Australia has an impressive collection of pipe organs in Concert Halls, Public Halls, Cathedrals, Churches, Theatres, Universities and Schools - even in private residences!
The first pipe organs were heard in Australia some 200 years ago and since the early 19th century many fine instruments have been imported to the continent.
Over the last two centuries, the history of the pipe organ in Australia has mirrored the development of the instrument in the UK, Europe and North America.
An Australian organ building industry developed from the middle of the 19th century and remains active to this day.
The music performed on these magnificent instruments by generations of Australian organists has been enjoyed by millions of Australians.
It is ANZCO's mission to build a sustainable community of organists so that this invaluable musical inheritance, left to us in trust by generations of our musical forebears, is improved for future generations of Australians.
Since the College's foundation in 2011 on the 150th Anniversary of the opening of Australia's first concert organ, ANZCO has presented educational and cultural programs including NextGen Organ Concerts and GALA NextGen Organ Concerts featuring the next generation of Australian organists.
In 2013, ANZCO launched All Stops Out! - an educational and captivating program exploring the music and technology of the pipe organ for school students. Since 2013, thousands of school children have experienced the thrill and wonder of the pipe organ on the Grand Organ in the Melbourne Town Hall. All Stops Out! is proudly supported by the City of Melbourne.
Trans-Tasman Organ Scholar Exchange Programme
The College of Organists also administers the Trans-Tasman Organ Scholar Exchange Programme, launched in 2013, in which young organists from Australia and New Zealand have the unique opportunities: to play, hear and experience new instruments; to have learning and performance opportunities on those instruments and to meet other young organists and make new contacts with other students, teachers and performers.
The Australasian Pipe Organ Hall of Fame, a world-first initiative launched in 2013, posthumously "honours those who have made a significant contribution to the establishment and development of the instrument in Australia and New Zealand, thereby raising public awareness of the pipe organ and enriching Australasian cultural life." As well as proving an invaluable resource, the Australasian Pipe Organ Hall of Fame serves to inspire future generations of Australian and New Zealand organists.
And even more
The College has also presented concerts and other events including the Guilmant Anniversary Tribute Series: this once-in-a-lifetime Double Celebration in 2011 and 2012 featured the first Australasian cycle of the complete landmark Organ Sonatas by the legendary 19th century French organist, composer and teacher Alexandre Guilmant.
From 2014, the College also presented the MUSOC - Melbourne University Series of Organ Concerts. For five years, this world-first initiative featuring the next generation of Australian organists was based at the University of Melbourne with generous support from the University of Melbourne and Trinity, Ormond and Queen’s Colleges. Every Friday during Semester there was a Free Lunchtime Organ Concert performed on one of the pipe organs at the University of Melbourne, which has more pipe organs than any other Australasian University. In accord with ANZCO’s mission, by promoting organ performance, teaching and learning, the MUSOC helped build the profile of the King of Instruments and develop a sustainable pipe organ culture in Australasia.
In 2019, the Melbourne University Series of Organ Concerts was refocussed to broaden the performance opportunities for young organists, as well as still profiling the collection of pipe organs within the University of Melbourne.
The Organ World around Australia
As might be expected from the most urbanised country in the world, most of Australia's pipe organs are found in the country's two largest cities: Melbourne and Sydney.
However, Australia is a large and diverse country, and each State has its own unique and extensive pipe organ heritage.
Here is further information about this precious cultural legacy in each Australian State (in alphabetical order):