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WESTERN AUSTRALIAN PIPE ORGANS
St. George's Cathedral, Perth


Perth St George's Cathedral
St George's Cathedral in Perth, from corner Irwin and Murray Streets, circa 1890

Perth St George's Cathedral
The Hill organ circa 1920

Perth St George's Cathedral
The Hill organ circa 1940

Perth St George's Cathedral
The 1958/59 J W Walker rebuild
Photo: Dudley Bastian

Perth St George's Cathedral
The 1958/59 J W Walker rebuild

Perth St George's Cathedral
Overview of the Cathedral precinct
Photo: St George's Cathedral web site

Perth St George's Cathedral
The Knud Smenge West Gallery organ

Perth St George's Cathedral

Perth St George's Cathedral

Perth St George's Cathedral
The Knud Smenge Chancel Organ

Perth St George's Cathedral
The Knud Smenge 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 locally sourced 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.

St George's Cathedral is a neo-Gothic brick building. Instead of the spire originally planned, the church has a crenellated clock tower built in 1902 in memory of Queen Victoria, who had died in the previous year. At the corner of Pier Street and St George's Terrace is the Deanery (1859).
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.

There is a plaque in memory of twelve former choristers who died in the Great War. It records that the Lieblick Gedacht stop on the Great organ was given in memory of these twelve, and that it was dedicated on Anzac Day 1931. An informative article about these choristers was written by Andrew Gardner.
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
Telephone
Email
Other contact information Cathedral web site
.
Previous organ(s)
Date of previous organ 1874 (ordered through J. McDonald & Co.) Packing & delivery 500 5% [commission?] (nett cash) order dated 29.1.75 - payable at completion at works.
Completed and installed 1874-75.
Detail of previous organ Built by Hill & Son, London.
The organ was located in the right transept on an elevated platform. The organ had a pitch pine case and the pipes were diapered.

The original specification was:

GREAT
Open Diapason 8'
Stopped Diapason 8'
Dulciana 8'
Principal 4'
Wald Flute 4'
Twelfth 2 2/3'
Fifteenth 2'
Mixture II
.
SWELL
Open Diapason 8' grooved bass
Hohl Flute 8'
Principal 4'
Fifteenth 2'
Oboe 8'
.
PEDAL
Open Diapason 16'
Bourdon 16'
.
There were three couplers and three composition pedals.
Dates when key work has been undertaken Original installation in the old cathedral 1875.
Installed in new cathedral 1888 by Robert Cecil Clifton. 2 manual and pedal, 15 speaking stops, 3 couplers, tracker action.

Rebuilt and enlarged to three manuals in 1903 by J.E. Dodd. Action changed to tubular-pneumatic.
Rebuilt in 1928 J.E.Dodd (console moved and some ranks completed).

Rebuilt and enlarged 1958/59 by J.W. Walker & Sons, Ruislip, Middlesex. Enlarged to 3 manual, 57stops derived from 37 ranks. The action was changed to electro-pneumatic and there were 15 couplers. The organ was arranged in four divisions: Great, Swell, Choir, Pedal.

Majority of the instrument was sited on a platform in the south transept, with the console and choir organ placed in a space under the tower.

The final specification was:

GREAT
Violone 16' A
Open Diapason I 8'
Open Diapason II 8'
Violin Diapason 8' A
Claribel 8'
Principal I 4'
Principal II 4' A
Flute 4'
Twelfth 2 2/3'
Fifteenth 2'
Mixture 17.19.22 III
Tromba 8' B
.
SWELL
Lieblich Bourdon 16' C
Open Diapason 8'
Rohr Flute 8'
Viola da Gamba 8'
Voix Celeste 8'
Principal 4'
Flauto Traverso 4'
Fifteenth 2'
Mixture 19.22.26 III
Contra Oboe 16' D
Trumpet 8'
Oboe 8' D
Clarion 4'
.
CHOIR
Double Dulciana 16' E
Open Diapason 8'
Lieblich Gedeckt 8' F
Dulciana 8' E
Gemshorn 4'
Lieblich Flute 4' F
Dulcet 4' E
Nazard 2 2/3' F
Flautino 2' F
Tierce 1 3/5'
Larigot 1 1/3'
Dulciana Mixture II E
Clarinet 8'
Tromba 8' B
Tuba 8' K
.
PEDAL
Subbass 32' H
Open Wood 16' I
Open Diapason 16' J
Violone 16' A
Bourdon 16' H
Lieblich Bourdon 16' C
Dulciana 16' E
Octave 8' I
Principal 8' J
Bass Flute 8' H
Fifteenth 4' J
Octave Flute 4' H
Ophicleide 16' C
Contra Oboe 16' D
Tuba 8' K
Tromba 8' B
Octave Tromba 4' B
.
Dates of any moves that have taken place The organ was dismantled 1994 F.J. Larner & Co. The surviving Hill chests and pipework were used in an organ for St Hilda's Anglican Girls' School chapel, Mosman Park, while the Tuba went to St Patrick's Cathedral, Melbourne, and the console to St Paul's Cathedral, Bendigo. The Lieblich Gedeckt rank (Choir) is now part of the organ in the residence of Mr J Maring, Redmond.

