The Organ Society of Western Australia

HomeAbout usMembershipContact UsEventsIn The PipelineLinksW A Pipe Organs

The Organ Society of Western Australia (Inc.) recognises people in the community who have made an extraordinary contribution to organs and organ music in Western Australia by conferring on them Life Membership.

The process of Life Membership is explained in the Constitution:
Life Membership shall be conferred by the Annual General Meeting at its discretion upon a member of not less than five years' standing, in recognition of outstanding service to the Society. Nominations for Life Membership shall first be considered by the Committee, and, if agreed, recommended to the Annual General Meeting. Such nominations shall be included in the notification of business of the Annual General Meeting.

Those who have been conferred Life Membership are recorded in the roll of honour shown hereunder:

Dr. Robert Baker
Foundation Member
Noted for his commitment and efforts to rejuvenate the Organ Society of Western Australia in the 1970's.

“Robert Baker was the secretary of the Society from June 1972, until March 1973, when he left to take up an appointment in the Eastern States. In that comparatively short time, Robert did an immense amount of work for the Society, not only as secretary, but also in helping to organize the Organ Festival and the Bach Recitals, not to mention starting this magazine!” Organ News Vol. 1 No. 10 May 1973
Mr. Dudley Bastian
Foundation Member
Convener of the inaugural OSWA meeting , 24th August 1966 at 3 Baker Avenue, Perth
First secretary/treasurer 1966 - 1967

“It was through Dudley Bastian’s initiative that the Organ Society of Western Australia was founded. He was closely associated with the Society until his departure for England in 1968 to study, successfully, for his F.R.C.O. On his return in 1972, he was elected onto the committee of the Organ Society, an office which he held until last month, when he resigned owing to other commitments, notably the directorship of the R.S.C.M. conference. He is at present Organist and Choirmaster of Christ Church Grammar School.” Organ News Vol. 1 No. 10 May 1973

Found and shipped an organ from Kent to  Kelmscott as requested by St.-Mary-in the-Valley,  1969 (unknown, 1750)
Found and shipped an organ from Nottingham to Perth for a private home, 1972  ( E Wragg  1905)
Found and shipped an organ from Yarmouth to Wembley as requested by  St Edmund's, 1993 (WC Mack 1887 )
Repaired to playing order, and applied for National Trust Heritage Classification  for 1893 Norman & Beard organ. St. Patrick's Anglican Church Mt Lawley ( granted, 1997)
Mr. Frank Dawson
Died 1998
Past president (1979).
A remarkable musician and a quiet achiever.

“Frank Dawson has been President of the Society for four of the past five years. Before that he was a member of the Committee for several years. Frank has been instrumental in holding the Society together through some pretty thin times. He has done a lot of work behind the scenes and deserves the congratulations of the Society.” Moved Len Leon, carried unanimously.

(Citation as recorded in OSWA AGM Minutes 1980) A former employee in the Civil Service, Frank was in his leisure time an assistant organist at the Mt Lawley Forrest Park Methodist Church, taking over in 1971 from the then organist, Bob Elms, when he moved to Albany. In 1985 the church was closed (it is now a Restaurant) and the organ, along with Frank himself, was moved to the Uniting Church at Maylands. Frank was a stickler for correct protocol, had mastery of the Constitution and beware anyone who might try to sidestep the rules. Similarly, Secretaries would need to avoid overlooking any items of business in their Minutes. Following his retirement, Frank could be relied upon to fully interrogate the Treasurer’s financial statements at an AGM.
Mr. Doug Miller
Past president (1982)

“Doug Miller has been a member of the Committee for most of the Society’s life and was instrumental in the foundation of the Society. Doug has been a staunch supporter of the Society through thick and thin and has helped organise venues and people for different functions.” Moved Len Leon, carried unanimously.

