Beech­worth re­claims iconic or­gan

Wangaratta Chronicle - - Regional News -

A NINE­TEENTH cen­tury pipe or­gan which was for­merly lo­cated at the Beech­worth Town Hall is set to re­turn to its orig­i­nal Aus­tralian home.

The Beech­worth Or­gan So­ci­ety was re­cently suc­cess­ful with its $6000 bid to have the iconic in­stru­ment re­turned to Beech­worth.

Beech­worth Or­gan So­ci­ety pres­i­dent Mark Stephens said the or­gan was orig­i­nally in­stalled in the town hall in 1886 and may well have come from a stately home in the south of Eng­land.

“At that time, Beech­worth was re­cov­er­ing from the dread­ful Ned Kelly saga so the pipe or­gan and the or­nate town hall would have rep­re­sented a bold move to es­tab­lish the town as a cul­tural cen­tre for the re­gion,” he said.

It was given pride of place at cen­tre stage be­tween the col­umns and re­mained there un­til 1906 when af­ter fall­ing into dis­re­pair it was sold by the Beech­worth Shire for 20 pounds.

The or­gan ended up at St Al­ban’s Angli­can Church in North Mel­bourne and came up for auc­tion this year fol­low­ing the church’s clo­sure.

“Thanks to John Maid­ment, chair of the Or­gan His­tor­i­cal Trust of Aus­tralia, I was told about its back­ground and the sale,” Mr Stephens said.

“We were able to clearly es­tab­lish its au­then­tic­ity from a pho­to­graph which he dis­cov­ered in the ar­chives of the Burke Mu­seum.

“Ten years ago we were restor­ing the William An­der­son pipe or­gan at Christ Church Angli­can and found that the fa­mous Mel­bourne or­gan builder prob­a­bly had in­stalled both or­gans in 1886.”

This Sun­day, a pub­lic event will be held at the Beech­worth Town Hall to ex­plain how the or­gan will be used to cel­e­brate Beech­worth’s cul­tural her­itage and to en­cour­age young mu­si­cians to­day.

The event will take place from 12pm with John Maid­ment a guest speaker.

En­try will be a cold coin do­na­tion.

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