Thursday, 24 April 2014

Waratah - Niel Walter Black.

Niel Walter Black was a passenger on the Waratah July, 1909. He was born in 1864, the son of a well known Scottish-born Victorian pastoralist and politician, Niel Black. Black was educated at Geelong Grammar School, Victoria, Australia, which overlooks Corio and Limeburners bays. He went on to study at Cambridge (Emmanuel College) where he developed an interest in organs. Hill & Son of Cambridge were renowned for the building of organs and their exquisite attention to detail impressed the young Niel Black. He ordered an organ for his mansion, 'Dalvui', Noorat, Victoria.

The organ was installed at 'Dalvui' in April and May, 1909, positioned in an alcove to the one side of the baronial dining room, which extended two floors. The organ cost a total of two thousand pounds and occupied a space of 18 ft wide, 9 ft deep, 19 ft high. Shortly after completion of the organ at 'Dalvui', Black boarded the Waratah bound for England. The unmarried Niel Black's life was cut short when the Waratah went missing off the Wild Coast. He was 45 years old.

Black had commissioned the building and installation of an organ at All Saint's Chapel, Geelong Grammar School. His brother's presented the organ to the school in his memory:

“Messrs. S.G. and A.J. Black, of Noorat, have, it is announced, presented to the Council of the School a fine organ, valued at £1400, to be erected in the chapel of the new school, in memory of their brother, the late N.W. Black.”

the organ at All Saint's Chapel, Geelong Grammar School

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