Travel seems the ultimate luxury in these COVID-ridden days. Even reading Jan Morris, posthumously published, can’t beat waking up to waiters in shorts in May, the fresh smell of the sea and the unflappable elegance of Double Bay. Based in Melbourne, I was recently in Sydney for a week.

The good people in the parish of St Francis in Paddington have also been waiting patiently, and for an equally magical occasion: the first concert featuring their new organ. I was thrilled to be there and able to attend on the afternoon of Sunday, 23 April 2021 in a concert of mainly sacred French music.

St Francis of Assisi sits atop Sydney’s famous, perhaps infamous, Oxford Street. And, like St Peter’s Toorak in Melbourne (where I used to be the organist and Musical Director) it partly came about because of the needs of the Catholic servants in the big houses of Woollahra.

The new organ console from Virtual Pipe Organs Australia. Photo © Ian Sell

I remember the old organ. It had two manuals and had served the Parish well. I heard on the grapevine about the...