Wurlitzer Theatre Organ Moorabbin Town Hall - side view
Statement of Significance
Last updated on - October 6, 1999
What is significant?
The Wurlitzer Theatre Organ, built in 1928 by the Wurlitzer Company of New York was installed in the State Theatre, Flinders Street Melbourne in 1929. The organ was removed in 1963 and installed in its present location in 1970 after restoration by members of the Theatre Organ Society of Australia. The organ is particularly associated with silent cinema, a major form of popular entertainment introduced in the early twentieth century. The Wurlitzer organ has twenty-one ranks and is able to exhibit a richness and diversity of sounds beyond the capabilities of earlier more traditional nineteenth century pipe organs.
How is it significant?
The Wurlitzer Theatre Organ is of historical and technological significance.
Why is it significant?
The Moorabbin Town Hall Wurlitzer organ is historically significant as the only example surviving in Victoria. It is historically significant for its association with popular entertainment, particularly the development of the cinema in Victoria. The State Theatre, where the organ was originally located, was one of only three American-inspired "atmospheric" cinemas in Australia. The Wurlitzer contributed to the ambience of this theatre during its silent film phase. Since relocation to the Moorabbin Town Hall, the Wurlitzer has continued to entertain and offer evidence of the "atmospheric" cinema experience.
The Moorabbin Town Hall Wurlitzer organ is scientifically important for its ability to illustrate technological advances in the construction of organs, which in the nineteenth century were primarily used for sacred music. Following the application of electricity organs became more flexible resulting in the freeing of the console from the pipe chest, allowing the organ console to be located at a distance from the pipe chest, joined only by its electric cable.