St Mark's Anglican Church

39 Jamieson Street, Granville

First organ: see Kirrawee. Residence of the late Donald McDonald

Second organ: C.W. Leggo 1927 for Methodist Church, Haberfield.
Installed 1974 by Ian D. Brown and volunteers.
Broken up 1988 with parts removed to South Australia.

Present organ: Telford & Son 1890,
enlarged 1935 C.W. Leggo and 1968 Hill, Norman & Beard
(2/14 mechanical and electro-magnetic)






Second Organ: Historical and Technical Documentation by Kelvin Hastie 2023

Third Organ:
Historical and Technical Documentation by John Hanna
(Sydney Organs Facebook Group: facebook.com/groups/sydneyorgans) 2023.









Two photos of the former Trinity School, Kelso (John Hanna, October 2023)


Part 1 - The Organ at Kelso


Unravelling the history of the organ of St Mark’s Anglican Church, Granville, is not as simple as it should be. The existing written accounts are contradictory to some extent, so this account will be an attempt to do the best I can with the information available.

The organ was manufactured by the Telford firm of 109 St Stephen’s Green, Dublin. The builder’s name is almost universally quoted as “Telford & Telford,” yet the English National Pipe Organ Register says that this business name was used only from 1847 to 1870 when it was changed to “Telford & Sons,” and that the business was known under this name until it ceased to trade as a separate entity in 1932.1 NPOR quotes sources for this information, as well as setting out details of the changes in the firm’s composition, so I am inclined to think what is said there is correct.

Telford—in its various incarnations—was a builder of repute. According to Graeme Rushworth, “the firm’s work was regarded as the Irish counterpart of Henry Willis in England, and the Telford name became the most well-known of the organ builders in Ireland in the 19th century.”2 Apparently, the firm made a specialty of 6 rank instruments, which usually just had a single manual.

The organ was ordered for the Trinity School at Kelso, which was part of Holy Trinity Church of England. The National Advocate of 25 June 1927 (page 5) reported:

One of the first church buildings at Kelso was the present school house, at the bottom of the hill, which must be quite a hundred years old. It was a Denominational School for many years, and, after Mr. Keane’s private academy was closed, was the only place available for educational purposes.

The school house was also used for Sunday School purposes.

It has not to date been possible to locate a photograph of the schoolhouse/old parish hall.

The organist/choirmaster of Holy Trinity was Charles J. Phillips, who had arrived in Australia in 1881 and settled in Bathurst where he taught singing, piano and organ and conducted local musical groups. The Sydney Mail (13 July 1889, page 103) noted that Phillips was about to depart for Europe. He eventually returned—with a wife—a year later and moved to Sydney, but in the meantime his father, Charles F. Phillips, had arranged for the Telford firm to build an organ for the Holy Trinity schoolroom. According to The Australian Star (22 January 1891, p. 3), the organ was “built in accordance with an order received through Mr Charles Phillips, organist of St Anne’s [sic] Anglican [sic] Church” in Dublin. [St Ann’s, Dawson Street, Dublin, was in fact a Church of Ireland. Curiously, Wikipedia states that its organist from 1881 until his death in 1892 was Arthur St George Patton3] It continued:

The instrument is a two-bench one, with full compass of pedals, and is enclosed in a walnut case, with decorated front pipes.
The cost of manufacture was £175.

Freeman’s Journal of 21 February 1891 (page 20) reported that the organ ordered had been built “specially to the requirements of the Church of England, Kelso” and had “been erected this week in Trinity Schoolroom.” It was installed by Mr Denmark of W. H. Paling & Co. The instrument was opened on Friday 20 February 1891 with a recital by Mr C. W. Naylor. The two-manual, 6 stop instrument was described as “sweet and mellow in tone, and admirably adapted for services and entertainment, for which it will be used.” Its original specification was as follows:

Great
Open Diapason
Principal

Swell
Salicional
Oboe
Dulciana

Pedal
Bourdon

Couplers
Swell to Great
Great to Pedal
Swell to Pedal

8
4


8
8
8


16





 

Mechanical action

Compass 56/30


At some stage the schoolroom ceased to be used for school purposes and became the parish hall. As a result, the organ fell into disuse. As early as 1911, there was a proposal to dispose of it. In the 1920s, a small amount was spent on essential repairs, and in May and June 1928 the instrument was advertised in The Church Standard as being for sale for £300. It failed to attract a buyer.


