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Christ Church Anglican Church, Claremont

Christ Church Claremont

Christ Church Claremont

Christ Church Claremont
The splendid original divided case as made by LB Cousans 1929, reused by Dodd in 1966,
and discarded by Bellsham Pipe Organs in 1992.

Detail of the right side case as made by LB Cousans 1929

Christ Church Claremont
The Bellsham Pipe Organs new case, 1992

Christ Church Claremont
The Bellsham Console

Christ Church

Name of institution Christ Church Anglican Church
Type of institution Church
Street Address Queenslea Drive
City Claremont
State Western Australia
Country Australia
Name of building Christ Church Anglican Church
Name of room Church
Dates of the building 1893
Architect’s and builder’s names J Talbot Hobbs and T W L Powell
Special architectural features The style and architecture of the church which may be described as "Victorian Gothic Revival" echoes architectural components often found in English medieval parish churches.
Special fittings Shingled roof - last replaced in 1999.
The twelve "Corinthian" style iron columns (representing the twelve apostles) were cast in the Perth foundry of Wright and Gibb.
The pulpit and eagle lectern were made in 1902, by Perth woodcarver, William Howitt.
The pipe organ originally built in 1926 was extended and modified in 1967 and the console was moved to its present location during a major renovation in 1994.
The large square altar was carved by Michael Chaney and consecrated by Archbishop Peter Carnley in 1997.
Icons written by Marice Sariola include: The Great Crucifix which reveals St John the Evangelist's view of Christ's death, Our Lady of Tenderness and Christ Pantocrator.
Spaces of interest include: the Oratory (formerly the Vestry), the Beryl Cook meeting room (formerly the Choir Vestry), the Bell-ringing room (Catherine Hope Room) also used by parents of young children during services and Baptisms.
The beautiful windows reflect a range of aesthetic, religious and commemorative interests.
Other location information After some years of Anglican worship in the schoolroom close to the banks of the Swan River (now Claremont Museum), the foundation stone of the present building was laid on 10 September 1892. Built of locally-quarried Cottesloe limestone, Christ Church is one of the oldest suburban parish churches in Perth.

The original part of the church, which extended from the position of the old high altar, westwards, approximately to the steps between the chancel and the nave, was designed by architect J Talbot Hobbs, and consecrated by the second Bishop of Perth, Harry Hutton Parry on 11th April 1893. It was built at a cost of £800. The nearby Rectory followed in 1897. Extensions to the church were built in 1901 and 1909, planned and supervised by distinguished architect T W L Powell. The tower was completed in 1938.

In October 1968, a large part of Western Australia was shaken by an earthquake that had its epicentre at Meckering in the Wheatbelt, about 150km inland from Perth, and some damage was done to the fabric of the church. The original stone had also deteriorated and extensive restoration of the foundations, walls and roof of the church was necessary. These restorations, which cost $100,000 were dedicated by Bishop Michael Challen in March 1981.

The year 1988, the Bicentenary of European settlement of Australia, was marked by the installation of a peal of six bells. These came originally from the church of St Paul's, Canonbury, London and were donated by Mr Laith Reynolds Vice-president of the Australian and New Zealand Association of Bell-ringers, in memory of his brother. The largest bell weighs 390kg, and so the tower needed to be strengthened with a steel frame when the bells were installed.

The building is entered by the Australian Heritage Commission on the register of the National Estate, and is also listed by the National Trust of Western Australia. In 2004 a full-scale Conservation Report was prepared by Considine and Griffiths Architects to guide the conservation and future use of Christ Church and Rectory for the protection of cultural and heritage values.
Name of contact
Mailing Address
Other contact information
Previous organ(s)
Date of previous organ c.1926
Detail of previous organ Originally thought to have been built entirely by W. L. Roberts Ltd., Adelaide, as his Opus 109 in 1926, records show that the organ was planned and built by L.B. Cousans using some parts supplied by Roberts Ltd, such as windchests, wind system and maybe the metal pipework (although Cousans could have sourced this himself from the UK.

