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First Church of Christ Scientist, Perth

First Church of Christ Scientist

Whitehouse Organ
The original Whitehouse organ
Photo: Bob Elms

First Church of Christ Scientist
Photo: Bruce Duncan

First Church of Christ Scientist
Photo: Bruce Duncan

First Church of Christ Scientist
Console of the organ
State Library of Western Australia

Name of institution First Church of Christ Scientist
Type of institution Church
Street Address St. George's Terrace
City Perth
State Western Australia
Postcode 6000
Country Australia
Name of building First Church of Christ Scientist
Name of room
Dates of the building In 1926, following unanimous agreement of members, the present church site at the corner of St Georges Terrace and Elder Street (then George Street) was purchased.
By 1938, it was realised that a church should be built; plans were drawn up by Mr Hargrave of Ochiltree & Hargrave, architects, and erected by A.T.Brine Pty. Ltd., one of Perth's prominent builders at that time. In the early hours of the morning of 2nd February, 1939, a small group of church officers met for the laying of the foundation stone. The building was completed as we see it today, and the first church services were held on Sunday, 25th June, 1939. However, since a church must be free of debt to be dedicated, this ceremony did not take place until 26th June, 1949.
Architect’s and builder’s names Ochiltree & Hargrave, architects, and A.T.Brine Pty. Ltd, builders.
Special architectural features
Special fittings The church has beautiful parquetry floors of local jarrah and she-oak, supplied by Bunning Brothers, the interior walls were in waltex supplied by Waltex Products Co., the ceiling was done by Perth Modelling Works, the windows which were done in deep grav'e work (a type of sand-blasted plate glass carrying designs) were done by Barnett Bros. Ltd.; Bon Marche supplied over 200 yards of carpeting and J.L Mattinson did the lighting.
Other location information

The National Trust of Australia (W.A.) classified First Church of Christ, Scientist, Perth as having heritage significance in July 2002.

Name of contact
Mailing Address
Other contact information
Previous organ(s)
Date of previous organ 1953
Detail of previous organ Whitehouse Brothers, Brisbane, instrument
3m.,, 10c.,
Dates when key work has been undertaken Enlarged 1970s F.J. Larner & A. White.
Dates of any moves that have taken place
Variations from original design of organ
Information on previous organ Research results:
I can confirm from the records of the Whitehouse firm that the organ at First Church of Christ Scientist, Perth, was definitely built in 1953. Its a little difficult to pin it down to a particular month, as I have no record of the opening, but I would read that it was commenced in June that year. The cost was £5,326, and there were further "forwarding charges" (I guess, transport to WA) of £1,758.8.0 on 31 August. The final payment seems to have been made in early October 1953.
Dr Geoffrey Cox, Brisbane
Information about comparable instruments to previous organ
Present organ
Type of installation Chamber
Case description Handsome modern case with three flats surrounded by two pedal towers.
Placement in room Front of sanctuary center chamber
Builder's name Bellsham Pipe Organs
Opus number
Date of completion/installation 1983
Construction materials
Number of manuals Three (3)
Key compasses C - ccc
Number of keys 61 notes
Key material
Pedal compass
Number of pedals 30 notes
Pedalboard type

Concave radiating pedal board

Pedalboard material
Type of chests Slider chests in the Choir and Great
Cone valve chest on the Swell (Whitehouse)
Type of key action Electro-magnetic
Type of stop action Electro-magnetic
Couplers SWELL to GREAT
GT & PED combinations coupler
Tremulants Swell, Choir
Accessories Two expression shoes - mechanical to Swell and Choir shutters
Console type Drawstop console, remote location

Console has:
Standard memory system with 500 levels accessed through “up” & “down” pistons
16 general pistons
8 pistons to each division
6 reversible interdivisional coupler pistons, duplicated on toe studs
Full organ piston/toe stud
Transposer ± 6 semitones
Sequencer with over 10,000 steps, “next” and “previous” thumb pistons/toe studs.

This system uses an Altera Cyclone III programmable IC with over 25,000 logic cells.

Stop label material
Placement Left front of sanctuary
General design
Playing aids There are 8 thumb piston presets (5 above the Swell keyboard, 3 below the Great keyboard, to the right), with a total of 32 preset selections possible via a four way key switch above the Swell keyboard, to the right. There are two swell pedals: the left one is for the Choir and the right one for the Swell pipe sections.

Combination Action:
Solid State Instant Capture Action.
5 Thumb-pistons to Great organ combinations
5 thumb-pistons to Swell organ combinations
5 thumb-pistons to Choir organ combinations
5 toe-pistons to Pedal organ combinations
5 toe-pistons duplicating Swell thumb-pistons
8 thumb-pistons to General combinations
3 toe-pistons duplicating General thumb-pistons
1 thumb-piston operating General Cancel
1 thumb-piston operating combination Setter (protected by a lock)
Reversible thumb-pistons to all couplers
Reversible toe-pistons to Great to Pedal and Swell to Pedal
Drawstop operating 'Great and Pedal Combinations' coupler.
The thumb-pistons for the Swell and Great sections are in pp - ff arrangement.

New Control/memory system by Pipe Organs W.A. designed by Tomasz Nowak, installed in Sept 2017.
Wireless transmission from console to chamber via bluetooth.

Divisions Great, Swell, Choir, Pedal
Wind pressures

Stop list
Bourdon 16' Bass 30 pipes from C B
Open Diapason 8'
Hohl Flute 8'
Diapason 4'
Harmonic Flute 4'
Twelfth 2 2/3'
Fifteenth 2'
Forniture IV
Trumpet 8'
Geigen Diapason 8'
Lieblich Gedeckt 8'
Salicional 8'
Voix Celeste 8'
Gemshorn 4'
Picolo 2'
Mixture III
Fagot 16' A
Cornopean 8' A
Oboe 8'
Clarion 4' A
Gedackt 8'
Viola da Gamba 8'
Spire Flute 4'
Nazard 2 2/3'
Principal 2'
Tierce 1 3/8'
Larigot 1 1/3'
Scharf IV
Clarinet 8'
Tuba 8' D
Principal 16' B
Subbass 16' C
Octave 8' B
Bass Flute 8' C
Octave 8'
Quint 5 1/3'
Fifteenth 4' B
Trombone 16' 12 pipes separate chest, 18 pipes from D D
Trumpet 8' D
Total number of stops 38 speaking stops
9 non-speaking stops
Total number of ranks

33 ranks

Total number of pipes 2316 pipes
Dates when key work has been undertaken on current organ
Dates of any moves that have taken place to current organ
Information on current organ Pipework and the swell chest of the original organ are incorporated into the Bellsham organ.
The current organ has 38 stops in four divisions, uses electromagnetic transmission to slider chests in the Choir and Great and cone valve chest on the Swell.
Comparable instruments to current organ
Current status In very good condition
Assessment of organ
Other organs by this builder
Technical documents
General documents
Supporting information
Document control Original entries J R Elms, OAM, Gazetteer of Western Australian Pipe Organs, 1971, 1999,2003 and 2004.
This entry D B Duncan 28 November 2008.
Research information on first organ provided by Bob Elms 1 February 2012.
Building and historical information from the church web site.
Photo of the original organ from the Bob Elms collection scanned by Patrick Elms 18 May 2019.
Particular details from Graham Devenish 29 October 2019.
Photograph of console sourced by Andrew Gardner 19 April 2020.