St Mark’s Anglican Church Balnarring has been blessed with the acquisition of a notable pipe organ with the generous support of Whitley College and Bendigo Bank.
Whitley College Chapel: chapel and organ. Photograph by John Maidment, 5 December 2007.
The organ was built in 1975 by Laurie Pipe Organs Pty Ltd, of Moorabbin, Vic. The asymmetrical casework was designed by Steve Laurie and includes folding doors and swell shutters on the roof of the case. It is a rare example of a new mechanical action organ built by the firm, which unsuccessfully quoted on building a number of others, such as the chapel of Merton Hall, South Yarra, Robert Blackwood Hall, Monash University, Corpus Christi College, Clayton and St Paul’s Church, Henty.2
The organ was used for several concerts during the 1970s for the Melbourne International Festival of Organ and Harpsichord.
Whitley College Chapel: organ. Photograph by John Maidment, 5 December 2007.
The organ is notable for its excellence of construction, and its bright and characterful sound, enhanced by the acoustic. The bass pipes of the Pedal Bourdon have been constructed in a common unit, with shared side walls and the levers for the stop action are exposed on the left-hand side of the case. The organ may be played with the doors closed and there are also swell shutters mounted on the roof of the case. The manual ranks are divided between B and C.
[Manual to Pedal coupler]
Mechanical key and stop action
Balanced swell pedal3
The organ was classified by the National Trust of Australia (Victoria) in 2008 as a significant example of a pipe organ of the period:
• It is one of a handful of new mechanical action instruments built by the Laurie firm;
• It is the most successful small organ built in Melbourne with mechanical action during the 1970s period;
• It is an instrument displaying originality in its appearance, fine craftsmanship and an excellent sound;
• It is an early example of a number of new mechanical action organs installed in the 1970s within Melbourne as part of the local organ reform movement.
With the recent sale of the buildings of Whitley College, the organ has been relocated to St Mark’s Anglican Church Balnarring.
This information is from http://www.ohta.org.au/organs/organs/ParkvilleWhitley.html