CLEVER HANDS CELEBRATING THE PAST
When Stanley Wennock died last year aged 83, he left a special legacy. The retired farmer from Canberra had been able to turn his hand to almost anything. Farmers have to be multi-skilled and Stan certainly was! Over a period of three years he built a wonderful fairground organ. A number of different timbers were used, including Australian coachwood, maple, ash and oregon. As the name suggests, coachwood was used in the early days to build horse drawn coaches. It was also used for seating in Australia’s High Court in Canberra.
The organ was completed six years ago and now, thanks to Stan’s son Trevor, it gives pleasure to people far beyond the national capital. I was delighted to hear the lilting sound of the organ as I arrived at The Great Train Weekend, being held at Mount Victoria in the Blue Mountains of New South Wales this weekend. The event commemorates the 150th anniversary of the Great Western Railway at Mount Victoria.
Take a look at the steam train making it’s way to Mount Vic.
The punched music books Trevor uses come from Holland. I noticed small children looking on in fascination as the pages made their way through the back of the organ, producing magic.
Trevor was impeccably dressed for the occasion. Fairground organs or ‘street organs’ were very popular during the Victorian era and Trevor looked the part in his bow tie and ‘topper’.
Nearby was a miniature, steam traction engine, also made by Stan in 1975. It’s a working model, but as Trevor explains, ‘I can’t operate both the engine and the organ at the same time.‘ I think he would have to swap that suit for overalls to fire it up.
Below is a photo of an original old Burrell engine taken in England in the 1920s. They were very useful on farms, which may be why Stanley was inspired to build one.
Thank you Stanley for these wonderful creations. And thank you Trevor for continuing to share them with us
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