Part 2 - The Epping Years

In August 1935, Oscar Abram—the rector of St Alban’s, Epping, from 1931 to 1939—announced that he was “on the lookout for a second-hand pipe organ.” If he couldn’t find an appropriate instrument, he was prepared to spend £500 on having a new one built.

After he had inspected one or two organs in Sydney, Abram’s attention was drawn to the Telford instrument. He took a trip to Kelso where he heard it and formed the view that it was “too good an opportunity to let go, especially as it could be procured at a very reasonable price.” Once again, Holy Trinity asked £300, but it was prepared to accept £200, with £50 to be paid immediately and the balance to be met within 6 months.
Charles Leggo, the Sydney organ builder, was engaged to remove the organ, transport it to Sydney and rebuild and enlarge it to suit the requirements of the St Alban’s building. According to Graeme Rushworth:

The contracted price with Leggo was £212 15s and included additional stops, alteration to the arrangement of the display pipes, and the provision of extra casework with some dummy pipes to cover the hole enabling egress of sound from the organ chamber into the nave at St Alban’s Church. The organ was enlarged to 11 stops by the addition of a Clarabella 8’ and moving the Dulciana from the Swell to the Great; addition of a Violin Diapason 8’, Gedact [sic: the spelling “Gedeckt” is used on the stop knob] 8’ and Gemshorn 4’ to the Swell; addition of an octave of Bourdon pipes and conversion of the pedal to pneumatic action to provide a Bass Flute 8’ by extension. A tremulant and an electric blower were fitted.4

It was almost certainly at this time that the display pipes were repainted—in silver.

The new organ was dedicated by Archdeacon Langley on 12 December 1935. The Te Deum Laudamus was the first piece of music to be publicly accompanied on the new instrument and the first anthem was the “Gloria” from Mozart’s Twelfth Mass. A number of public recitals followed, the first given by Frank Johnston, the organist of St John’s, Parramatta.

By 1967, it was apparent that work needed to be done on the instrument, and a subcommittee was formed to advise on the way forward. Various options were considered. Ultimately it was decided to renovate the Telford, the work including “the provision of a new quiet blower to supply the wind” and making good “the numerous air leaks, rattles and the like.” Hill, Norman & Beard (Aust.) Pty Ltd were engaged to do the work, which began in June 1968. The total cost was $4,900. To again quote Rushworth:

Stops added at this time were a Fifteenth 2’ to the Great, a Mixture III to the Swell and the Pedal Bourdon was further extended to provide a Flute 4’.5

The additional stops had been recommended for the purpose of “adding brightness and richness to the tone of the instrument.”

As part of the work, the display pipes were repainted in gold.

The enlarged organ was rededicated at a special service of Evensong on 20 October 1968.

By mid-1976, the Church was dealing with complaints that the organ was difficult to hear when the church was full. The organist at that time was Christa Rumsey, and her opinion was sought. She considered that the Telford was under-powered, poorly located and unworthy of further renovation or rebuilding. After further discussion, it was decided that a new organ should be obtained. The new instrument, built by F. Létourneau, of Quebec, Canada, was dedicated on 18 October 1981—and the Telford was again up for sale.


Part 3 – En route to Granville

There were apparently few prospective purchasers for the Telford. St Mark’s Anglican Church, Granville, was interested as it was looking to replace its unreliable Leggo organ. Unfortunately, it was unable to raise the amount asked by St Alban’s, so the Telford remained at Epping.

To continue the story, we must now move to another location. In the early 1980s, the three churches comprising the Galston Parish of the Uniting Church decided to combine forces, dispose of their existing buildings and build a new parish centre. In 1985 a site was chosen, and Galston Uniting Church opened on 22 October 1988.

