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(Victorian Division) Inc

(Click on the small photos of each organ to view a larger version)

This Division of TOSA owns three Theatre Organs which can be found at the following locations:

Malvern Town Hall, Glenferrie Rd., Malvern - 3/17 Compton

Dendy Theatre, Church St., Brighton - 3/16 Wurlitzer

Coburg Town Hall, Bell St., Coburg - 2/9 Christie/Blackett and Howden

Members of this Division of TOSA installed, and currently maintain a Theatre organ at:

Kingston City Hall (Moorabbin Town Hall), cnr South Rd and Nepean Hwy., Moorabbin - 4/21 Wurlitzer

Members of the Society played a large part in the installation of the:

Regent Theatre, Collins St., Melbourne - 4/36 Wurlitzer

Wesley at Warrugal - 3/10 Wurlitzer

Geelong College - 2/10 Wurlitzer

Malvern Town Hall
3/17 Compton

The Malvern 3/17 Compton was originally installed in 1930 in The Paramount Astoria Theatre, Old Kent Rd., London. The console (this organ originally had two consoles) and 5 ranks were purchased by Society member Frank Douglas in 1966 and transported to Australia. The Society aquired the organ in 1969 and in 1974, 3 further ranks were purchased, along with the traps unit - drums, cymbals and effects.

Between the years 1985 and 1992, extra ranks were added, including a rank of wooden tibia clausa pipes from the St Paul's Cathedral Melbourne organ which was undergoing refurbishment at the time. A xylophone, chrysoglott, chimes, and a very rare harp celeste were also added during this period. By the time the organ was installed in the Malvern Town Hall, the number of ranks had climbed to 15.

The Organ was opened on 11 July 1992, and since then has had the following additions: a rank of Saxophone pipes, a rank of Vox Humana pipes, a Chinese gong and a Mirimba Harp.

Complete stop list of the Malvern 3/17 Compton
Stop Layout of the Malvern 3/17 Compton


Dendy Theatre Brighton
Style 260 3/16 Wurlitzer - Opus 637

Horace Weber 1963 The Style 260 3/16 Wurlitzer Opus 637, was originally installed as a 3/15 in the Capitol Theatre Melbourne in 1924. Originally, the console was as it is today - dark polished wood, but around 1932, it was painted in an off white and gold scheme, shown in the photo at the right, with resident organist, Horace Weber. It was purchased by this division of the Society, removed from the Capitol in 1963, fully refurbished, and installed in the Dendy Theatre at Brighton in 1967.

The organ was removed in December 1983 as a precursor to the refurbishment of the Dendy Theatre complex and was reinstalled on completion of the refurbishment, reopening in April 1987. As the new theatre is fitted out in modern style, drapes completely cover the walls making the theatre into a 'large sound proof room'. This tends to restrict the sound of the organ by preventing reverberation, and making the organ sound rather dead.

The complete Dendy Theatre complex was upgraded in early 2000, with new curtains and state of the art seating, along with complete refurbishment of the foyers, and re-opened in late 2000, with final fitout being carried out in January 2001.

Between 2008 and 2010, the organ was respecified, refurbished, an Open Diapason was added to make it 16 ranks, and the discrete component (transistorised) solid state relay and stop combination setter system, was replaced by a new self contained solid state relay and stop capture system.

Historical photos with resident organist, Horace Weber at the console at the Capitol in 1932 and with Gordon Hamilton, preparing for the final concert in 1963. Photos courtesy Maurice Austin

Complete stop list of the Dendy Wurlitzer


Coburg Town Hall
2/9 Christie/Blackett and Howden

The Coburg Town Hall Christie/Blackett and Howden, was originally installed in the Princes Theatre in North Shields, England, opening to the public with organist Leslie Ord on 7 October 1929. It remained in operation until it was removed from the Princes Theatre by members of our Society in the late 60s, and transported to Australia. Unfortunately, the console and the relay system were not able to be removed from the theatre, and were left behind in England, necessitating the adaptation of another makers console and relay system to the organ - Thus the dual name Christie/Blackett and Howden. The present console was originally part of the Christie organ in the Lyceum Theatre, Sydney, and the relay system, also by Christie, came from another organ.

This organ was installed at Cinema North, in High St., Reservoir, and opened on 23 February 1975. It was used continuously until July 1991, when the theatre was sold, at which time the organ was dismantled and stored at various sites around Melbourne until November 1995, when installation began in the Coburg Town Hall.

The organ, in its current state, has approximately 800 pipes ranging from 16 feet to 3/4 inches, in its 9 ranks, plus two xylophones, an Aeolian harp (mounted on the wall at the rear of the stage), a Chrysoglott, a Glockenspeil, and a set of Cathedral chimes. Plans are to install a piano at a later date.

The organ is powered by a Discus blower, driven by a 10hp 400volt electric motor, producing air pressure at about 20 " water gauge, or about 3/4 pounds per square inch. The console is mounted on a "screw" type lift, enabling it to be lowered into a pit when not in use.

This Organ was presented to the public for the first time in its new venue, at a concert on 20 February 2000, by Ray Thornley and Gail Dibben, and supported by Bernadette Conlon on the Piano Accordion. The organ has since been tonally finished to concert standard by Pipe Organs Australia of Keysborough, Victoria, between August and October 2000, and was presented to a group of enthusiasts, by several organists, including John Atwell, for the first time in its finished form, on 19 December 2000.

Complete stop list for the Coburg Christie/Blackett and Howden
Stop Layout of the Coburg Christie/Blackett and Howden

Updated 6 August 2018
Information supplied by Neil C. Hunter and The Theatre Organ Society of Australia (Victorian Division) Inc

Hosted by Neil C. Hunter

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