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St. George's Cathedral, Perth

Perth St George

Perth St George

Perth St George

Perth St George

Perth St George
The Chancel Organ

Perth St George
The Chamber Organ

Name of institution St. George's Cathedral
Type of institution Church
Street Address St. George's Terrace
City Perth
State Western Australia
Postcode 6000
Country Australia
Name of building St. George's Cathedral
Name of room Church
Dates of the building 1887
Architect’s and builder’s names Sydney architect Edmund Blacket.
Special architectural features The earliest church on this site was in the classical style, not unlike such buildings as St George's Battery Point and the original St David's in Hobart. The foundation stone of the present building, designed by the eminent NSW architect Edmund Blacket, was laid in November 1880 and the opening took place in 1888. The cathedral is comparable in scale with Blacket's St Thomas' Church, North Sydney, but is constructed in red brick with Rottnest stone dressings both internally and externally; the roof beams are of jarrah, a local timber. It consists of a five bay clerestoried nave, with prominent flanking porches, lofty transepts and square–ended sanctuary. The completion of the building was entrusted to Blacket's son Cyril as Edmund had died in 1883. The firm had designed a magnificent tower and broach spire for the building, but the present crenellated tower with elevated stair turret was erected in 1902 to a reduced design by local architect Sir J.J. Talbot Hobbs.
Special fittings The building incorporates splendid fittings, particularly a wide range of imported stained glass by such makers as Clayton & Bell, and James Powell & Sons, both of London, together with local makers such as Mathieson & Gibson, of Melbourne and Barnett Bros, of Perth. The floors are of tessellated tiles. The wrought iron chancel screen was added in 1906 and the carved alabaster reredos with its elaborate statuary in 1909. The Soldiers' Memorial Chapel, built from Donnybrook stone and brick, was constructed in 1919, while the pulpit, font and north transept panelling were designed by George Herbert Parry.
Other location information St George's Cathedral is the principal Anglican church in the city of Perth, Western Australia and the mother-church of the Anglican Diocese of Perth. It is located in St George's Terrace in the centre of the city.

Built in 1888 the cathedral replaced an earlier building immediately to the north-east of the present one. The cathedral is described as Gothic Revival and is made from local handmade clay bricks from Queen's Gardens and Victorian blue stone pillars on footings of Fremantle limestone. It was designed by Sydney architect Edmund Blacket. The site is near to the location of the "Rush Church" - the first church built in Perth, by Frederick Irwin, in December 1829 a few months after the city was founded.

Its castellated bell tower was damaged in the 1968 Meckering earthquake. In 2005-2008 the cathedral was extensively restored with the tile roof replaced by slates as originally built. Earthquake protection was added to two walls to provide bracing and much other work was undertaken. Plans are currently underway to restore and develop other buildings in the complex, including the Burt Hall and the 1859 Deanery building, which adjoins the cathedral, on the corner of Pier Street.
Name of contact
Mailing Address
Other contact information
Previous organ(s)
Date of previous organ 1874-75
Detail of previous organ Hill and Son, London
Right transept location on elevated platform.
Dates when key work has been undertaken Rebuilt and enlarged 1958/59
J.W. Walker & Sons, Ruislip, Middlesex.
Enlarged 3 manual, 57stops.
Dates of any moves that have taken place Removed 1994 by F.J. Larner & Co.
Variations from original design of organ
Information on previous organ The surviving Hill chests and pipework were used in a new organ for St Hilda's Anglican Girls' School chapel, Mosman Park.
The Tuba went to St Patrick's Cathedral, Melbourne.
The console to St Paul's Cathedral, Bendigo.
Information about comparable instruments to previous organ Refer to the St. George's Cathedral Walker organ page.
Present organ
Type of installation Gallery, Chancel, Chamber
Case description West Gallery Organ
The west organ, sited on a new west gallery, was installed in 1993. This has casework of Tasmanian oak, and includes a ruckpositiv division, placed on the gallery rail. The facade pipes are of burnished tin. The Pedal, Great and Positiv divisions are visible in the facade; the larger pipes of the Pedal and the Swell are placed in a separate case to the rear.
Chancel Organ
The chancel organ, placed under the tower at the south–east junction of the building, speaking across the chancel, was built in 1993–94. The Swell occupies a brustwerk position in the striking case front, in modern Scandinavian style.
Chamber Organ
The first of the new organs for the cathedral has pipework enclosed behind swell shutters with knee lever.
Placement in room West End Gallery
Chancel chamber
Chamber (portable)
Builder's name Knud Smenge Pty. Ltd.
Opus number
Date of completion/installation 1991-93
Construction materials
Number of manuals Three (3)
Two (2)
One (1)
Key compasses C - a'''
Number of keys 58
Key material
Pedal compass C - f'
Number of pedals 30
Pedalboard type
Pedalboard material
Type of chests
Type of key action Mechanical with override for electric (mid) console
Type of stop action Electric
Couplers Positive-Great; Swell-Great; Swell-Positive; Positive-Pedal; Swell-Pedal; Great-Pedal. Optional electric coupling action for Swell-Great. Chancel Swell-Great; Swell-Pedal; Swell 4' - Ped; Great-Ped
Tremulants Great, Swell and Positive. Chancel Great and Swell.
Accessories West combinations Solid State of English manufacture giving 8 pistons and cancel on each manual and pedal: also provides 16 general pistons on each of 40 memory levels.
Chancel combinations Solid State of English manufacture giving 5 pistons and cancel on each manual and pedal: also provides 5 general pistons on each of 40 memory levels.
Console type 1. Integral drawstop console
2. Remote electric console
Stop label material
General design
Playing aids Adjustable thumb and toe pistons with 40 channels
Electric transmission to swell shutters
Divisions Great, Swell, Positive, Pedal.
Chancel Great, Swell, Pedal.
Chamber Manual.
Wind pressures Great 65m
Swell 70m
Positive 58m
Pedal 65/70m
Stop list
Pommer 16'
Principal 8'
Rohrflute 8'
Octave 4'
Flute Harm. 4'
Octave 2'
Mixture VI–VIII
Cymbel II 1'
Cornet T.C. III
Trompet 8'
Clarion 4'
Bordun 16'
Gedackt 8'
Salicional 8'
Voix Celeste T.C. 8'
Principal 4'
Spitzflute 4'
Nasard 2-2/3'
Waldflute 2'
Terz 1-3/5'
Mixture IV
Trompet 16'
Trompet Harm. 8'
Oboe 8'
Clarion 4'
Gedackt 8'
Spitzgamba 8' gvd. bass
Principal 4'
Kobbelflute 4'
Octave 2'
Gemshorn 2'
Nasat 1-1/3'
Scharf IV
Krumhorn 8'
Vox Humana 8'
Trompet St George 8'
Untersatz 32'
Principal 16'
Subbass 16'
Octave 8'
Gedackt 8'
Choralbas 4'
Rauschquint V 2 2/3'
Contra Bombarde 32' A
Bombarde 16' A
Trompet 8'
Zinka 4'
Principal 8'
Rohrflute 8'
Salicional 8'
Octave 4'
Flute Harmonique 4'
Waldflute 2'
Mixture V
Trompet 8'
Gedackt 8'
Koppelflute 4'
Principal 2'
Nasat 1-1 /3'
Schalmay 8'
Subbas 16'
Principal 8' added 2007
Gedackt 8'
Koralbas 4'
Fagot 16'
Gedackt 8'
Rohrflute 4'
Principal 2'
Mixture 19.22 II
Total number of stops West: 46
Chancel: 17
Chamber: 4
Total number of ranks West: 65
Chancel: 22
Chamber: 5
Total number of pipes West: 3,446 pipes
Chancel: 1,086 pipes
Dates when key work has been undertaken on current organ

