Friends of Kiandra bring organ home

The Friends of Kiandra Society, with piano player William Gain.

An organ that once adorned the Anglican Church in abandoned mountain gold mining town Kiandra has been acquired by the Friends of Kiandra Society.

They plan to return the organ to the historic town as part of a planned interpretive centre at the site, hopefully in the restored courthouse.

For now though, they are celebrating the purchase of the organ from where it ended up in Adaminaby, which they bought with the sum of thousands of $1 homemade biscuits sold to tourists.

“It’s part of Kiandra,” said society President Margery Smith.

“There’s such a lot of history in the mountains – there’s all the gold mining and then there was the stockman, and the snowy scheme… we’re only a young country and we do need our history.

“We’re trying to get the old Courthouse so that it has things in it, so that it teaches about the history of the area.”

Tumut High student William Gain played the organ for the society.

Currently, the society goes up there to sell biscuits along with NPWS coffee on open days and special occasions. Those who make the effort to visit the picturesque remains of what was once a bustling town of 15,000, lured by gold that soon ran out, are rewarded with a yummy treat.

“When people go up there they absolutely love to get a coffee and a homemade biscuit,” said Margery.

“One day, I was feeling sorry for all these people who are gluten intolerant so I thought I’ll just make a gluten free biscuit, and this little old lady came over and she put her arms around me,” she laughed.

“She said fancy! I come from Melbourne, fancy being able to come away way up into the never never and be able to get a gluten-free biscuit! She bought ten dollars worth.”

Now, the proceeds of many, many biscuits sold have been gone into the Kiandra organ.

It’s a four-octave instrument that can be packed up into a transportable case, originally developed for missionary work and travelling shows. Tumut High student William Gain played a few pieces (adapted for the lower number of keys than the traditional seven octaves) on the organ at a celebratory afternoon tea on Tuesday.