The 19th-century heritage pipe organ at the Uniting Church Armidale turned 140 this month.
The instrument was imported from England, and is one of only seven Willis pipe organs in Australia, including an organ in the Brisbane City Hall.
"Armidale is fortunate to have such a fine organ," parishioner and musician Deirdre Waters said.
Her husband's family was one of three Armidale clans who contributed to the organ in the 1930s.
On Sunday, October 20, a concert was held in the church to celebrate, including pieces ranging from the Baroque to the Romantics to the fin de siècle.
"The delightful and varied program especially showed this organ's expressive and romantic range," Mrs Waters said.
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The concert featured organist Lena Schmalz and three other church musicians: violinist Colin Sholl, oboist Graham Maddox, and flautist Sharon Davidge.
They performed organ quartets by Pepusch and Teleman; duo performances with organ and violin by Mendelssohn, and organ and oboe by Schumann; an organ, flute, and oboe trio by Fauré; and an organ choral prelude by J.S. Bach. French composer Leon Boëllmann's Suite Gothique for organ ended the concert, culminating in a virtuosic Toccata.
The organ was built in Liverpool, England, in 1879 by the famous Henry Willis and Sons, Mrs Waters said.
Many of England's important cathedrals have an organ made by this firm, Mrs Waters said, including St Paul's, London, and King's College, Cambridge.
Cathedrals at Winchester, Lincoln, Salisbury, Canterbury, Gloucester, Hereford, Tunbridge Wells, and Truro also have a Willis organ.
The Armidale organ was imported from England at a cost of £475, and installed in St Stephen's Presbyterian Church, Phillip Street, Sydney. It remained there until the church was demolished in 1934 and re-established in Macquarie Street.
The Sydney church, however, decided to sell the organ; Armidale's then-Methodist Church minister, the Rev. Morris A. Yates, and organist Mr. Gould wanted to buy the instrument for our city.
Three church families offered to contribute handsomely towards purchasing the organ, Mrs Waters said. Her husband's family had proposed a memorial window to the memory of an ancestor who came here in 1849, but agreed instead to give £100 to the purchase of an organ. So did the Curtis and Turner families.
The church purchased the organ for £1000, and it was dedicated at the morning service on July 21, 1935.