For many years our Cathedral had a Pipe Organ, installed by the first Bishop of Bathurst, Matthew Quinn in 1877.
The Pipe Organ was removed in the 1960’s during the renovation works carried out to expand the Cathedral and add the Narthex. Unfortunately, the Pipe Organ was damaged beyond repair during the removal and storage process and so was never re-installed.
A couple of years ago, the Bathurst Presbyterian Church decided on renovations to St Stephen’s Church, part of which involved removing their 1893 pipe organ. They were keen to offer it to someone who would use it, so I expressed an interest in it. With the help of Fr Tim Cahill and his significant contacts in the world of organ building and maintenance, we examined the organ at St Stephen’s to see if there was some way we could utilise it in our Cathedral.
We found that the organ was in quite good condition and, with some modifications by the team of organ building experts, it could be installed in our choir gallery.
Last year, the Presbyterian Church leaders offered the organ to us at no cost, if we pay for its removal. The organ will be removed next week and placed in storage (thanks Dawsons!) until we are in a position to install it.
This is a Parish endeavour that need not be rushed, as the pipe organ will be securely and properly stored until such a time as we can install it in the Cathedral.
It is a totally separate project to the Cathedral Restoration Project, though we are making sure that there is a harmony between the two projects so that they complement each other.
Some time ago the Parish received donations specifically for a Pipe Organ Project, so these preliminary costs are already covered in the Parish budget.
Last year we recorded a CD on the organ while it is still functioning and that CD will be available soon.
Fr Paul Devitt, Dean of the Cathedral