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1931 Compton Theatre Organ, Albert Hall : Inaugural Concert 17/08/1986
Since its opening in 1928, Canberra’s Albert Hall has been a centre for major social events, in particular, dances and music recitals have been regular events.
It isn’t surprising then that in 1975 when the Theatre Organ Society of Australia ACT Division (TOSA ACT) was looking for a home for a Wurlitzer Theatre Organ, the Albert Hall was seen as an obvious choice. However by 1977 TOSA members felt a smaller 1931 Compton Theatre Organ would be a more appropriate size for the Albert Hall so it was purchased and the Wurlitzer sold.
The file '75/2478 - Recreation Section – Theatre Organ Society – Proposal to Install a “Wurlitzer” Organ in the Albert Hall' documents this and the following scans of initial proposal, a photo of the Wurlitzer Organ and TOSA A.C.T. brochure can found in this file:
Installation began in 1981 with the construction of the pipe chambers and associated electrical work in the Albert Hall at a cost of $9000. At the same time a group of dedicated volunteers continued work on restoring the Compton organ. In all, 7 years and over $40,000 was spent on the restoration.
The file '81/1442 – Recreation & Tourism Branch – Theatre Organ Installation – Albert Hall' documents the installation of the Compton Organ and the subsequent agreements in relation to TOSA A.C.T. member’s access to the organ for maintenance, practice and recitals:
The Inaugural Concert presented by TOSA A.C.T. and performed by Tony Fenelon was held on the 17th of August 1986. The official program for this, which is attached to the file '81/1442 – Recreation & Tourism Branch – Theatre Organ Installation – Albert Hall', follows:
Links to external sites:
- ACT Virtual Library : Albert Hall
- Albert Hall official opening : Canberra Times 12/03/1928
- National Archives of Australia : Albert Hall
- Our Albert Hall : Friends of the Albert Hall
- Short excerpts from the Inaugural Concert played by Tony Fenelon
- Theatre Organ Society of Australia ACT Division