(Citation as recorded in OSWA AGM Minutes 1980) As a reflection of his inherent modesty, when nominated in 1983 for a second term as President, Doug indicated a preference expressed at an earlier Committee meeting that the President should be a practicing organist. Organist he might not be but a significant number of organs in Perth benefited greatly from his skill as a cabinet-maker.
Rev. Alex Bateman
Past president (1980).

“It was moved by the Chairman, and on the recommendation of the Committee, that the Rev Alex Bateman be made a Life-Member of the Society. In moving his motion the Chairman paid tribute to the long service given to the Society by Alex, as a member, on the Committee, as its President and recently, as the Immediate Past-President. At all time Alex had sought to support the Society in all aspects of its objectives; frequently introducing new members, giving recitals, meeting visitors and encouraging youngsters to view the organ and its music as interesting and worth listening to. Carried with acclaim.”

(Citation as recorded in OSWA AGM Minutes 1984) Alex Bateman continued his ‘front-line’ efforts for the Society serving as a General Committee member through to 1988. In the 1988 January/February issue of Music Maker he was the Society’s feature article, then later he received the singular honour of being made the City of Fremantle’s 1992 Australia Day Citizen of the Year (see ArtsWest — March / April 1992). [Insert 02&03 MM 6-1-1 Jan / Feb 1988 (1&2)]
Dr. Bill Loneragan
“President has the floor to F Dawson who suggested Life membership to be given to Dr W Loneragan after his many years as secretary AND provider of articles for ArtsWest. F Dawson elaborates on this suggestion. He then suggests to move this motion; R Dickinson supports the motion. The latter addresses the meeting about the Loneragan family, thanking the whole family for their participation and continuous support, “having added lustre to our whole group”. With great pleasure he seconds this motion. President asks if Dr Loneragan would accept his life membership or if he’d rather keep on paying his subscription fees. The reply is that he is impressed by the suggestion of life membership; he refers to the facts that G Revell introduced the Organ Society to him; he saw L Richards as chairman twice, D Miller and F Dawson “were his old buddies”. He also includes his wife Margaret’s help (as also mentioned by R Dickinson). The financial matter remains unanswered! L Richards replies to this that he has never been able to understand how Dr Loneragan could get his impeccable minutes as well as meet the recitalists as well as all the articles in ArtsWest magazine. The proposition to accept this motion is then made by the chairman. All agreed and applauded this new Life Member!”

(Citation as recorded in OSWA AGM Minutes 1994) My father, also Bill Loneragan and the Organist/Choirmaster at St John’s Anglican Church, Northam, had joined OSWA in 1975. Although very interested, I, who was not an organist, did not join until 1979, principally because I had not yet completed my PhD studies and felt that I could not afford the distraction. On the evening of the 1980 AGM I announced to my wife, Margaret, that I would go to my first OSWA meeting and if asked to join the Committee would accept but not an office. This AGM turned out to be one of those meetings where the old Committee was scratching around to form the new one and especially to find a Secretary. I said that I would accept a position but definitely not Secretary. I had never been one and besides, I wanted to first learn how OSWA functioned. The following Committee meeting I was prevailed upon to take the Minutes and it was some 13 years later, in 1993, before I handed the task over. I started piano lessons after 1980 and when I took my family in 1982 to Seattle for some 9 months study leave I had a repertoire of about two Grade 1 or Grade 2 piano pieces. However, the fact that I could say “I am the Secretary of OSWA” opened consoles and I had a wonderful time. In fact the Americans were incredibly generous in this respect. Margaret had also started to learn the flute while in Seattle, which made it all the more exciting doing duets, ad nauseam, with these same two pieces! On our return to Perth we extended our home and it gave us a wonderful opportunity to host recitalists from overseas and interstate who greatly appreciated being able to stay in a home rather than lodgings. We also held a number of the AGMs and other social functions, usually with a guest speaker. All in all it introduced a more social aspect to the Society and our gatherings never lacked for attendances. None of this could have been possible without the support and work of my dear wife Margaret and she deserves this honour of Life Membership as much, if not more, than myself. I appreciated the recognition Ron Dickinson gave to this fact in the above citation. In his remarks Len Richards queried how I was able to do the things I did. When work commitments prevented me, it was Margaret who met/farewell-ed recitalists and took them to practice sessions, etc. As to the ‘impeccable minutes’ I can now let you into a secret. As Secretary one does tend to know what is happening, the decisions to be made and what they will be, so I would basically write as much as I could of the minutes in advance, it saved time afterwards! My years involved with OSWA have undoubtedly been highlights of my life that continue to give me pleasure. It is the main reason I have been involved in the writing of the Society’s 50-year history and to have been asked to make such a contribution I regard as an immense honour.
Mr. Leonard Richards
19 September 1914 to 20 April 2003
Member and Committee Member of the Organ Society of Western Australia from July 1982 until his death.
President 1987 to 1990 and 1999 to 2003.
The "Len Richards Memorial Prize", set up in 2003, is given by the Organ Society at the Fremantle Eisteddfod in recognition of the years of service Len gave to the Society and the advancement of organs and organ music in Western Australia.  The prize is the Junior organ prize of that event.

