Cathedral Organs

The Cathedral currently has four organs: the Whitehouse (1942), Sharp (1960), Bellsham (1985) and the Letourneau (1999). The southern gallery organ, built by Whitehouse Bros. of Red Hill in Brisbane was installed in 1942 and is the only example of a substantial instrument built in Australia during World War II.  It is also one of the few organs of more than 20 stops from the 1930s-50s to survive basically unaltered anywhere in the country today.

Likewise the triforium organ, commenced in 1960 by Roland Sharp, is of great significance as it was the Sharp’s first organ and one of the earliest Orgelbewegung instruments in the country, albeit one with electric action. The crypt organ was originally built by Bellsham Pipe Organs of Perth for the residence of Steve and Louise Blatchford in Pymble, but was sold to St Mary’s in 1993. The Letourneau instrument has finally provided the Cathedral with a comprehensive choir organ which is also suitable for small-audience organ recitals, teachings and weddings.

Until the arrival of the Letourneau organ, the Whitehouse and Sharp organs were played simultaneously by two organists using headphones and a two-way microphone system. Needless to say, this was merely a stop-gap measure and highly inadequate for the liturgy. The new nave console (a classical Caville-Coll console en amphitheatre), controls two organs. The stops on the right are for the Letourneau – in effect a large choir organ voiced in an English style – in the Western Gallery, whilst those on the left currently act upon the Whitehouse organ in the Southern Gallery.

The new three manual organ with 46 stops and 59 ranks built by Orgues Letourneau Ltee was commissioned in 1997 and dedicated on the 19th December 1999 by Cardinal Clancy at the annual Carol Service. This instrument sits in a newly erected gallery in the transept and its main purpose is to meet the needs of the varied liturgical and musical functions of the Cathedral.