Father Colin Tett and music director Ross Johnson with the grand old organ at Murwillumbah Anglican Church.
Father Colin Tett and music director Ross Johnson with the grand old organ at Murwillumbah Anglican Church. - Blainey Woodham

Pipe dream realised for organ revamp

AN 83-year-old pipe organ - possibly Murwillumbah's most expensive instrument - is sounding better than ever, thanks to more than $50,000 in funding.

Parishioners at the All Saints Anglican Church were delighted with news of an additional $10,000 from the Heritage Branch of the NSW Planning Department to assist with conservation work on their 1926 CW Leggo pipe organ.

“The $10,000 grant comes on top of one for $41,750 announced in May,” volunteer organist for the past 50 years Ross Johnson said.

“At times we've fought tooth and nail for it.

“But now it has been declared a State-significant item.”

Mr Johnson said the Murwillumbah parish is indebted to Lismore MP Thomas George, whose electorate includes Murwillumbah, for his support with the grants.

“Toward the end of 2007 we approached him seeking advice on what funding may be available for the restoration project,” Mr Johnson said.

After a refusal from Arts NSW, Mr Johnson, on Mr George's advice, applied to the Heritage Branch.

Despite the organ not being categorised at the time as a heritage item, the parish's application was successful.

Mr George said: “We must have had divine intervention because it just doesn't come under that category.”

Mr George was yesterday in awe of the majestic instrument, which contains 948 pipes.

“It's unbelievable,” he said. “Being an old muso I find it spectacular. It is great to have it preserved because it is an important investment, not only to the church but the whole area.”

The pipe organ is the best remaining example of the work of prolific Sydney organ builder CW Leggo.

Mr Johnson said he expects to see Mr George at the organ's official reopening in two or three months.

“He's promised me he would play.”



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