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St John's Anglican Church, Northam


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 north-eastern end 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
Email Parish office
Other contact information
Previous organ(s)
Date of previous organ None
Detail of previous organ
Dates when key work has been undertaken
Dates of any moves that have taken place
Variations from original design of organ
Information on previous organ
Information about comparable instruments to previous organ
Present organ
Type of installation Freestanding
Case description Polished mahogany gothic casework in typical Dodd style. Display pipes are silver with gold mouths and vermilion lips, arranged with central tower and side flats.
Placement in room South transept
Builder's name J.E. Dodd & Son, Adelaide.
Opus number
Date of completion/installation Ordered 1923, installed 1925
Dedicated Sunday 18 October 1925 by Archdeacon Moore.
Purchase price £945.
Construction materials
Number of manuals Two (2)
Key compasses CC-aaa
Number of keys 58
Key material
Pedal compass CC-f
Number of pedals 30
Pedalboard type Concave radial
Pedalboard material
Type of chests Slider
Marine ply construction (2015)
Type of key action Mechanical
Originally tubular-pneumatic to pedals
Type of stop action Mechanical
    Swell to Great
    Swell to Pedal
    Great to Pedal
Tremulants Swell
Accessories Balanced Swell pedal
Console type Integral, drawstop
Stop label material
Placement Drawstops on flat jambs
General design
Playing aids None
Divisions Great, Swell, Pedal
Wind pressures
Stop list Stoplist 1925:

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

Stoplist 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'

Stoplist 2015:

Open Diapason 8'
Stopped Diapason 8' ex Hohl Flute and new
Harmonic Flute 4' ex Dulciana
Principal 4'
Fifteenth 2' New
Mixture IV New
Trumpet 8' ex Melbourne
Clarabel 8' ex Viol
Viol d'Orchestre 8' ex Labial Oboe
Celeste 8' New
Flute 4' ex Violin Diapason
Piccolo 2' ex Dulcet
Oboe 8' New
Bourdon 16'

Total number of stops 1925: 10
1982: 11
2015: 14
Total number of ranks 1925: 10
1982: 11
2015: 17
Total number of pipes 1925: 504
1982: 590
2015: 926
Dates when key work has been undertaken on current organ

Originally built as 2m., 10, 3c., tr. & pedals.

    Ped: 16.

There are no records of maintenance or refurbishment being carried out between 1925 and 1982, however it does appear that the Great Dulciana pipework was changed at some point.

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 flute. Great windchest was beyond restoration and was replaced, allowing for expansion of the organ to provide for Stopped Diapason, Harmonic Flute, Trumpet and four-rank Mixture.

The organ was returned to the church in December 2015. Regulation and voicing was completed and the organ used in its full capacity for Christmas 2015 services.

Dates of any moves that have taken place to current organ None
Information on current organ Fully maintained and in in constant use
Comparable instruments to current organ There are many J E Dodd organ in Australia of similar configuration and tonal design.
Current status In excellent condition
Assessment of organ
Other organs by this builder There are many existant organs by J E Dodd in Australia
Refer to Organ Historical Trust of Australia documentation.

There are several organs by J E Dodd in Western Australia. Please refer to Western Australian Organs Builders Index

There are many organs by Pipe Organs of Western Australia in Australia. Please refer to Western Australian Organs Builders Index
Photographs Pre refurbishment photograph of the organ by Graham Devenish
Photos of the church building and organ by Bruce Duncan
Technical documents In The Pipeline article
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.