St Peter's Anglican Church

207 Pacific Highway, Hornsby

George Fincham & Son, Melbourne, 1904, for St Stephen's Anglican Church, Willoughby
Installed in current location 1929 C.W. Leggo, Sydney
2 manuals, 16 speaking stops, tubular-pneumatic action(?)
Damaged by bushfire 1957
Rebuilt 1959 Whitehouse Bros, Brisbane
2 manuals, 19 speaking stops, electro-pneumatic action




St Peter's Anglican Church, Hornsby
[Photograph by Greg Cunningham (25 April 2013)]

Historical and Technical Documentation by Geoff Lloyd
© OHTA 2014 (last updated May 2014)1

Hornsby, a northern suburb 24 km from the Sydney GPO, is at the junction of the Main Northern and North Shore railway lines. The suburb was named after a Constable Horne who experienced altercation with a bushranger.

St Peter's Church is on the old Pacific Highway, just to the north of the business part of the town. There is a foundation stone on the much altered hall - 27 February 1898. Presumably this was the original church. The foundation stone on the present church is dated 27 October 1923.

The organ faces the choir from a chamber on the south side of the chancel, occupying what would have been part of the vestry. The show pipes are of the Great Diapason in a flat of eleven flanked by a tower of five on each side. It is believed that this disposition remains unchanged from the time of the original installation.

Within the casework beneath the front pipes may be seen the original sliding panels of the attached console, which existed before the current detached console was provided. There is a brass plate on the impost above the original playing position:

This organ is the gift of the people for the Glory of God
and the praise of his Holy Name. 27.11.1929.





The 1904 George Fincham organ at St Peter's Hornsby
[Photographs by Greg Cunningham (25 April 2013)]

The organ was built by George Fincham & Son of Melbourne in 1904 for St Stephen's Anglican Church, Willoughby [Chatswood]. Graeme Rushworth gives the specification as 2/20/tp,2 apparently on the basis of the following notice in The Sydney Morning Herald:

The dedication of the new pipe organ recently installed at St. Stephen's Church, Chatswood, took place on Thursday evening. The instrument is a handsome and necessary addition to the church. It is what is known as a two-manual pipe organ with 20 stops, 12 on the grand and eight on the swell. It is from the well-known Melbourne makers, Messrs. George Fincham and Son, and was acquired on the recommendation of Mr. Arthur Mason, city organist, for the sum of £380. While provision was being made for the reception of the organ, the opportunity was taken to make several additions and alterations to the church itself. A new chancel has been added, which forms an apsidal ending to the fine edifice the choir stalls have been improved and enlarged, and the clergyman's vestry has also been remodelled. The whole work was carried out under tho direction of Mr. E. A. Scott, architect, at a cost, inclusive of the organ, of £700, towards which £500 has already been subscribed.3

The following specification bears out Rushworth's 2/20 (actually 2/16/4 and neglecting the Tremulant stop) but it has been the present author's impression that the action was mechanical to manuals and couplers with pneumatics applied to the pedal Bourdon to obtain two stops in that department.

The specification of the organ, as noted in the 1950s (and presumably as installed in 1929) was:

GREAT
Double Diapason
Open Diapason
Flute
Dulciana
Principal
Flute
Fifteenth

SWELL
Open Diapason
Stop Diapason
Gamba
Salicet
Fifteenth
Cornopean
Oboe

PEDAL
Bourdon
Flute

COUPLERS
Swell Octave
Swell to Great
Swell to Pedals
Great to Pedals

16
8
8
8
4
4
2


8
8
8
4
2
8
8


16
8







[Ten.C] [stopped wood]

[wood; stopped pipes from middle C downwards]
[gvd bass]





[gvd bass]

[gvd bass]






A
A






Compass 56/30
Attached drawstop console, with flat jambs
Swell tremulant
3 combination pedals to Swell
3 combination pedals to Great
Hitchdown swell pedal

In was in 1929 that the organ was sold and moved to St Peter's, Hornsby, where it was installed by C.W. Leggo.4

On Saturday 30 November 1957 a bushfire damaged part of the church, which resulted in the roof collapsing onto the organ with devastating effect. The water directed into the fire by the firefighters added considerably to the damage to the organ.

Thankfully it was possible in time to restore the building and to rebuild the organ. A detached console was provided at this time and located on the north side of the choir. A plate in the roll-top console indicates:

Whitehouse Bros. Brisbane 1959







Detached console on the north side of the choir, opposite the organ
[Photographs by Greg Cunningham (25 April 2013)]

Apparently it was possible to re-use much of the Fincham pipework and the resulting specification, as it stands today, is:

GREAT
Double Diapason
Open Diapason
Clarabella
Dulciana
Principal
Flute
Fifteenth

SWELL
Open Diapason
Stop Diapason
Gamba
Voix Celeste
Geigan [sic] Principal
Salicet
Fifteenth
Cornopean
Oboe

PEDAL
Bourdon
Violone
Bass Flute

COUPLERS
Swell Super Octave
Swell Sub Octave
Swell to Great
Swell to Pedal
Swell to Great Super
Swell to Great Sub
Great to Pedal

16
8
8
8
4
4
2


8
8
8
8
4
4
2
8
8


16
16
8










A











[Ten.C]








A










Detached drawstop console
Compass 61/30
Swell tremulant
Balanced swell pedal
Concave and radiating pedalboard
Electro-pneumatic action
4 pistons to Swell
4 pistons to Great
Full organ reversible thumb piston and indicator lamp
3 toe pistons to Pedal
Great to Pedal reversible toe piston
Swell to Great reversible piston

The Great Double Diapason is of full compass and is of flute tone, being of stopped pipes at least in the bass. The same rank appears as the Pedal Violone (!) and is more powerful (and more uneven) than the Pedal Bourdon.





Stop Jambs of the Whitehouse console
[Photographs by Greg Cunningham (25 April 2013)]

There was an Organ and Vocal Recital on Sunday on Sunday 16 October 1960 when the organist was Mr Mervyn Byers and baritone was Mr Noel Melvin. The Choirs of St Peter's Church also took part.



St Peter's Anglican Church, Hornsby
[Photograph by Greg Cunningham (25 April 2013)]

 

 


1 Most of the material presented here first appeared as part of: Geoff Lloyd, 'The Organ in St Peter's Anglican Church, Hornsby,' The Sydney Organ Journal, vol. 21, no. 6 (December 1990/January 1991), pp. 25-27.

2 Graeme Rushworth, Historic Organs of New South Wales (Sydney: Hale & Iremonger, 1988), p. 187.

3 The Sydney Morning Herald (30 January 1904), p. 9.

4 St Peter's, Hornsby, Parish Council minutes, May-August 1929, cited in Rushworth, op. cit, pp. 187, 450.