Adelaide - City Council, Town Hall and Allied Matters
The Town Hall Organ
(Taken from Geoffrey H. Manning's A Colonial Experience)
It is an old saying that a Corporation has neither a soul to be saved nor a
body to be kicked. Nor is it less true that it has not a heart to be grateful.
Otherwise that long and still unfinished discussion in the City Council as
to the arrangements for opening the great organ could never have taken place.
Those to whose exertions we owe it that we have any organ at all ought clearly
to have been invited in the first instance to make arrangements for celebrating
its erection, and until they were conclusively proved to be unable to undertake
the task, no meddlesome interlopers should have been allowed to interfere.
(Observer, 7 April 1877, p. 14.)
On 2 October 1877 the Adelaide Town Hall organ was played publicly for the first time, the occasion being the swearing in of the governor, Sir W.F.D. Jervois. Built by the famous London firm of William Hill & Sons, who were responsible for the organs now in Westminster Abbey and Queen's Hall, the instrument had, originally, but three manuals, with 38 speaking and nine mechanical stops.
In 1885, the Adelaide firm of Finchem & Hobday added a fourth, or solar manual, of nine stops with additional mechanical aids. Since its installation the care of the organ has been in the able hands of Mr J.E. Dodd, to whose skilled attention its present good order is ascribable.
Since 1877, however, not a few improvements in organ construction have taken place and, today, its need of modernisation is obvious. Brought up to date it would be possible for organ music, together with orchestral and pianoforte items judiciously arranged for 'the king of instruments', to be played effectively and without obtrusive clangour inseparable from obsolete mechanism.
Without sacrificing existing charm, a skilful modernisation of the organ would enable talented players, of whom we have several in our living midst, to bring the best music to Adelaide folk assembled in our town hall. If at the same time, a reasonable stipend could be paid to the city organist, the best men would be attracted to compete for that proud position. With an up-to-date organ and a thoroughly capable organist, municipal music in Adelaide might well increase and flourish.
The desirability of obtaining an organ for the Town Hall is discussed
in the Advertiser,
12 August 1862, page 3c,
18 August 1863, page 3b,
22 August 1863, page 8b,
20 July 1867, page 2e (supp.),
24 and 31 August 1867, pages 2d (supp.) and 2e,
25 May 1872, page 13f,
2 May 1872, page 2b,
17 August 1875, page 3d,
14 February 1874, page 5d,
17 and 19 August 1875, pages 7c and 5a,
5 February 1877, page 5c,
10 February 1877, page 11b,
10 March 1877, page 5f; also see
1 February 1877, page 5c for specifications of the organ and
17, 22, 27, 28 March 1877, pages 5g, 6a, 4g and 4c,
8, 9, 11, 14 and 16 May 1877, pages 4g, 7d, 4g, 6b and 4g; also see
15 September 1877, page 2e,
3 October 1877, page 3f.
For information on the first organ recital see Register,
2 and 3 October 1877, pages 5b and 6a; also see
6 and 9 October 1877, pages 5g and 6a,
11, 16, 24 and 25 February 1882, pages 5a-6f, 6b, 6g and 1e (supp.),
26 July 1882, page 6e,
22 October 1884, page 4h,
12 May 1885, page 5a,
13 October 1886, page 5h,
14 September 1898, page 4g,
13 October 1886, page 3g; also see
4 March 1885, page 6b,
10 April 1885, page 4a,
16 July 1890, page 4d.
An organ recital for the blind is reported in the Register,
16 March 1885, page 7e;
"The Organ Recitals" on
10 April 1885, pages 5a-7b.
"The Appointment of City Organist" is in the Register,
8 and 11 May 1891, pages 7f and 3f.
An obituary of George Oughton, the first city organist, is in the Register,
13 September 1898, page 6a.
"The Town Hall Organ" is in the Register,
14 September 1898, page 4g.
"The City Organist - W.R. Pybus" is in the Express,
15 April 1899, page 5b;
an obituary is in the
12 November 1917, page 4g.
"City Council and Sunday [Organ] Recitals" is in the Register,
29 May 1909, page 8g.
"The City Organist - Some Reflections" is in the Advertiser,
13 December 1913, page 6h.
A controversy over the appointment of a "city organist" appears on
14 September 1929, page 20d.
"City Organist" is in the Register,
24 September 1917, page 3e.
"Town Hall Organ" is in the Register,
9 May 1918, page 4f.
"Town Hall Organ Jubilee" is in the Register,
5 October 1927, page 10e.
"Organ Recitals" is in the Register,
26 November 1927, page 18h.