Church puts a whole new spin on organ donors

A small group of East Maitland parishioners have embarked on a large-scale campaign to raise money for the restoration of an 1897 pipe organ.

Parishioners at St Stephen’s Presbyterian Church, East Maitland, have organised events to garner much-needed funds for the Charles Richardson Pipe Organ.

“The last quote we had to restore the organ was for $120,000 so we have quite a bit of money to raise,” parishioner Dorothy Cotton said.

“This organ is one of the first of its kind that was fully made in Australia and each one is different, so restoring this instrument is a very specialist area.”

The organ was built by Charles Richardson of Sydney at a cost of £270.

The instrument remains intact, the only modification being the addition of electric blowing. 

The preservation of this instrument – a rare and pristine example of its builder’s work – should be considered a priority.

“In Europe these organs have been in churches for a couple of hundred years, but here in Australia there is the mentality that if it’s broken then we’ll just throw it out, but you have to stick with these things,” parish minister Reverend Gordon Peden said.

n  The fund-raising campaign will begin with an afternoon tea at St Stephen’s Hall on March 16, at 2pm. A hymnfest will follow at the church on Sunday, March 24, also at 2pm.

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