The West Organ was installed in 1993, and dedicated on Advent Sunday. It is placed on a specially constructed gallery at the West End of the Cathedral. Organ and Gallery together form a striking feature complimenting the graceful architecture of the Nave and Chancel.

The Organ is the largest mechanical-action instrument to be installed in Western Australia since the similarly sized Ronald Sharp organ in the Perth Concert Hall was completed in 1974. The casework is made of Tasmanian Oak, and the front pipes are of burnished tin. The organ has 4 divisions, 46 speaking stops and 3446 pipes.

In 1994 a new Chancel Organ was installed in the chamber under the Bell Tower. Consisting of 17 stops in 3 divisions, with mechanical key and electric stop action, this small organ is designed to accompany choirs singing in the Chancel. Electric over-ride enables both the Chancel and the West Organs to be played simultaneously from a third, free-standing console.

Refinement of the organ tone was carried out in 2007-08 by the South Island Organ Company of New Zealand. This resulted in a lengthening of the reed resonators, and will include work on the flue ranks to improve the tone of the organ.

In September 2010 a massive 32' organ stop was installed, enhancing the sound of the Cathedral's West Organ. It was dedicated to 12 former Cathedral Choristers killed in action during the First World War. A memorial plaque to the 12 West Australian soldiers, dedicated on Anzac Day 1931, currently resides in the South Transept of the Cathedral. The new 32' contra bombarde stop will honour these 12 each time its roar is heard.

The final pièce de résistance to the Cathedral's West Organ is the addition of a solo, horizontal fanfare trumpet voiced in the French symphonic school - with the spun end pipes firing out of either side of the ruckpositive case, it is truly a visual and sonic treat. The Trompet St George 8’, the Dr Geoffrey Gates AM Fanfare Trumpet, was installed in April and blessed on Sunday May 1 2011 in loving memory of Dr Geoffrey Gates AM, following a generous bequest by his wife, Patricia. Geoffrey was much loved by everyone at the Cathedral and by many people in the WA arts scene, in particular as a supporter of the WA Ballet.
St George Trompet
Dates of any moves that have taken place to current organ
Information on current organ
Comparable instruments to current organ
Current status
Assessment of organ
Other organs by this builder
Photographs Photograph of church St George's Cathedral web site.
Photographs of organ by Bruce Duncan and from OHTA web site
Some photographs by Trevor Bunning
Technical documents Details of the organ from OHTA Conference Book 2004.
General documents The Organs of St. George's Cathedral
Supporting information John Beaverstock, "The Organs of St George's Cathedral, Perth", Victorian Organ Journal, part one, June 1994, pp.6–12; part two, December 1994, pp.28–35.
Document control Original entries J R Elms, OAM, Gazetteer of Western Australian Pipe Organs, 1971, 1999,2003 and 2004.
This entry D B Duncan 09 January 2009.
Link to The Organs of St. George's Cathedral provided by Jane Hammond 27 January 2010.
Updated specification from Patrick Elms 03 January 2011.
Additional information from St. George's Cathedral, October 2011