One of the Galston members happened to be organ builder Ian Brown. Once plans had been drawn up for a new building, Ian was asked as to what suitable redundant organs might be available. He knew of several possibilities, but advised that the best choice would be the Forster & Andrews organ in the former Bourke Street Congregational Church, Darlinghurst. The Fellowship of Congregational Churches had sold the building in 1984 on the basis that the organ was to be removed within 5 years.

An organ subcommittee—comprised of several other Galston members—was constituted and negotiations were opened with the Fellowship with a view to seeking to purchase the instrument. There were, however, other interested parties. In early July 1986, Galston was informed that the Forster & Andrews was to be sold to SCEGGS Redlands, Cremorne. Galston offered to pay a higher purchase price, but the Fellowship’s view was that a deal had been done. It did, however, add that it would advise Galston in the unlikely event that the sale fell through.

In those circumstances, the way forward was obvious: Galston would pursue its second choice: the Telford at Epping. A deal was quickly done lest that instrument also became unavailable.

What happened next was totally unexpected. Wikipedia drily recounts:

On or about 14 August 1986, the Galston congregation was notified that SCEGGS Redlands were undecided about finalising the purchase of the Forster and Andrews organ. Purchase of the organ by the Galston congregation was concluded by 25 August 1986, for the sum of $8,500.6

As a result, by January 1987 Galston had two organs in its possession: a Telford that needed work and a Forster & Andrews that required even more work. The plan had always been to refurbish the new Galston organ using volunteer labour under the supervision of Ian Brown. In the circumstances, it made sense to precede that work by refurbishing the Telford. This would make it a much more attractive proposition for sale and provide much needed cash to help fund the restoration of the Forster & Andrews.

The upshot was that the Telford was refurbished. At some stage of the process, the Telford Oboe rank was replaced by a Trumpet. The refurbished organ was then sold to St Mark’s, Granville, for $20,000. It was installed by Ian’s volunteer team and dedicated in May 1988.

The current specification is:

Great
Open Diapason
Clarabella
Dulciana
Principal
Fifteenth

Swell
Violin Diapason
Gedect
Salicional
Gemshorn
Mixture
Trumpet
Tremulant

Pedal
Bourdon
Bass Flute
Octave Flute

Couplers
Swell to Great
Swell to Pedal
Great to Pedal

8
8
8
4
2


8
8
8
4
III
8



16
8
4









+








*



A
A
A





Mechanical action to manuals
Electric and electro-pneumatic action to pedal and pedal stops

Compass 56/30

* one published specification has Oboe 8'
+ one published specification has Octave 4'

 


1 The National Pipe Organ Register (NPOR) is Provided by the British Institute of Organ Studies and managed under an agreement with the Royal College of Organists. See: npor.org.uk

2 Graeme Rushworth, Historic Organs of New South Wales: the instruments, their makers and players, 1791-1940 (Sydney: Hale & Iremonger, 1998), 329.

3 Wikipedia article St Ann’s Church Dawson Street https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/St._Ann%27s_Church,_Dawson_Street accessed 4 June 2023.

4 Graeme Rushworth, op. cit., 330.

5 ibid.

6 Wikipedia article Galston Congregational Church Pipe Organ https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Galston_Congregational_Church_Pipe_Organ
accessed 4 June 2023.

In addition to the sources quoted in the text, I have made reference to material supplied by St Alban’s, Epping, Archivist Brian Haywood, in particular extracts from Only the Years: The Centenary History of the Anglican Parish of St Alban Epping by Nigel Hubbard and historical articles published in the St Alban’s Parish Magazine.

In conversation on 11 February 2023, Ian Brown provided me with comprehensive details of the action taken by Galston Uniting in relation to obtaining an organ.

Sydney Organs Facebook Group inspected the Telford organ on 6 February 2023.









Dickson Chan (St Mark's Organist)


























All photos supplied by John Hanna (June 2023)