The Organ

The Organ Console

The first organ for the Cathedral was built in 1876 by Bishop and Son and contained 29 stops over three manuals and pedals. It is now in use at St Augustine's Church, Unley.

The present four manual instrument was newly built in 1929 by Hill, Norman and Beard and was dedicated on 6 July 1930. This same company built and rebuilt, respectively, two other significant Australian organs during this period, those in the Melbourne Town Hall and St Paul’s Cathedral, Melbourne. The organ in St Peter’s Cathedral is highly regarded, both for its warm and blended sounds and for the refinement of the voicing of its stops. These qualities are enhanced by the Cathedral’s wonderfully resonant acoustics.

Unlike many such organs, both in Australia and elsewhere, this historically important instrument remains largely unaltered and has not, fortunately, fallen to the passing ravages of changing tastes and fashions in organ building. The arrival of three new and splendid concert organs in secular venues in Adelaide has served to emphasise and complement that significance. The first part of the yet-to-be-completed case work was donated in 1963, by its designer, William Bagot.

Since the building of the organ two stops have been added: a Mixture on the Great Organ (1986) and a 32’ Contra Trombone on the Pedal Organ (1989). The huge pipes of the contra trombone can be seen against the wall of the Sacristy, opposite the main pipes of the organ and — interestingly — serve to demonstrate how low frequency sounds are non-directional. The 32’ Open Diapason rank, placed within the instrument, contains the largest organ pipes in South Australia.

See the organ specification.

The Organ Historical Trust has an excellent history, description and photographs of the St Peter's Cathedral Organ.

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