Armidale Uniting Church organ turns 140

Armidale Uniting Church organ turns 140

Armidale Uniting Church has celebrated the 140th anniversary of their Willis pipe organ. The organ, which is still in use, has been a part of several churches over the course of its use.

On Sunday, 20 October, the church held a concert to celebrate the milestone. The concert featured Lena Schmalz on the organ, alongside violinist Caolin Sholl, oboist Graham Maddox, and flautist Sharon Davidge.

The organ was made in Liverpool, England by Henry Willis and Sons in 1879. The same firm built organs for many of England’s famous cathedrals, such as St Paul’s, London.

Deirdre Waters is a member of Armidale Uniting Church. Her husband’s family were one of three that contributed to the cost of the organ. Mrs Waters told local newspaper The Armidale Expressthat the church was “fortunate to have such a fine organ.”

The instrument was originally imported from England at a cost of £475. It is one of only seven Willis pipe organs in Australia.

The pipe organ was first used at St Stephen’s Presbyterian Church in Sydney’s Phillip Street. The church later moved to Macquarie Street in 1934 and Armidale’s Methodist Church minister Rev. Morris A. Yates bought it for its current location.

The organ cost the Methodist Church £1000, and it was dedicated on 21 July, 1935.

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Jonathan Foye is Insights’ Editor

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