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Wesley Uniting Church, York

Wesley Church York
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Wesley Church York

Wesley Church York

Wesley Church York
The church has an active concert series, this photo in June 2008
Performers are (L-R) Dominic Perissinotto, Rae-Helen Fisenden, Neil Fisenden, Clare Tunney

Wesley Church York
Organ prior to restoration in 2001

York Wesley Church
The Violin Diapason rank racked and ready to mount on the wall behind the organ

Name of institution Wesley Uniting Church
Type of institution Church
Street Address Corner Grey and Pool Street
City York
State Western Australia
Postcode 6302
Country Australia
Name of building Wesley Uniting Church
Name of room Church sanctuary
Dates of the building 1888
Architect's and builder's names A. M. Bonython of Terry & Oakden, Architects, Perth.
Pringle & Moscrip, Builders, Albany and Perth.
Special architectural features Stained glass windows of the church are all pastels of the colours displayed in the diapering of the organ pipes.
Special fittings The church has an extremely fine 1905 John Warner & Sons bell.
There is also a clock believed to have been purchased in 1892.
Both items are still in use at the church.
Other location information The original Methodist Church built in 1852. It is now used as the church hall.

The first minister was the Rev John Smithies who came to York in 1852 to establish the church and a native mission.

The current building was erected as a chapel by followers of the Wesleyan Denomination. The foundation was laid on the 25th April 1888 by Mr J.H. Monger of Faversham House. It was built at a cost of £945 which was raised by donations. The beautiful stone used in the building was donated and carted by some of the adherents.

The opening took place on the 22nd August 1888, the Rev Thomas Bird officiating, assisted by the Rev William Lowe.

The Monk organ was purchased in 1895 by donations collected by Miss Florence Monger and was hand-pumped until an electric blower was installed in 1929. Mrs Vera Hardwick was organist for 50 years.
Name of contact
Mailing Address
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 Free standing case, floor mounted
Case description Simple case with three flats
Placement in room Front centre on floor
Builder's name Alfred Monk, London, United Kingdom.
Opus number Unknown
Date of completion/installation 1895
Construction materials Casework and frame is in Pitch Pine
Number of manuals Two (2)
Key compasses C-ggg
Number of keys 56 notes
Key material Ivory covered naturals, ebony sharps
Pedal compass C-f
Number of pedals 30 notes
Pedalboard type Concave straight
Pedalboard material Boxwood naturals
Type of chests Slider
Type of key action Mechanical
Type of stop action Mechanical
Couplers Great to Pedal 8
(also couples Swell to Pedal when Swell to Great coupler drawn)
Swell to Great 8.
Tremulants Swell
Accessories None
Console type Integrated
Stop label material Ivory caps on turned wood spindles
Placement Drawknob, flat arrayed SW and Ped on left, GT on right
General design
Playing aids Swell hitchdown lever
Divisions Great, Swell, Pedal
Wind pressures Electric blowing
One double rise reservoir
Wooden trunking throughout
Original hand blowing mechanism removed
Stop list
Open Diapason 8' metal, open 56 pipes
Clarabel 8' metal/wood, stopped 56 pipes
Harmonic Flute 4' metal, open 56 pipes
Gedeckt 8' wood, stopped 56 pipes
Gemshorn 8' metal, open 56 pipes
Principal 4' metal, open 56 pipes
[ Violin Diapason TC ] 8' metal, open 44 pipes
Bourdon 16' wood, stopped 30 pipes
Total number of stops Seven (7)
Total number of ranks Seven (7)
Total number of pipes 366 (410 with the non-speaking Violin Diapason rank included)
Dates when key work has been undertaken on current organ Erected 1895 by Mr Haymore, Nicholson & Co., Perth.

Restoration work in 1904 by J .E. Dodd (no detail recorded)

Refurbishment in 1929 by Cousans Limited with an electric blower to replace the hand blowing mechanism and the installation of a tremulant on the Swell organ at a cost of £118.

Relocated from front choir gallery to floor of church.

Overpainting of original case and pipe colours. c1960

Restored in 1982 by F.J. Larner & Co. Tonal adjustments and refurbishment (no detail recorded). Possible stripping back of case to remove black overpainting. Pipes remain overpainted in silver.

Tonal alteration in 1990 by F.J. Larner & Co. Gemshorn substituted for Swell Violin Diapason.

