TUNE UP: David Vann OAM, Patron of the Organ Restoration Appeal at St Thomas' Anglican Church.
TUNE UP: David Vann OAM, Patron of the Organ Restoration Appeal at St Thomas' Anglican Church. Cordell Richardson

Ipswich's one of a kind organ in need of $250K restoration

CHURCH-GOERS and music lovers around Ipswich are being asked to dig deep to help with the restoration of one of the district's most significant musical instruments.

Built in 1889 and installed at St Thomas' Anglican Church in 1892, the rare James Cole organ is the only one of its kind to be imported into Australia.

But the sweet sounds of a restored organ won't come cheap, with the Organ Historical Trust of Australia seeking to raise $250,000 to pay for a qualified organ builder to head up the restoration.

While the imposing organ still looks beautiful, it cannot be played properly or used in church services for much more than a short hymn.

For Appeal Patron David Vann OAM, the end goal of bringing a working piece of musical history back to life more than outweighs the cost.

"The sound, until 20 or 30 years ago was just absolutely incredible. The mechanism now is just worn out, the bellows are wearing out, the pipework is full of dirt. It has to be completely rebuilt," he said.

 

Organ Restoration Appeal committee at St Thomas Anglican Church.
Organ Restoration Appeal committee at St Thomas Anglican Church. Cordell Richardson

It is hoped that after the organ is restored, local schools, universities and musicians will take advantage of having a rare world-class instrument in the district, with plans to organise a booking system for community use and performance.

"An organ shouldn't sit in a church to be used for a couple of hours on a Sunday, it doesn't do them any good," Mr Vann said.

"The church's mission isn't to hoard nice things behind closed doors, it's to add to the life of the community as a whole," St Thomas' Locum Priest Robert Paget said.

Those interested in contributing to the appeal can visit www.stthomasorganrestoration.org.au



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