The divided organ casework was built by A T Brine & Sons Ltd., Perth.
Dates when key work has been undertaken Thought to have been originally tubular-pneumatic action (in the manner of some Roberts Ltd organs of the time), records show that this organ was built with electric action.

Known specification:

Open Diapason 8'
Clarabel 8'
Violin Cello 8'
Dulciana 8'
Principal 4'

Bourdon 16'
Geigen Diapason 8'
Lieblich Gedackt 8'
Viola da Gamba 8'
Viol Celeste 8'
Suabe Flute 4'
Oboe 8'

Sub Bass 16'
Bourdon 16'
Dolce Bass 16'
Bass Flute 8'

Alterations by L B Cousans Ltd 1933.
Rebuilt 1967 with addtions by J.E. Dodd & Sons Gunstar Organ Works, Adelaide (Swell reed unit).
New Great pipework 1968-1972 F.J. Larner & Co. 2m., 22, 6c, elpn.
Dates of any moves that have taken place
Variations from original design of organ
Information on previous organ L.B. COUSANS -
by John Richard Maidment, OAM.

In his book Family Enterprise : the Story of Some North Country Organ Builders (1986), Laurence Elvin mentions that organbuilder L.B. Cousans migrated to Australia. Louis Bertram Cousans was born on 13 October 1874 and his father was later manager of the Lincoln, UK organbuilding firm Cousans, Sons & Co. He took out a patent, no 5725, on electro-pneumatic actions in 1898 and at the start of the 20th century was the co-inventor and manufacturer of the highly successful Kinetic organ blower.
Later, Cousans formed the Rotasphere Co. in Lambeth which was taken over by G.R. Dain who made Duplex blowers for Hill, Norman & Beard.

After World War I, L.B. Cousans migrated to Australia and was a primary producer for a short while. He was appointed Western Australian representative for Roberts Limited, of Adelaide and made a number of trips "east" on coastal ships up to 1932, when he was reported as manager of the Precision Engineering Company. One wonders if he assisted W.L. Roberts in the building of electric action organs as he played a major role in the construction of the organ at Christ Church, Claremont.

In 1938, he was in Victoria managing the Wonderful Fruit Products Pty Ltd, a far cry from organbuilding. While he had an association with WL Roberts, he spent at least 22 years in Melbourne and clearly no interest in his inventions from Taylor or Fincham. Cousans died in 1956 and is buried at the Boroondara Cemetery, Kew, Victoria.
Information about comparable instruments to previous organ
Present organ
Type of installation Left Chancel chamber
Case description Plain facade pipes
Placement in room Front left of sanctuary
Builder's name Bellsham Pipe Organs
Opus number
Date of completion/installation 1992
Construction materials
Number of manuals Three (3)
Key compasses
Number of keys
Key material
Pedal compass
Number of pedals
Pedalboard type
Pedalboard material
Type of chests
Type of key action Electro-pneumatic
Type of stop action Electro-pneumatic
Couplers Swell to Great
Positive to Great
Great to Pedal
Swell to Pedal
Positive to Pedal
Great and Pedal combinations coupled
Swell Superovtave
Swell Suboctave
Swell Unison Off
Positive Superoctave
Positive Suboctavemetropolitan united church toronto canada
Positive Unison Off
Swell to Positive
Console type Detached, drawstops on 45 degree jambs
Stop label material
Placement In the Chancel choir stalls, opposite the organ
General design
Playing aids Multi-level capture system
Divisions Great, Swell, Choir, Pedal
Wind pressures
Stop list
Contra Dulciana 16'
Open Diapason 8'
Clarabel Flute 8'
Princiapal 4'
Open Flute 4'
Twelfth 2 2/3'
Fifteenth 2'
Mixture III
Trumpet 8'
Clarion 4'
Geigen Diapason 8'
Lieblich Gedackt
Viola da Gamba 8'
Voix Celeste 8'
Suabe Flute 8'
Fifteenth 2'
Mixture III
Oboe 8'
Double Trumpet 16'
Trumpet 8'
Clarion 4'
Rohr Flute 8'
Dulciana 8'
Flute de Cornet 4'
Flagelot 2'
Cornet V
Krummhorn 8'
Trumpet 8'
Sub Bass
Dolce Bass 16'
Principal 8'
Twelfth 5 1/3'
Fifteenth 4'
Trombone 16'
Double Trumpet 16'
Trumpet 8'
Total number of stops 36 stops
Total number of ranks 26 ranks
Total number of pipes 1,700
Dates when key work has been undertaken on current organ Revision to primary actions 1933 L B Cousans Limited.
Rebuilt and enlarged 1967/69 J E Dodd & Sons Gunstar Organ Works.
Enlarged 1968 F J :Larner & Co.
Rebuilt and enlarged 1992 Bellsham Pipe Organs - not completed.
Overhauled and completed 1994 F.J. Larner & Co
Dates of any moves that have taken place to current organ
Information on current organ

