Uniting Church (formerly Methodist)
Bay Street, Rockdale

G. Smith 1908, 2m., 9 sp.st., mech. and tub. pn action

From OHTA News April 1982:

The first pipe organ installed in this historic sandstone church was a small single-manual instrument of unknown origin. In 1908 it was incorporated into a small two-manual organ by G.A. Smith of Double Bay. [1] Matthews records Smith as having worked in New Zealand in the late 1890's and having obtained pipes from George Fincham & Son in 1903. [2] The only other organ known to have been built by this builder is in the Petersham Presbyterian Church.

During the 1960's the organ became in need of restoration, however advice suggested the costly rebuilding of the organ with electric action. Plans were shelved and an electronic substitute was installed. In the late 1970s, it was realised that the life of the electronic instrument would soon be at its end and the possibility of restoring the pipe organ was raised. In September 1979 a report by Chris Sillince and Kelvin Hastie was received by the church and acted upon. A fund-raising effort started under the direction of an organ Restoration Committee, and much credit is due to the Rev. and Mrs Graydon Swain for their enthusiastic support of the project. Mrs Graydon Swain is a member of the Uniting Church (N.S.W.) Synod Music Committee .

The quotation of Messrs Pitchford & Garside was accepted and the restoration work was completed in 1981. The organ was re-opened on Sunday 15 November 1981 and the guest recitalist was David Drury, a Conservatorium student, who played works by Bach, Flor Peeters, Gibbons and Mendelssohn.

Whilst the tonal scheme appears very limited, the instrument is quite adequate for service accompaniment. The quality of all ranks is excellent, Smith displaying much skill in voicing.

The specification is:

Open Diapason
Stop Diapason
Harmonic Flute

Open Diapason
Viol d'Orchestre
Geigen Principal


Great to Pedal
Swell to Pedal
Swell to Great
Swell Octave




Compass: 58/30
mechanical action to manuals
tubular-pneumatic action to pedals
2 composition pedals
trigger Swell [3]

1. Bay street Uniting Church, Rockdale, Pipe Organ Restoration Celebration Booklet, November 15: 1981: p.3
2. E.N. Matthews, Colonial Organs and Organbuilders Carlton, Vic.: Melbourne University Press 1969 pp.227-228
3. Spec. noted Kelvin Hastie 1973

Photos: MQ (Jan 2010)