The Wayside Chapel Bondi
(formerly Chapel-by-the-Sea Uniting Church)

Roscoe Street, Bondi Beach

Whitehouse Bros, Brisbane, 1927, for the Methodist Church, Wellington Street, Bondi
2 manuals, 11 speaking stops, 8 couplers, tubular-pneumatic action
Additions 1952 Whitehouse Bros, Brisbane
2 manuals, 13 speaking stops, 8 couplers, tubular-pneumatic action
Rebuilt, reduced in size and installed in present location 1971 S.T. Noad & Son, Sydney
2 manuals, 9 speaking stops, 6 couplers, electro-pneumatic action
Broken up 2019 (parts sold to David Cahill, Warwick, Qld)


The Wayside Chapel Bondi
(formerly Chapel-by-the-Sea Uniting Church, Bondi Beach)
[Photograph by Graham Anson (December 2016)]



Historical and Technical Documentation by Kelvin Hastie
© OHTA 2008, 2014, 2019 (last updated October 2019)1


The Methodist congregation at Bondi dates from 1889,2 and the foundation stone of a new church in Wellington Street was laid on 18 August 1906.3 The congregation relocated to the 'Chapel-by-the-sea' at Roscoe Street, Bondi Beach, in 1971, which became known as The Wayside Chapel Bondi in July 2016.

The Methodist Church, Wellington Street, Bondi
[Photograph: State Library of NSW (796137)]

The organ was built in 1927 by Whitehouse Bros of Brisbane at a cost of £1,055.4 It was photographed under construction in the Whitehouse Bros factory in Brisbane in June that year:

The Bondi pipe organ being built by Whitehouse Bros in their organ factory at Red Hill, Brisbane
[Photograph: The Brisbane Courier (20 June 1927), p. 16]


The instrument was opened and dedicated at Bondi on Sunday 18 December 1927, and a recital of organ and choral works, at which the organist was Owen W. Holland, was presented on the following Tuesday evening.5

Initially consisting of 11 stops, the organ was identical to the one supplied to the Methodist Church, Hurstville, two years later in 1929. Organs with very similar specifications were supplied by Whitehouse Bros for St Andrew's Presbyterian Church, Inverell, NSW (1927), the Methodist Church, Toowoomba, QLD (1928), St Paul's Anglican Church, Roma, QLD (1929) and St Paul's Presbyterian Church, Armidale, NSW (1929). Both the Bondi and Hurstville organs were subsequently enlarged by Whitehouse Bros with a prepared-for Great Clarinet 8ft and Swell Celeste 8ft: the additions at Bondi dating from 1952 and Hurstville from 1963.6

Perhaps the most bizarre organ transfer involved the reduction in size of the 1927 Bondi instrument, after its removal by S.T. Noad & Son to the nearby "Chapel-by-the-Sea" in 1971. In order to save space and provide an instrument more in keeping with a more intimate acoustic, the Great Open Diapason 8ft and Dulciana 8ft were removed, as were the Swell Echo Gamba 8ft and Oboe 8ft. The action was electrified and the console reduced in size. The result was an instrument whose scaling is too large for the room and one with an irrational specification, the Great reduced to two large-scaled flutes and a Clarinet.

What remained of the original instrument was broken up in late 2019, when it was sold to David Cahill of Warwick.7

The reduced pipe organ at The Wayside Chapel Bondi
[Photographs by Graham Anson (December 2016)]

The original specification was:

[Open Diapason]
Stop Diapason
Harmonic Flute

Horn Diapason
Lieblich Gedact
[Echo Gamba]
Vox Celeste (sic)
Geigan Principal (sic)

Bass Flute

Great to Pedal
Swell to Pedal
Swell to Great
Swell Sub-Octave to Great
Swell Octave to Great
Swell Octave
Swell Sub-Octave
Great Octave




[removed 1971]

[removed 1971]

[prepared for 1927; installed 1952]

[removed 1971]
[prepared for 1927; installed 1952]

[removed 1971]


Tubular-pneumatic action
Swell tremulant
Compass 61/30
Detached stop-key console
Balanced Swell pedal
Three pistons for Great
Two pistons for Swell.8


Interior of The Wayside Chapel Bondi
[Photograph by Graham Anson (December 2016)]


1 Much of the material presented here was published first in: Kelvin Hastie, 'Whitehouse in New South Wales: What Survives?' OHTA News, vol. 32, no. 2 (April 2008), p. 15.

2 Margaret Green, Reaching out: A history of Methodism of the Bondi (Wellington Street) Circuit. Written to mark its Centenary Year 1989 [Bondi, N.S.W., 1989.]

3 The Sydney Morning Herald (20 August 1906), p. 9.

4 Whitehouse Bros Ledger (1922-1940), p. 310.

5 'Bondi Methodist Church: Opening and Dedication of new Organ 18 December 1927,' cited in Graeme Rushworth, Historic Organs of New South Wales (Sydney: Hale & Iremonger, 1988), p. 205. See also: The Methodist (3 September 1927), p. 16; (24 December 1927), p. 15.

6 Kelvin Hastie, 'Change and Decay: Music Making in the Methodist Churches of New South Wales, 1902-77' (PhD thesis, University of Sydney, 2003), p. 447.

7 Personal communication to Geoffrey Cox from David Cahill of Warwick, Qld, October 2019.

8 Details noted by the author for the Hurstville instrument during an inspection in August 1998.