Hayden Orpheum Theatre
Military Road, Cremorne

WurliTzer 3/13, 1925 Theatre Organ

Instrument History

This Opus 1217 Style 235NP was built in 1925. It has a colourful history. Orignally installed Wilson Theater, Fresno, California, it was sold in 1973, extensively releathered and installed into the Organ Power Pizza #1 in San Diego until its closure.

A Canberra businessman, John Hamm purchased the organ in 1981 and imported it to Australia for a proposed Planetarium, but the project fell through. The WurliTizer was once again put up for sale. It was sold to John Robinson who had planned to install the organ in the Powerhouse Museum as a memorial to his late wife Ruth. This plan was delayed indefinitely when Government funds ran out.

Hayden Theatres purchased the instrument as an integral feature of the $2,500,000 restoration of the opulent Art Deco Orpheum Theatre at Cremorne. The original specification was 11 ranks, however the addition of an English Post Horn (WurliTizer reproduction) made by Trivo and a Robert Morton Trumpet brought it to 13 ranks.

In December 1999 under the direction of Neil Jensen, the Orpheum Picture Palace 3/13 WurliTizer was extensively updated. The original 1925 relay has been replaced by a state-of-the-art Uniflex 2000 Computer Relay System. Additionally, the console was completely restored, incorporating an exciting and dramatically expanded specification which was designed by Simon gledhill (UK) and Neil Jensen. MIDI (musical instrument digital interface) was incorporated into the new spec, giving an enriched and considerably wider palette of tone colour. Nevill Wearne (Semelec Organ Service), electrical engineer for the project, installed the Uniflex 2000 System and completely rewired the organ.

An assessment of the acoustical environment of the Orpheum Theatre was carried out, resulting in the relocation of the swell shutter openings. This gives the instrument a clear, brilliant, uninterrupted, and dazzling sound!

The specificaiton is:


Voix Celeste
Concert Flute
Open Diapason


Marimba Harp
Toy Counter


Orchestral Oboe
Tibia Clausa
Harmonic Tuba
Vox Humana
Post Horn

8' - 2'
16' - 2'
16' - 4'

8' - 2'
16' - 4'

Photo and information compiled from the TOSA website