The Pipe Organ in Wesley Church, Kent Town was installed in 1898. It was built in South Australia by JE Dodd and Sons and is recognised as one of the finest examples of the local organ builder’s work. The quote for the building of the instrument was £873.9/- with a blackwood case costing an additional £96 and the carvings on the case being £40. At the time of its installation, this was the largest church organ in the colony. Its specification was planned by the builder, JE Dodd, and the church organist, E Harold Davies.
The Organ Pipes were manufactured in England by two firms, Bishop and Palmers. The Diapason choruses and the Swell Cornopean were supplied by Bishop, and the string stops, the Great and Pedal reeds by Palmers. The case consists of two towers and three flats. It is 7.62m high, 6.10m wide and richly ornamented. At the opening in December 1898, it was considered to be the largest and most imposing organ case in the colony with the exception of the Adelaide Town Hall. The new organ was regarded as the high water mark of organ building in the colony.
The Church Council has now determined that in order to preserve the instrument a program of restoration and augmentation should be pursued. In order to clean, regulate and revoice the ranks of pipes to restore their original tonal qualities it will be necessary to remove them from the organ several ranks at a time. This procedure is proposed in order to minimise interruptions to the use of the instrument while the work is in progress.
The majority of pipes have not undergone restoration of this magnitude since they were installed although the organ is tuned regularly once a month.
It was envisaged originally that it would be a three manual pipe organ. This was evident from the set of stops built into original console but without the necessary keyboard and pipes. It is planned to complete the instrument by installing the pipe work, and the third keyboard as part of the restoration project.
The specification for the completed organ is included below. An Appeal was launched in 2009 and the target for donations to complete the restoration and augmentation is $210,000. Thanks to the generous response of parishioners over recent years, there is already $130,000 in the organ fund together with several additional ranks of pipes ready to be installed.
By donating to the Wesley Church Kent Town Organ Fund you can play a vital role in the restoration of this much loved historic instrument. To donate please forward your donation, to:
Wesley Church Kent Town Organ Fund, PO Box 2438, Burnside SA 5066
All donations to the Fund are tax deductible and receipts will be issued.