A look at the history of the organ reveals what the earliest instruments were is unclear, however it appears that a large American reed organ was purchased in 1905.

In 1926 the long awaited pipe organ was installed. Originally thought to have been built entirely by W. L. Roberts Ltd., Adelaide, as his Opus 109 in 1926, records show that the organ was planned and built by L.B. Cousans using some parts supplied by Roberts Ltd, such as windchests, wind system and maybe the metal pipework (although Cousans could have sourced this himself from the UK. The beautiful casework was built by A T Brine & Sons Ltd., Perth.

This instrument consisted of two manuals and 15 speaking stops. The action was electric and it had a detached drawstop console. Tonally, with many stops in unison and lower, some of the quieter stops were condidered superior at the time. Eight of these stops remain and form the nucleus of the present instrument.

Circa 1933 the firm of Cousans Ltd, Engineers (probably in consultation with Joe Dean) revised the electric primary actions. After 35 years these were worn out and J.E. Dodd and Sons, Gunstan Organ Works of Adelaide overhauled the organ with the provision of a new console, under actions and 2 new stops, Trumpet and Mixture III ranks.

The completion of this work coincided with a renewed interest in organ and choir music of the earlier times and also with new compositions. The organ, tonally fell short of meeting the requirements and therefore a new range of stops was added to give it life and brightness. This work was carried out in 1968 by F.J. Larner & Co.

The bulk of the pair of organ cases posed a difficulty in maintaining the asthestic beauty of the chancel area. The decision to rebuild and relocate the organ with the addition of a 3rd manual was made in 1991 a contract was signed with Bellsham Pipe Organs. Sadly, the project did not eventuate for the celebration of the centenary of the consecration of Christ Church at Easter 1993. In January 1994 F.J. Larner & Co. dismantled the organ for rebuilding and 2 of the 3 manuals were completed in 1994.

Comparable instruments to current organ
Current status
Assessment of organ The completed organ with 3 manuals, 37 speaking stops and 1,700 pipes is designed to fully meet the musical requirements of Christ Church Claremont and as such is capable of realizing the organ literature. The tonal scheme is not slavish to any particual school, but consistent voicing based on L B Cousans and W L Roberts musical ideals, ensures that it has a character of it own.
Other organs by this builder Perth College Chapel
St Andrew's Church
Sisters of Mercy Convent
Photographs Photograph of the church from the church web site.
Photographs of the Bellsham organ case and console by Bruce Duncan
Technical documents
General documents
The West Australian 11 Sep 1929

The West Australian 08 Feb 1930
Supporting information History of the church from the church web site. The details have been modified to suit more recent documentary on the history of the organ.
History of the organ from Pipe Organs WA Pty Ltd.
Document control Original entries J R Elms, OAM, Gazetteer of Western Australian Pipe Organs, 1971, 1999,2003 and 2004.
This entry D B Duncan 25 November 2008.
Stoplist taken from concert program 26 April 1998 and In The Pipeline March/April 1999.
Photos of the original casework from the Bob Elms Collection 16 June 2019.
Newspaper clippings sourced by Stewart Smith 16 June 2019.
Information on L B Cousans by John R Maidment 22 June 2019.
Revision of organ details by Bruce Duncan in consultation with John R Maidment (Organ Historical Trust of Australia) 22 June 2019.