Refurbished in 2001 by F.J.Larner & Co. Pipework cleaned, leathers and felt replaced.
Pipework stencilling to restore remnant of original diapering in 2001 by Pipe Organs W A

New wood wind trunking to replace flexible tubing in 2003 by Pipe Organs W A

Pedal roller board re-bushed in 2005 by Pipe Organs W A.
Dates of any moves that have taken place to current organ Originally located on a raised platform, now located free standing on the floor of the church. Date of the move is unknown, but most probably in the period 1904 to 1929.
Information on current organ The original Violin Diapason TC 8' rank (44 metal pipes, open slotted) removed from the Swell organ in 1990 because it was deemed "too loud" is one of only four known slotted Violin Diapason ranks in Western Australian organs. The others are at The Holy Trinity Anglican Church, York, St. Augustine's Uniting Church, Bunbury, (named a Viola d Gamba), and St John's Anglican Church, Kalgoorlie, (at 2' pitch).

This rank of pipes was been found and re-purchased in 2009 and has been mounted on the wall behind the organ to provide historical integrity of the instrument. Full story is found here. The Violin Diapason rank is not connected to the organ and cannot be played.
Comparable instruments to current organ There are no other organs by Alfred Monk in Australia.

The organ is comparable in tone to the broad-scale organs of Hill & Son (Alfred Monk was at one time an apprentice to Arthur Hill).
Current status In fine condition and constant use.
Assessment of organ Listed with the Organ Historical Trust of Australia as perhaps the best example of a Victorian era organ in its original location in Australia.

Although of small tonal resources, this is a very well constructed instrument.
Other organs by this builder There are no other organs by Alfred Monk in Australia.

Albert Edward Pease, organ builder and builder of the organ located at Holy Trinity Church, York, operated his business in the period 1890 to 1909 in London. He is known to have traded from two addresses: Kenmure Yard, Kenmure Rd, Hackney, London, from 1890 to 1891, and from 49 Grayling Rd, Stoke Newington, London, 1896 to 1909 . There does not appear to be any personal information available on Albert Pease but his business was taken over by Alfred Monk. It is assumed that his business reverted to Alfred Monk because of his death, but this cannot be verified.

Alfred Monk, born 1848, also traded as an organ builder of some renown in London in the period 1862 to 1926. He built the organ for Wesley Uniting Church York in 1895, so the coincidence of Pease and Monk constructing an organ on the other side of the world for churches a mere stone's throw apart on the other side of the world cannot be underestimated.

There is no proven link between the two, and the construction of the respective organs is not alike enough to suggest they come from the same stable. The premises of Monk at the time of construction of both these organs was 28 Hilldrop Rd, Islington, London, where he had operated since 1891. As a matter of conjecture, Pease may have been using Monk's premises in the period 1891 till he re-established himself in Stoke Newingtion in 1896. These properties are just over three kilometres from each other, separated then by the Great Northern Railway at Finsbury Park and, now, the Arsenal Football Club headquarters in the Emirates Stadium in the central north of London.

Alfred Monk built 67 of his pipe organs for installations throughout Great Britain and a number of others exported to other countries, although information on these is difficult to obtain. Mostly his exported organs went to Europe; some also went to Africa and Asia. There are no other known organs by Alfred Monk in Australia, although there are some components in the large organ in Randwick Uniting Church, Sydney, built by him for W G Rendall, an Adelaide organ builder.
Photographs Photographs by Bruce Duncan
Technical documents The restoration of the Albert E Pease organ, Holy Trinity Anglican Church, York, Western Australia. Dr Bruce Duncan, 05 January 2020.
General documents York Uniting Church, Hall and Manse Conservation Management Plan prepared for the York Church Council by Laura Gray, Heritage & Conservation Consultant, December 2008.
Supporting information Copy of The West Australian Friday 30th August 1895
Some historical information from York Tourism
A 2004 History of the Organ is available here.
Document control Original entries J R Elms, OAM, Gazetteer of Western Australian Pipe Organs, 1971, 1999,2003 and 2004.
Additional research 2001 to 2008 Bruce Duncan
This entry D B Duncan 24 Nov 2008.
Additional information found in the Conservation Management Plan prepared by Laura Gray, 15 Feb 2009.
Information on the Violin Diapason stop re-purchase by Bruce Duncan with assistance from John Larner, 24 Mar 2009.
Copy of The West Australian newspaper 30th August 1895 kindly provided by Mr John Maidment, OAM, 24 May 2010.
Photograph of Violin Diapason rank added by Bruce Duncan, 10 Feb 2012. Inclusion of information from The restoration of the Albert E Pease organ, Holy Trinity Anglican Church, York, Western Australia. Dr Bruce Duncan, 05 January 2020.