The Great Open Diapason I later became incorporated into the Yarloop Steamshed organ as an Open Diapason and Octave rank. Unfotunately, this organ was destroyed by a bushfire that devastated Yarloop in January 2016

New pipe organs were installed in St Georges Cathedral by Knud Smenge Pty. Ltd. between 1988 and 1994.
Variations from original design of organ
Information on previous organ This was the first organ work carried out by Dodd in WA and the planning of it resulted in the setting up of the WA branch of the firm in 1902, managed by his son Ebenezer Dodd.
Information about comparable instruments to previous organ
.
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 West Gallery organ 1991-93
Chancel organ 1994
Chamber organ 1988
Construction materials
Number of manuals West Gallery organ Three (3)
Chancel organ Two (2)
Chamber organ 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 Slider
Type of key action Mechanical for all organs with override for electric (midi) console on the West Gallery and Chancel organs.
Type of stop action Electric for the West Gallery and Chancel organs
Couplers West Gallery organ:
    Positive-Great
    Swell-Great
    Swell-Positive
    Positive-Pedal
    Swell-Pedal
    Great-Pedal
Optional electric coupling action for Swell-Great.

Chancel organ:
    Swell-Great
    Swell-Pedal
    Swell 4' - Ped
    Great-Ped

Tremulants West Gallery organ Great, Swell and Positive.
Chancel organ Great and Swell.
Accessories West Gallery organ 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 organ 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 Each organ has an integral drawstop console.
There is also a remote electric console controlling the resources of both the West Gallery and Chancel organs, located at the base of the bell tower.
Stop label material
Placement
General design
Playing aids Adjustable thumb and toe pistons with 40 channels
Electric transmission to swell shutters
Divisions West Gallery organ: Great, Swell, Positive, Pedal.
Chancel organ: Great, Swell, Pedal.
Chamber organ: Manual.
Wind pressures Great 65m
Swell 70m
Positive 58m
Pedal 65/70m
Stop list West Gallery Organ

GREAT
Pommer 16'
Principal 8'
Rohrflute 8'
Octave 4'
Flute Harm. 4'
Octave 2'
Mixture VI-VIII
Cymbel II 1'
Cornet TC III
Trompet 8'
Clarion 4'
Tremulant
.
SWELL
Bourdun 16'
Gedackt 8'
Salicional 8'
Voix Celeste TC 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'
Tremulant
.
POSITIVE
Gedackt 8'
Spitzgamba 8' grooved bass
Principal 4'
Kobbelflute 4'
Octave 2'
Gemshorn 2'
Nasat 1 1/3'
Scharf IV
Krumhorn 8'
Vox Humana 8'
Trompet St George 8'
Tremulant
.
PEDAL
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'
.


Chancel Organ

GREAT
Principal 8'
Rohrflute 8'
Salicional 8'
Octave 4'
Flute Harmonique 4'
Waldflute 2'
Mixture V
Trompet 8'
.
SWELL
Gedackt 8'
Koppelflute 4'
Principal 2'
Nasat 1 1/3'
Schalmay 8'
.
PEDAL
Subbas 16'
Principal 8' added 2007
Gedackt 8'
Koralbas 4'
Fagot 16'
.


Chamber Organ

MANUAL
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 circa 1890 from Wickipedia
Photograph of the organ circa 1940 from State Library of WA
Photograph of organ (B&W) by Dudley Bastian
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 Walker organ from OHTA Conference Book 1993.
Original specification of the Hill organ from Bob Elms.
Details of the Smenge organs from OHTA Conference Book 2004.
General documents In The Pipeline article 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.
Additional information from Bob Elms 11 February 2009.
Article by Andrew Gardner appended 16 February 2009.
Photograph of organ c1940 from Andrew Gardner 19 February 2009.
Additional information about the Open Diapason noted by Bruce Duncan in conversation with John Larner, 9 May 2009.
Photograph of the organ c1920 from Andrew Gardner 24 August 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


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