“As there was a motion to be received that Mr Len Richards be awarded life membership of the Organ Society of W.A. (Inc.), the floor is handed to Mr D Bastian. He sums up how Mr Richards has been an example to us all, how under his chair the Society has done some very interesting activities, how “he insults with charm”, there is no more need for argument that this motion be accepted. Mrs C Leeflang moves; Mr K Faas seconds; Carried unanimously. The Chairman thanks Mr Bastian for his words and for the life Membership.”
Mr. Robert (Bob) Elms
Order of Australia Medal 2006.
In November 1972 Bob published the Gazetteer of Western Australian Pipe Organs, a documentation of the organs and history of organs in WA.  The Gazetteer was updated and re-published in
1999, 2003 and 2004.  It is now the basis of the on-line compendium of organs in WA maintained at the OSWA web site.

“On behalf of members and committee the President proposed that Life Membership of the Society be bestowed on Mr. J.R. (Bob) Elms for his contribution to the society since its inception. He was a foundation member, and after moving to Albany has been very active in the music life of that city. He produced the Gazetteer of Western Australian Pipe Organs, with a second edition in 1999. He is the State Representative of the Organ Historical Trust of Australia, and almost single handedly organised that OHTA Conference in Perth in 1993, arranging the programme, accommodation for visitors, tours etc. Bob has been Secretary of the Duke Street Wesley Church, Albany for 21 years, and takes a keen interest in the organs in the district. The President read a letter from Past President, Mr. Doug Miller, endorsing the proposal, and Mr. Dudley Bastian also added his recommendation. A unanimous show of hands endorsed the proposition. Bob thanked everyone present, and said he felt very honoured to be made a Life Member of the Society.”

(Citation as recorded in OSWA AGM Minutes 2001) Further details of Bob Elm’s contributions to the Society and the Organ Historical Trust Australia will be found in Chapter 6-Obituaries and Chapter 10-Heritage. Bob was further honoured in the Society’s 40 Anniversary year (2006) when he was awarded the Medal of the Order of Australia. The citation for the award was for his service to the Albany Community in music, sport and church activities. To this the Society would add his years of service to it since foundation and to the Organ Historical Trust of Australia.
Mr. Paul Hufner

Click for more detail
17 November 1918 to 30 August 2010

As shown below the intention had been to award Paul Life Membership at the AGM but, sadly, he passed away on 30 August 2010. The award was therefore made posthumously.

