Hunter Baillie Memorial Presbyterian Church
Cnr. Johnston & Collins Streets, Annandale

             In dulci jubilo        a recording to support the organ restoration 

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Drawing by Andrew Foy


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Hunter Baillie Memorial Presbyterian Church, William Hill Organ Photograph courtesy Pastór de LasalaThe Organ

What you are hearing is A Christmas Prelude by Frederick Septimus Kelly (1881-1916) performed by Ralph Lane OAM. (duration 2'40")

The visually striking and majestic sounding instrument in the Hunter Baillie Church is by the English organ builder William Hill & Son, and was installed in the church in 1892.  It is certainly conjectural, but highly probable that the choice of this builder, apart from his fame in England and elsewhere, rests in his being the successful tenderer for the construction of his magnum opus, the Grand Organ in Sydney Town Hall.   

The tall, neo-Gothic casework, in the same style as Arthur G. Hill's 1888 case in Chichester Cathedral, is of exceptional beauty and is unique among Hill's many organs in Australia. Decorative tracery fills the spaces between the tops of the display pipes and cornice mouldings, the display pipes being of burnished tin as well as (unusually) of wood. The cornice mouldings are decorated with gilded paterę and those of the pipe towers and flats are topped with traceried parapets.

The tonal concept of the organ comprises twenty-four stops distributed over three manuals and pedals with a complete diapason chorus being available on the Great manual and with the Swell and Choir divisions composed of flutes, strings and reeds.  Throughout its one hundred and fourteen year history the organ has remained substantially unaltered (although fashion, and the tastes and fancies of interested parties did effect various changes to the instrument until the 1980s).

Thanks to the generosity of the many musicians who have donated their services to the cause of the Organ Restoration Fund, and the patronage of a loyal and enthusiastic audience, we have raised over $85,000 in thirteen seasons of our Spring Festival of Music. That amount, together with matching grants from the N.S.W. Heritage Council, has now allowed us to complete two stages of the Organ Restoration Project: first, the complete refurbishment of the Choir organ including restoration of the Swell Cornopean stop which, in February 1997, was playable once again at its original place in the organ and heard for the first time in more than a century! Current work (the completion of Stage Two) has entailed shipping the Great Trumpet rank to the UK for detailed refurbishment by an expert in Victorian reeds of the Hill period.

Thanks to the help of all our benefactors and friends, we look forward to achieving more of the colossal but long-overdue task of restoring this exceptional example of Australia's organ heritage. Donations of $2.00 and over are tax deductible.

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