On this day …….. 9th of August 1890
The Grand Organ in the Sydney Town Hall was built by William Hill and Son in London. It was shipped to Sydney and installed in 1890. Having approximately 8,700 pipes, it was the largest organ in the world at the time, and is still the largest ever built with tubular-pneumatic action. Its five manuals (Choir, Great, Swell, Solo and Echo) and pedals have between them 126 speaking stops and 14 couplers. 4000 invited guests were present at the first recital, held on 9 August 1890, performed by W T Best, the City Organist from Liverpool, England. Mr Best had tested the organ in London before it was dismantled and shipped to Australia, and declared it “…a marvel of excellence in both tone and mechanism”. Due to deterioration in the organ’s tone and function, the need for extensive restoration work became apparent during the 1950s and ’60s, especially after the organ completely broke down in October 1971, causing performances to be cancelled. Sydney organ-builder Roger H Pogson gradually restored the instrument between 1972 and 1982. The Organ was reopened again on 11 December 1982 by Robert Ampt (appointed Sydney City Organist in 1978) with the ABC Sinfonia conducted by Helen Quach.