (in terms of its console, relay system and casework), the Concord instrument is almost certainly the earliest surviving electric-action organ in Australia. 

The history of this firm’s work is contained in Rollin Smith’s excellent book, The Aeolian Pipe Organ and its Music. [1] This book makes it clear that a major portion of Aeolian’s market was the construction of organs for private homes, especially those of the captains of American industry, business and finance, such as Frank W. Woolworth, Joseph Pulizter, George Eastman, Louis Comfort Tiffany, Henry Clay Frick, John D. Rockefeller, Horace E. Dodge, William Wrigley, John D. Spreckels, Pierre S. du Pont and Edsel Ford.  The Aeolian Company collaborated with other firms in the supply of components or complete organs to their specifications, such as Farrand & Votey of Detroit, with whom an association commenced in 1894. [2] 

The great majority of  Aeolian instruments were not only fitted with a console, but also a roll-playing mechanism, useful in providing home entertainment during an era when sound recordings were primitive and radio in its infancy.  A vast repertoire was available on the paper rolls – mostly transcriptions, but also commissioned works by composers like Victor Herbert, Camille Saint-Saëns and Moritz Moszkowski.  The Duo-Art player organ developed by the firm in 1915 enabled the accurate recording of many of the famous organists of the early twentieth century, including Vierne, Dupré, Bonnet, Bossi, Lemare and Pietro Yon. [3] There thus exists an important archive of performance practices among these rolls, and of some players who never made gramophone recordings.

In observing the firm’s output, Smith notes that “the most common sized Aeolian organ was the II/9 [2 manuals, 9 ranks], of which 70 were built, followed by II/12 (69), and II/11 (59).” [4] The largest and most famous Aeolian instrument (IV/146) was that built in 1929 for Pierre S. du Pont at “Longwood”, Kennett Square, Pennsylvania.

Opus 1329, only one of four sent to Australia,  was supplied to the “Pianola Company”, of George Street Sydney, for installation in the Bellevue Hill residence of the Hon. Hugh McIntosh, a member of the NSW State Parliament. It was a typical II/12 model, with ten ranks on the manuals using the “duplex” principle (whereby both manuals share the same stops), two on the Pedal, together with chimes that when muted made a “harp” register.  (This latter effect has been disconnected).  Opus 1329 was acquired some time later by Mr C.A. Westbrook, of Vaucluse and was sold to Wesley Church for £750 in 1935, after enquiries and negotiations had been carried out by a church committee, guided by the church choirmaster and prominent Sydney organbuilder, S.T. Noad. The instrument was dedicated in a service held on 4 September 1935. [5]

Noad rebuilt the console and relay system with the roll playing mechanism removed. Some console features have, however, survived – notably the pedalboard, swell and crescendo pedals and the nameplate. The colouration of the stopkeys on the rebuilt console is typical of Noad’s practice of the mid-20th century, with white used for fluework, red for reeds and black for couplers and accessories.
The organ also originally had an impressive timber case, rich in carving and with 19 display pipes, but this was removed in 1963 when the front of the church was remodelled as a memorial to Ethel May Sismey.  In July 1967 a new blower was provided by S.T. Noad & Son – it was manufactured by the British Organ Blowing Company of Derby, UK. Apart from the new blower, the organ has had little work done on it in recent years and the original 1915 electro-magnets, Pitman action windchests and bellows are still in place.  The excellent quality pipework is mostly in good condition, although bellows leather has perished and components in the relay system and Pitman actions have begun to fail, creating dead notes throughout the compass.  The Clarinet rank, with free reeds (a characteristic of Aeolian organs), is virtually unplayable. 

Features of the instrument are its two beautiful flute stops, a rich Diapason, lush string stops and colourful reeds, including a powerful trumpet and mellow Clarinet.  The combination of Vox Humana and tremulant produces a sound strongly characteristic of American theatre organs.  As the organ was never intended for church use, there is a noticeable lack of chorus development and this has always been remarked on by local and visiting organists:  to accompany the singing of large congregations, the player must invariably resort to the Trumpet stop, used with the octave and sub-octave couplers for power and brilliance.  As there is room inside the chamber, it could be easily possible to make discrete additions that do not in any way affect the operation of what is a most distinctive and unusual musical instrument.

The specification is as follows – note that there are no pitch designations on the stopkeys provided by Noad.

Great
Open Diapason 
Stop Diapason 
String 8
Celeste 
Gamba 
Flute
Trumpet  
Oboe 8
Clarinet 
Vox Humana 
Chimes

Swell (duplexed)
Open Diapason 
Stop Diapason 
String 
Celeste 
Gamba 
Flute
Trumpet 
Oboe 
Clarinet 
Vox Humana 
Tremulant

Pedal
Bourdon
Echo Bourdon

Couplers
Sw Sub Oct
Sw Oct
Gt Oct
Gt Sub
Sw to Gt
Sw to Gt Oct
Gt to Ped
Sw to Ped


Electro-pneumatic action
Compass 61/30
Swell and crescendo balanced pedals
3 pistons per manual
No. of pipes = 658

8
8
8
8
8
4
8
8
8
8



8
8
8
8
8
4
8
8
8
8



16
16





















Photos: Trevor Bunning April 2010





  1. Rollin Smith, The Aeolian Pipe Organ and its Music. Richmond, Virginia, USA: The Organ Historical Society Press, 1998.

  2. Ibid., 6.

  3. ibid, xvii.

  4. Ibid., 66.

  5. Information from Kelvin Hastie “Change and Decay: Music Making in the Methodist Churches of NSW, 1902-77”. Ph.D. thesis, University of Sydney, 2003, 420.