Our fincham organ
Our Fincham pipe organ is a treasured part of our church. Find out more information about our history.
The organ was built in 1885 by George Fincham and was purchased at the cost of £500 for the Christ Church Pro Cathedral in Newcastle. It was opened on the evening of Tuesday 24th November 1885, in a service which would be long remembered.
In December 1905, the organ was purchased by the Church Wardens of St Nicolas’ Church, Coogee (among them Francis Hannan) at the cost of £210. The organ was purchased because the church’s previous organ had been destroyed in the fire of 18th August 1905. It was installed in March 1906 by a Mr Richardson for £46 and 10 shillings, with certain other improvements if necessary costing a further £15 and 10 shillings.
In the mid-1910s, a silent fan was installed and in June 1916 the organ was repaired for the sum of £42 (along with an extra hand blower, installed for £1). In October 1917 the organ was damaged by a storm and was subsequently repaired at the cost of £28.
In 1933, a new 2 H.P. organ motor and fan was installed. It was purchased by Mr Ryves at the cost of £54 and 12 shillings. At some stage, the bellows was placed underneath the organ. It has now been returned to its original position at the bottom of the organ case.
Other alterations undertaken on the organ have included:
- Replacement of the original pedal-board by one of concave and radiating design
- Addition of a tremulant
- Removal of the hand blowing apparatus
- Addition of tuning slides to almost all of the internal open metal pipes
The organ is a very fine example of a Fincham organ, and possesses the beautifully-voiced flutes and gedacts which are a strong characteristic of his instruments. Its historic value is highlighted by the following features:
- The original case has been retained, and the ornately-decorated display pipes give the organ a most imposing appearance
- Many of the original console components have been preserved, including stop heads, stop labels, keyboards, keyboard cheeks, composition pedals, builder's nameplate, swell-shutter control and organ bench
- The original double-rise bellows and two concussion bellows are present
- The original mechanical key, stop, and combination actions have been preserved
- Almost all of the original pipes have been retained; tuning slides have been added to most internal open metal pipes
The organ restoration project began in the 1970s, when it was decided to purchase a new motor for the organ. A record was produced to achieve this aim, however with the incumbency of T.B. Griffiths, it was realised that a much more extensive work was required.
Stage 1 of the organ restoration commenced, and cost $7,200. This included an overhaul of the pedal action and couplers, the replacement of the bellows to its original position with alteration to the trunking, the fitting of a new blower and the cleaning, repair and regulation of the pedal open diapason.
Stages 2 and 3 then began, and cost $15,000. These stages consisted of dismantling and conducting a thorough overhaul of the organ. The keyboard was removed and renovated, the stop knobs were cleaned, the pipes were regulated and cleaned and the organ was tuned. Finally, the front pipes were stencilled and the casing was renovated and polished.
Compiled by Joseph Waugh. Technical Specification by John Stiller. For further information and superb photos visit http://sydneyorgan.com/StNicolasCoogee.html.