Wurlitzer Organ


Motion (July 2017)
That Council Officers be asked to investigate, with the assistance of an independent expert experienced in organ restoration if considered necessary, whether it is feasible to fund and achieve the completion of the restoration and refurbishment of the organ in The Concoursein the following way:

  • Receipt of between $30,000 and $40,000 in donations
  • All manual labour to complete the project is provided as a gift and volunteer work
    Council receives a Conservation Grant from the NSW Government up to the
    maximum value of $5,000
  • Council funds up to $20,000 (GST exclusive)


It is my (Councillor’s) understanding that materials required to finish the installation of the organ is valued at $55,000 and there is an offer to have volunteer labour provided to complete the works provided materials are funded.

It may be possible to secure a one off donation and coupled with any grant from the State
Government for the conservation work involved in this project then Council’s sum of $20,000 is to provide any shortfall. This budget item is a being requested to show Council will support the efforts of the community to finish the project but will not be the primary funder. Without at least the volunteer labour and any donations, any budget allocation of $20,000 will not restart the project.

A preliminary budget of $300,000 was approved by Council as part of The Concourse
budget in October 2002. In February 2010 Council approved an additional $105,000 bringing the total budget to $405,000. To date, Council has spent $377,897 (GST exclusive).

In 2006 Council appointed Mr John Andrews of organ consultancy Tonal Resources to
project manage all aspects of the decommissioning, removal, storage and reinstallation of the Wurlitzer organ previously installed within the Main Hall of The Civic Centre.
Organ specialists Pipe Organ Restorations Pty Ltd (POR) were appointed by Council in
November 2007 to undertake the work under the guidance of Tonal Resources.
In December 2008 the Wurlitzer was decommissioned and removed from The Civic Centre. Due to the ill-health of its principal, POR was unable to complete the work and it was
decided to engage Tonal Resources to complete the work as an extension of its project
management role.

On 10 August 2015 Council resolved that no further work be undertaken on the organ dueto: no responses being received to a tender; an indicative cost to complete estimated at $200,000; and no clear idea of ongoing maintenance or other costs. In October 2015 Council received a report from Australian Pipe Organs Pty Ltd (organ builder consultants) which estimated a cost to complete the restoration work of $400,000
(which would include both materials and labour).

There are a number of issues requiring further consideration and investigation:
clarification regarding the holding and use of donated funds raised, including in
the event that the project fails to proceed through inadequate support
verification of the extent of work required for the organ’s completion, which would
form the basis of an agreement between Council and the volunteers on the
nature of work verification of the cost of the project including ongoing maintenance required, noting the cost associated with engaging an independent expert to review
the specialised nature of the work possibly impacting upon the potential number
of volunteers and the time taken for the restoration project induction and on-going management of volunteers by staff in accord with Council’s policies, including Work Health and Safety the development of a project plan and specifications by Council, including the assessment and mitigation of risks (which may have a budget impact if external advice is required) recognition of the additional staff time required to manage volunteers, to oversight Council’s interest in the project, to pursue grants and provide access to the facilities assessment of the amount of use that the organ could be put, and
review of alternatives to the proposal outlined in the Notice of Motion so that
Council has a full understanding of its options, costs and risks.