Organ Historical Trust of Australia

The Organ Historical Trust of Australia (OHTA) is a national organisation which works towards (1) the protection, conservation and restoration of pipe organs in Australia, (2) the preservation of records pertaining to their history, the promotion of organ repertoire and organ playing to the general public, and (3) the encouragement of scholarly research into the history and use of pipe organs and their repertoire.[1]


Origin and Foundation

OHTA's establishment in 1977 took place in response to a period following World War II when several significant organs in Australia were either destroyed completely (for example, the Grand Organ erected in 1880 by Geo. Fincham[2] and Son[3] in the Royal Exhibition Building, Melbourne, Victoria[4]}, significantly altered (for example, the organs of St. Andrew's Anglican Cathedral, Sydney, New South Wales[5], St. John's Anglican Cathedral, Brisbane, Queensland[6], the 1926 J.E. Dodd[7] organ of St. Francis Xavier's Catholic Cathedral, Adelaide, South Australia[8] and the Pilgrim Uniting (originally Congregational) Church[9] organ[10], also in Adelaide), or left temporarily or permanently disused while being replaced with electronic or digital organs (for example, St. Joseph's Catholic Church, Newtown, New South Wales[11], and St. Mary's Anglican Church, Kangaroo Point, a suburb of Brisbane.[12])

On 13 May 1977, a public meeting was held in the Chapter House of St. Paul's Anglican Cathedral, Melbourne, and OHTA was formed. At the time, the organisation was conceived as a means for extending the work of the National Trust of Australia. In 1978, OHTA was incorporated under the Victorian Companies Act 1961, directed by a Council made up of representatives from each State of Australia[13], and offering membership to all members of the general public.[14] OHTA is now registered with the Australian Federal Government's Register of Cultural Organisations[15] which allows it to receive financial gifts which are tax deductible.



  1. ^
  2. ^ and
  3. ^ For historical information, see This website,, includes a listing of all the organs built by this company in the period 1864-1994.
  4. ^ See According to this website, the organ, with 4 manuals, 70 speaking stops and 4,726 pipes, was shown as No. 20 in the list of the world's largest organs at that time.
  5. ^ and
  6. ^ and Both websites report on major alterations being undertaken on this instrument in the period 2009-2010 following the organ's enlargement and electrification in 1972.
  7. ^
  8. ^
  9. ^
  10. ^
  11. ^ As this website shows, the organ there is unplayable - see A Rogers analog organ has been in use there for several years.
  12. ^ For a history and description of the instrument, Queensland's oldest pipe organ, see In this case, several attempts, the last being in 2007, have been made to raise sufficient funds for the organ's restoration or alteration, without success. This church is currently using an Allen digital organ which was purchased in 2008 - see
  13. ^
  14. ^
  15. ^

External links

Detailed information about the Organ Historical Trust of Australia is available in its own website [1].

An archive of documents and other material covering the period from the founding of the Organ Historical Trust of Australia in 1977 is held at The University of Melbourne [2].

Additional written and photographic material is held within the State Library of New South Wales - see An archive of documents and other material covering the period from the founding of the Organ Historical Trust of Australia in 1977 is held at The University of Melbourne [3].

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