Wangaratta Chronicle

Beechworth reclaims iconic organ

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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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