Commissioning of the Wurlitzer OrganPrint Page Print this page


Photographs supplied by Heather Stevens

The plaque commemorates the commissioning of the Wurlitzer organ in October 1988.  The organ was formerly installed in the Capitol Theatre in Sydney.

Announced in the Sydney newspapers on December 17, 1927 was the fact that: "Union Theatres Ltd have purchased an orchestral organ in America for installation in the new Capitol Theatre now being erected in Sydney. It has been constructed by Wurlitzer and contains 173 orchestral and organ effects and cost $42 000."

The Capitol opened on Easter Saturday 1928, with american organist Fred Scholl at the console of Wurlitzer Opus 1813, a three manual, 15 rank Style 260. Ranks were Tuba Horn, Diaphonic Diapason, Clarinet, Viol d'Orchestre, Viol Celeste, Flute, Vox Humana, Brass Trumpet, Brass Saxophone, Tibia Clausa, Oboe Horn, Orchestral Oboe, Kinura, Solo String and Quintadena.

Scholl apparently had a liking for Krumet pipes, so the Saxophone rank was exchanged for the Krumet rank of the Adelaide Regent theatre sometime during the organ's early days, although the stop tabs were unchanged.

The organ was used until the middle of 1957 when it was closed down, and sat gathering dust. It was 'adopted' by Theatre Organ Society of Australia (TOSA) members in 1963 who got it into playing condition again. Greater Union allowed TOSA to hold organ concerts to be presented early on Saturday mornings up until the Capitol was closed in 1972, when TOSA was given the first option to buy the organ.

Without having anywhere to put it, nevertheless TOSA made the purchase and removed the organ into storage where it remained for 16 years until the Orion Centre, a former Theatre in the Sydney suburb of Campsie was found to be a suitable venue. Headed by New Zealand Organ Builder John Parker, TOSA members restored and installed the organ, adding an English Post Horn and a Solo String Celeste to bring the ranks to 17.

The inaugural concert at the Orion was on October 1, 1988. Interestingly, when a Dennison Saxophone was acquired, the Krumet was removed and installed in the Marrickville Wurlitzer.


Address:155 Beamish Street, Orion Centre, Campsie, 2194
GPS Coordinates:Lat: -33.908571
Long: 151.103419
Note: GPS Coordinates are approximate.
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Monument Type:Plaque
Monument Theme:Culture
Actual Event Start Date:01-October-1988
Actual Event End Date:01-October-1988


Actual Monument Dedication Date:Saturday 1st October, 1988
Front Inscription

Municipality of Canterbury

This plaque commemorates the commissioning of the historic Wurlitzer organ formerly installed in the Capitol Theatre Sydney and restored by the Theatre Organ Society of Australia and was unveiled by His Worship the Mayor, Alderman John Gorrie on the 1st October, 1988

North Ward Aldermen            South Ward Aldermen    
Ald. E. F. Carolan                   Ald.J. P. Chesher, J.P.     
Ald. M. Anastassiou, O.A.M.  Ald.C. Favorito                
Ald. P. F. Terrett                      Ald.J. A. Mahon, J.P.   

East Ward Aldermen              West Ward Aldermen
Ald .J. F. Gorrie, J.P.               Ald.G. A. E. Cayley, O.A.M. J.P.
Ald. J. Stergiou, J.P.               Ald.J. P. Desbleds
Ald. K. F. Whitehouse, J.P.     Ald. A. D. Thorn

J. Montague     Town Clerk 
D. H. Sheffield  Chief Engineer
K. Hackshall     Chief Health and Building Surveyor  

Source: MA
Monument details supplied by Monument Australia - www.monumentaustralia.org.au