The following is an extract from the Minutes of the AGM held in October 2010. “The following notice of Motion had been recorded at 02 March 2010: I would like to propose Paul Hufner for Honorary Life Membership of OSWA. It is difficult for us, privileged to draw WA’s newest stop the “Cornucopean”, to realize how meagre were resources for organs and a courageous builder in the middle decades of the last Century. Not only has he the distinction of putting organ building on a commercial basis in WA for the first time, placing a real pipe organ within reach of many parish churches but also setting standards of craftsmanship. As the pipe organ heritage here rejoices in ever more exciting instruments and gifted players it is surely fitting that the Society acknowledge Paul’s contribution to it all. Moved Jim Rowlands (in absentia), seconded Graham Devenish. Carried unanimously [by the Committee].”

At the October AGM itself there was further discussion on the motion and it was sadly noted that Paul had subsequently passed away. The following new motion was put: “In recognition of the life and work of Paul F Hufner the Organ Society of Western Australia will honour him with Life Membership pre-dated to 2 March 2010 when the original notice on motion was endorsed by the Committee. The Life Membership will continue to be honoured for his wife Joy Hufner who will receive all benefits due to a Life Member of the Society. Moved Bruce Duncan, seconded by Graham Devenish. Carried.”
Mrs. Annette Goerke.
Mrs. Annette Goerke was appointed Cathedral organist at St. Mary’s Cathedral in Perth at the age of 17. She held this post for 18 years until she was appointed Director of Music at the Cathedral, and she held this post for another 25 years. In 1996 she received the Papal award 'Crucem Pro Ecclesia et Pontifice' for her long service to the Cathedral. In 1972 she was awarded a Churchill Fellowship for advanced organ studies and studied under Marie-Claire Alain in Paris, who must have instilled into her a love of French organ music, resulting in her becoming a widely acknowledged expert in the performance of compositions by Messiaen. She introduced many 20th Century organ works to the West Australian public. She has been acknowledged as one of Australia’s premier organists. She is University Organist at the University of Western Australia and has performed frequently with the WASO and on ABC Radio. She has also given special recitals for the benefit and pleasure of Society members. Her organ students include Ms. Anne Page, who is achieving notable success in England, and our present Committee member, Alessandro Pittorino.

She was a Foundation member of our Society and served on the Committee as Vice President and Acting President. She has been a Patron to our Society since 2003 and has happily continued in that role until the present day. She thus comes highly recommended for Life Membership of our Society and we would commend her as a Life Member.
Mr. John Larner.
John Larner was a Foundation Member of the Society and has served on the Committee. He became a student of Paul Hufner in 1958 and started independently as an organ builder in 1967. He spent a year in London and The Netherlands with Walkers and Stinkens respectively, to develop his knowledge of organ building. Thanks to John we have some beautiful organs in Western Australia, most notably the organ in the Guildford Grammar School Chapel. He built or rebuilt other organs as well: St. Andrew’s Uniting Church in Perth, St. Xavier’s Cathedral in Geraldton, Wesley Uniting Church in Perth and many other organs.
He has greatly assisted the Society by tuning organs for recitals given prior to AGM’s and by local and overseas artists, hosting visits to his factory and speaking at Society visits to new installations or rebuilds. He continues to be active in the promotion of pipe organs as worthy musical instruments in our modern society. He is also active in the Yarloop Workshops, where a nice organ is being built in unusual surroundings. 

