Please help rebuild this unique organ
Payneham Road Uniting Church Organ Conservation Appeal
This unique organ is a three-manual instrument and is one of the earliest in Adelaide to be built with electric action from inception.
The Payneham Road Uniting Church is prominently located on Payneham Road at its intersection with Lower Portrush Road. The church (built in 1882) and the adjacent hall (built in 1905), are listed in the SA Heritage Register as a pair of fine Gothic revival buildings of outstanding architectural importance. They constitute a notable and familiar landmark. Both buildings have recently been re-roofed. The interior of the church has been sensitively restored recently and investigations are in hand to repair and internally upgrade the hall which has suffered damage due to its close proximity to heavy traffic on Lower Portrush Road.
Music for worship is led by a pipe organ which was presented to the church by a local family almost 100 years ago. Notably, the organ is a three-manual instrument and is one of the earliest in Adelaide to be built with electric action from inception, in contrast to more usual later conversions from mechanical or pneumatic actions.
The organ was built by Josiah Dodd, who built many of the church organs in and around Adelaide. Tonally, it is a 19th century English romantic organ with a preponderance of unison (8’) stops. Of its 20 stops, 14 are at 8’ pitch, 4 at 4’, 1 at 2’ and 1 at 16’. The unison stops include four useful reed stops labelled trumpet, horn oboe and clarinet which partially compensate the lack of the higher harmonics missing from the range of flue stops. The organ is approaching its 100th anniversary, having been commissioned in 1918.
The organ is regularly tuned and, where possible, running repairs have been undertaken to maintain functionality. Not surprisingly, there has been a progressive loss of functionality as various elements have aged. The wind supply is unstable, resulting in inconsistent voicing and the under-actions have deteriorated so that some notes no longer speak or are unreliable. The touch of the keyboards has also deteriorated. In the words of Adelaide organ builder and tuner, Richard Larritt, the instrument has been patched up for the last 50 years and is now in urgent need of rebuilding.