About the Ballarat Theatre Organ Society
The Ballarat Theatre Organ Society owns the Compton Theatre Organ installed in Her Majesty’s Theatre in Ballarat. Built in England in 1937, it was organ Number 379 and made its first home in a picture theatre in Warrington in England.
The organ was removed from the Theatre due to lack of use, and later purchased by a Melbourne man who brought it to Australia only to find it was impossible to install in his home. The newly formed Ballarat Theatre Organ Society then purchased the Compton and members spent ten years installing it in Her Majesty’s Theatre. At this time the Theatre was owned by the Royal South Street Society and known as The Memorial Theatre.
The opening concert on the 12th June 1982 was attended by theatre organ lovers from all over Australia and since then, thousands of people have been entertained by what has been described as the most complex musical instrument ever invented. With 677 pipes and over 200 keys the Compton can sound like an orchestra and has many special sounds that were used when accompanying the silent movies.
Several young Ballarat organists have won international competitions and as a result have travelled overseas to play at important venues in England and America. Many world famous organists have played this instrument which has a renowned quality of sound.
Douglas (Doug) McGregor has agreed to be the Patron of the Ballarat Theatre Organ Society.
He has been involved with the Society since 1974 and was granted Life Membership some years ago.
Doug’s knowledge of the workings of both the Compton and Her Majesty’s Theatre has been invaluable to BTOS and he a worthy successor to the late Winston Loveland.