Without John’s help the Society would not have been able to function as well as it has, and John comes highly recommended to become a Life Member.
Mrs Carine Leeflang
I thank you for the invitation to provide a recommendation to the Committee of the Organ Society of Western Australia that Mrs Carine Leeflang be proposed for Life Membership of the Society at the 2015 Annual General Meeting. To qualify for election to Life Membership the Constitution states: “Life Membership shall be conferred by the Annual General Meeting at its discretion upon a member of not less than five years’ standing, in recognition of outstanding service to the Society….” I believe Carine, as a long standing Member who has given exceptional and continuing service to the Society, is eminently qualified to be so honoured. I am unsure of just when Carine joined the Society but she accepted the position of Secretary on my retirement from that position in either 1991 or 1992. She continued as Secretary for some 8 years until the 1999 AGM when she relinquished that position but remained on the Committee as an ordinary Member for a further three years. In 2003 and 2004 Carine was elected the Society’s Vice-President then subsequently, Treasurer, the position she has held continuously to the present day. I am not aware of any other person who, over the almost 50 years of its existence, has held such a diversity of Offices and, as Secretary and Treasurer, for such lengths of time. In addition to the general duties of Minute keeping and managing the financial affairs of the Society, Carine has found time to support one of the Society’s major innovations—Dudley Bastian’s “Discover the Organ Day”. This long-standing annual event has had a significant impact in encouraging people to try their hand at the organ and to undertake further study of the instrument. Carine has participated as one of the tutors on a number of such occasions. Throughout these many years Carine has been tireless in her efforts to ensure that our Society’s functions, large and small, were properly and thoroughly organised, and well attended. She has hosted many gatherings for members at her home. In summary, Carine Leeflang has been and continues to be an outstanding, highly-respected and loved member of our Society. I trust my comments will be helpful to the Committee. With kind regards, Prof. William A. Loneragan

The motion that Carine Leeflang become a Life Member of OSWA has been moved, seconded and carried by the Committee at their meeting of 7 July 2015 at a time when Carine was absent on an overseas holiday.
Moved Adrian de Graaf, seconded Moya Sherlock. Carried.
Dominic Perissinotto
Citation for Honorary Life Membership of OSWA: 14 October 2017
Dominic Perissinotto

Life membership of the Organ Society of Western Australia is conferred by an Annual General Meeting at its discretion upon members of not less than five years’ standing in recognition of outstanding service to the Society.

Dominic arrived in Perth from Melbourne in April 1998 to take up the position of Organist and Director of Music at St Patrick’s Basilica, Fremantle. He came with well-established credentials having undertaken post-graduate studies at the Royal College of Music in London through a Fellowship awarded by the Winston Churchill Memorial Trust. This also provided opportunities to give recitals in the UK and Europe.

Once in Perth Dominic quickly established himself as one of the State’s leading musicians through his teaching, giving recitals not only locally, but elsewhere in Australia and overseas. Over the years he has received a number of grants from the Australia Council and Department of Culture and the Arts (WA); in 2001 he established Pipe Organ Plus that has now become a central music event based in Fremantle. Besides his Basilica activities he is also the Assistant Chorus Master for the University of Western Australia Choral Society. In 2012 he was inducted into the Australian Catholic College’s Hall of Fame for his services to the Arts.

Dominic first joined the Society in 1999 and the Committee as a general member in 2000. He was first elected President in 2003-05, for a second term in 2008-10, was Vice-President in 2007 and again in 2011-13, and then as President for a third term in 2014-16. These years of service amply illustrate the passion, enthusiasm and professionalism that Dominic has brought to his involvement with the Society and interactions within the Committee. The high regard in which his fellow professionals hold him has often opened doors for the Society that might otherwise have remained unknown or closed.

Some of the initiatives that have been introduced since 2000 under his leadership are indicative of the value of the Society to its members and organ music in Western Australia more generally. These include “Members for Members Concerts” (2003/Eddy Schoof & John van den Berg); the redevelopment of “In The Pipeline” (2005/Bruce and Maree Duncan & Kaye Hawley); establishment of “Organ Australia” (2005/Bruce Duncan); “Have–A-Go day” (2009/Sue van den Berg, Carine Leeflang & Pipe Organs WA Pty Ltd); the OHTA Conference (2012/the late Bob Elms); “OSWA Young Organists” (2013/Alessandro Pittorino & Andrew Brown); and Dominic’s organisational skills so superbly demonstrated throughout the planning of events leading up to and during the Society’s Jubilee Year, 2016.

There can be no doubt that Dominic's charisma, musical brilliance, initiatives and hard work has benefited the Organ Society of WA enormously and to recognise this contribution with the award of Life Membership is most appropriate.

Citation prepared by Professor Bill Loneragan and Mrs Carine Leeflang


DGI Web Design