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Town Hall, Coburg

Once the local government reorganisation was settled, TOSA(Vic) were able to bring to a successful conclusion plans to install in Coburg Town Hall the Blackett & Howden organ they owned. The instrument had formerly been located in Cinema North, Reservoir, but had been forced to find a new home when that theatre was closed and demolished.

As the organ's history and specification have been covered  in detail already, I will not repeat that information here.

Bill Worley has provided some information about Coburg Town Hall


Coburg Town Hall achieved some fame in the cinema trade press in 1930 when it installed an Australian designed and constructed "Raycophone" sound film projection system.  At that time, several sound film systems were vying for market acceptance, and the Coburg installation featured in Raycophone's full-page advertising:

It is interesting to see the early photographs of the interior and exterior of the hall.  What became of the "Raycophone" and its sound-on-disc turntables is not known.

TOSA's Blackett & Howden organ comprises nine ranks of pipes, controlled from a 2-manual Christie console.  Full details can be found on the web-page covering Cinema North, Reservoir, where the two chambers were located on opposite sides of the proscenium.

At Coburg, the chambers are both on the right-hand side of the proscenium, the solo chamber being above the main chamber.  This "stacked" arrangement was very frequently found with organs of this size in the United Kingdom, and thus is typical of UK practice. As at Reservoir, the Aeolian harp is installed against the back wall of the stage.

The console is placed on a lift, inset into a stage extension close to the chambers.

Photo: Rick Arden

In the Solo chamber are: Tuba, Tibia (metal), Clarinet and Vox Humana, plus most of the percussions.

In the Main chamber are: Diapason, Tibia Clausa (wood - Wurlitzer), Viol d'Orchestre, Céleste and Stopped Flute, plus Chrysoglott and relays.

Bill Worley, who was project director for the reservoir installation was also the project co-ordinator at Coburg.

Although it was not yet ready for an official grand opening the organ was given a "preview" unveiling at the TOSA Convention on 3 April, 1999, when it was played to an appreciative audience by David Johnston, Gail Dibben, and Glenn Maus.

[The above is the latest news from the TOSA website]


Photo: Rick Arden


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