The restoration of the 1890 Puget organ ranks amongst the most important
organ projects in this country.
The restoration is important because of its world cultural heritage.
It is the only Puget organ in Australia, and one of few Puget organs
found outside France, and thus capable of playing the enormous French
repertoire in the manner for which French composers wrote their music.
The organ was built in Toulouse in 1890 by Eugène Puget, whose
father, Thèodore Puget, founded the
firm of Thèodore Puget Père et Fils in 1834.
It is believed to have been a gift to The Society of the Sacred Heart
Convent in Bordeaux. Certainly it was custom made for their Chapel, having the
carved twin hearts at the apex of the façade,
representing the Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary, the symbol of The Society.
Rescued from an uncertain future when the Religious of The Society
of the Sacred Heart sent it from Bordeaux to Sydney in 1904 after closure
and confiscation of their Convents, the organ was installed in the Chapel of the Sacred Heart Convent,
Rose Bay, Sydney, and first played there in February, 1906.
In January, 2005, the organ was dismantled and sent to France for complete
restoration. It has undergone its third rebuilding since its creation
in Toulouse. Taking into account the distance it has travelled
- Toulouse - Bordeaux - Sydney - France - Sydney, it most probably
holds the record as the most travelled pipe organ in the world.
Under the direction of French Organ Consultant and Specialist Professor
Michel Colin, the last incarnation of the Puget will see this important
instrument not only returned to its original 1890 specification,
but also sympathetically recreated to fit the space of Convent Architect
John Horbury Hunt’s tribune in the beautiful Chapel.
The organ returned in January, 2009 and its installation is complete.
Final work will be done in April, 2011 and a series of gala concerts
will celebrate its homecoming.
The Puget Organ c.1946 - Kincoppal-Rose Bay School Archives