“An organ of unrivalled tonal opulence speaking into one of the finest acoustics for organ music in Australia.”

John Maidment – Chairman, Organ Historical Trust of Australia.

“I am delighted to lend my support to the proposed restoration which will ensure that the distinctive and distinguished voice of this instrument will continue to be enjoyed by future generations”
Thomas Trotter – Visiting Professor of Organ, The Royal College of Music, London.


Installed in 1930, the magnificent Hill, Norman and Beard Organ of St Peter’s Cathedral has accompanied choir and congregation at worship, recital, and concert. In the course of its life, it has played for Synod services, ordinations and consecrations, and royal visits. It has thrilled worshippers and visitors alike – accompanying school and community carol services, and memorial services for world greats. It has provided accompaniment to generations of children who began their musical life as Cathedral Choristers and Organ Scholars.

The present need: bringing the organ to life

The Cathedral Council commissioned several national and international companies to assess the organ and make recommendations for bringing it to life. The successful company was Harrison and Harrison of Durham, England. Among their successful restorations are organs at St Paul’s Cathedral, London, Westminster Abbey and King’s College, Cambridge.

Their findings are a true indication of the state of the instrument:

  • There are broken and damaged pipes
  • Parts of the keyboard and stops are inoperable
  • The bellows have been patched on numerous occasions to remain functional
  • The organ ceases to function at various times

In short, the organ is in desperate need of considerable restorative work.

In 2015 Cathedral Council made the decision not to use the organ until it has been properly restored. A tender for full restoration of the organ by Harrison and Harrison was accepted by Cathedral Council in 2016, and a small deposit was paid to secure a place on Harrison and Harrison’s books.

The future aim: filling the Cathedral with sound

If the money can be raised, Harrison and Harrison will arrange for the dismantling of the organ during 2017. It would then be shipped to Durham and restored to the specifications of the Cathedral Council under advice from the experts who were consulted.

Once the restoration is of the organ is complete, it is expected that it would be back in service late 2018 and ready to fill the nave with sound for the sesquicentenary of the Cathedral in 2019.

The cost

The estimate to bring the organ up to the desired standard, including dismantling, transportation and reassembly, is $2 million AUD. Given this significant cost, full restoration of the organ will only be possible with the assistance of private support from the community. The Cathedral Council commissioned a small task force to seek funding for the project from philanthropists, Trusts, Foundations and the greater Anglican community. Tax deductible donations can be made through the Cathedral Music Foundation.

For more information on how you can help to bring this magnificent instrument back to full voice, enriching the lives of future generations through its glorious sound, please contact:

Rick Sawers: 0438 008 348 or Don Donlan: 0437 327 101