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Northam St John

Northam St John




The refurbished organ 13 December 2015

Name of institution St John's Anglican Church
Type of institution Church
Street Address Wellington Street
City Northam
State Western Australia
Postcode 6401
Country Australia
Name of building St John's Anglican Church
Name of room Church sanctuary
Dates of the building 1890
Architect’s and builder’s names Francis Bird, Architects
Howard Evans designed the Parish Hall in 1897
Special architectural features St John’s Anglican Church and Parish Hall, Northam has a high degree of authenticity. The majority of the fabric of both the 1890 church and the 1897 hall remains intact. The hall was extended in 1957 and remains largely as completed at that time. A vestry was added to the church in 1971 and the altar was adapted to conform to liturgical changes. The roof of the church was replaced with shingles in 1928, repaired with sheoak shingles after a fire in 1944, and replaced with asbestos shingles in 1977. No other major changes have been made to the church and it remains largely as it was constructed in 1890.
St John’s Anglican Church and Parish Hall, Northam is significant as a pair of well-composed stone ecclesiastical buildings in a landscaped setting constructed in the Victorian Academic Gothic style built over several periods of development.  The Church is a fine example of an Anglican Church constructed in a major regional centre in the late 19th century to a design by significant Perth architect, Francis Bird. The belltower, stained glass windows and tessellated tiles to the floor of the porch are details of particular aesthetic value.
Special fittings F. G. B. Hawkins designed the WWII Memorial Screen in 1948, Marshall Clifton designed the vestry in 1971, and stained glass artists E. G. Bowers (1955) and A. S. Brown (1982) made the windows.

Other location information

St John’s Anglican Church and Parish Hall is sited on elevated land on the northern outskirts of the town of Northam. The buildings are spaced apart with mature trees, landscaped gardens and a recent stone boundary fence.
The church demonstrates the growth of the Northam Anglican community in the 1890s, as a larger church was needed to replace the original smaller St James Anglican Church (1851). The location of the new church demonstrates the pattern of occupation of Northam as the town centre had shifted since St James’ construction.

Name of contact
Mailing Address
Other contact information


Date of previous organs None
Detail of previous organs
Dates when key work has been undertaken
Dates of any moves that have taken place
Variations from original design of organ
Information on previous organs
Information about comparable instruments to previous organs
Present organ
Type of installation Chamber
Case description Polished mahogany gothic casework
Placement in room South transept
Builder's name J.E. Dodd & Son, Adelaide.
Opus number
Date of completion/installation Ordered 1923
Installed 1925
Construction materials
Number of manuals Two (2)
Key compasses
Number of keys 56
Key material
Pedal compass
Number of pedals 30
Pedalboard type Concave radial
Pedalboard material
Type of chests Slider
Type of key action Mechanical (originally tubular-pneumatic to pedals)
Type of stop action Mechanical
Couplers Swell to Great, Swell to Pedal, Great to Pedal
Tremulants Swell
Accessories    Balance Swell pedal
Console type Integral, drawstop
Stop label material
Placement Drawstops on flat jambs
General design
Playing aids
Divisions    Great, Swell, Pedal
Wind pressures
Stop list

Stoplist from 1982:

Open Diapason 8'
Claribel 8'
Dulciana 8'
Principal 4'
Fifteenth 2'
Violin Diapason 8'
Viol d'Orchestre 8'
Hohl Flute 8'
Dulcet 4'
Labial Oboe 8'
Bourdon 16'


Rebuilt stoplist 2015:

Open Diapason 8'
Stopped Diapason 8' New
Harmonic Flute 4' New
Principal 4'
Fifteenth 2'
Mixture IV New
Trumpet 8' New
Clarabel 8' Moved from GT
Viol d'Orchestre 8'
Celeste 8' New
Flute 4'
Piccolo 2' New
Oboe 8' New
Bourdon 16'



Total number of stops Originally 10, then 11, now 14
Total number of ranks Originally 10, then 11, now 17
Total number of pipes Originally 504, then 590, now 926
Dates when key work has been undertaken on current organ Originally built as 2m., 10, 3c., tr. & pedals.  Gt:  Sw: Ped: 16.
Restored in 1982 by Bellsham Pipe Organs (Australia).  Pedal converted to tracker action, Fifteenth added to Great.
Removed from the church for rebuilding and enlargement June 2015. Tonal design enhanced with addition of reeds and upperwork. Reworking of the transmission to remove heavy action and to provide full length wooden trackers to all divisions. Swell box enhanced with new timber lining to accommodate a new Oboe (not labial), Celeste and harmonic flute. Great windchest replaced to provide for Trumpet and four-rank Mixture.
The organ returned to the church in December 2015 and was partially available for the service on Sunday 13 December. Regulation and voicing was completed in the following week and the organ used in its full capacity for Christms services.
Dates of any moves that have taken place to current organ None
Information on current organ


Comparable instruments to current organ
Current status In excellent condition
Assessment of organ
Other organs by this builder There are many existant organs by J E Dodd in Australia
J E Dodd
Photographs Pre refurbishment photograph of the organ by Graham Devenish
Photos of the church and organ by Bruce Duncan
Technical documents 
General documents Information on buildings and historical detail from the Heritage Council of Western Australia
Supporting information
Document control

Original entries J R Elms, OAM, Gazetteer of Western Australian Pipe Organs, 1971, 1999,2003 and 2004.
This entry D B Duncan 15 January 2009.
Additional photograph from Graham Devenish 10 February 2009
Stoplist added by Bruce Duncan 26 February 2009.
Additional photos of organ added by Bruce Duncan 12 December 2012.
Detail of organ rebuild by Bruce Duncan 18 October 2015.

Further detail of organ rebuild by Graham Devenish and new photos Bruce Duncan 12 December 2015.
Clipping from West Australian Newspapers sources by Nola Chamberlain 09 April 2018.