Only Remaining Pipe Estey Turns 100

Filed in Just In by September 11, 2018

“THE singing was very loud, we nearly lifted the roof during How Great Thou Art,” said Ann Martin, organist during the centenary celebration of the Estey Pipe organ at St Andrews in Scone.

The church was packed on Sunday afternoon with music lovers in appreciation of the only Estey pipe organ still playing in Australia.

The pipe organ was made in America and only four were sent to Australia:

  • 1908 – the Crystal Palace Theatre in George Street, Sydney, which was destroyed in a fire in 1921;
  • 1908 – the Catholic Church of Mary Immaculate and St Athanasius in Manly which was broken up in 1970;
  • 1912 – St Andrew’s Uniting Church in Scone, was installed in 1918 and is still playing today, and
  • 1913 – St Stephen’s Uniting Church in Toowoomba, Queensland which was damaged by fire in 1989 and removed.

“Ann Martin is the current organist and paid tribute to the organists in the community who had played it during the past 100 years.

“The first organist was a Miss B.G.Connelly who played until 1931 and sometimes assisted by Mrs Olive MacCallum, then there was Miss Dorothy Asser who died in 1959,” said Ms Martin.

“Joan Mannell then became the organist, who many people in the community would remember from so many community events, then Millicent Smith took the reigns and by the early 1980’s Helia Snyman, Dr Snyman’s wife played and then I began playing,” she said.

“It has been a privilege to play the organ, I was trained on the piano so not a trained organist by any means, but Ive’ adapted,” she said.

“I enjoy doing it because it is an avenue of service and playing for weddings and funerals I’ve always found very rewarding, to create a peaceful atmosphere during those times for people is a privilege,” she said.

“It is incredible that there have been such good care takers of the organ, the people who’ve played the organ, the community who have cared for it and the the tuners who make sure it is always in good working order,” Ann Martin said.

During the centenary celebrations an organist from the Hunter District Music Society played the organ, the Scone Singers Performed and members of the Upper Hunter Conservatorium of Music.

More than $740 were raised through donations which will go to a fund for scripture in local schools and caring for troubled youth in the area.