Alfred Bremer's Organ

Words & Music: Pat Drummond
or Alfred Bruder and The Haas Family
he Entrance, NSW 30/4/90

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As a child I was fascinated by the mechanical cacophony of calliopes. This particular instrument was built by Alfred Bruder in Bavaria in 1850. Shipped to Australia, it spent much of its early life in Kings Park, Newcastle, before being moved to the Haas Family fairground at The Entrance; just up from Clifford's fish shop. For 50 cents it plays the loudest version of Strauss's 'Blue Danube' waltz I have ever heard. My song substitutes Bremer for Bruder since the hard consonants were too much of a tongue-twister within the structure of the melody and Tchaikovsky for Strauss because, to be quite honest, I couldn't fit a 3/4 tune into a 2/4 lyric. Recent developments at The Entrance have apparently meant that Alfred Bruder's organ has been moved on again, after 35 years. If anyone now knows the whereabouts of a wandering and aged circus organ with a berserk wooden conductor on it's front, I would appreciate it if you would let me know. It holds for me, and for many I would imagine, a small but important part of the magic of childhood. 2011 Update: Found!!!! The Organ has been relocated to Ipswitch, Queensland.

Alfred Bremer's Organ stood up on the corner

at the fair grounds at the entrance now for forty years or more

and it wheezes coughs and farts, and people stare aghast.

I always put in fifty cents whenever I go past.


Chorus: Here's a song for Alfred Bremer's choir;

held in place with Perkin's paste and little bits of wire.

Leather straps to tambourines; painted drums and faded dreams.

Howling like a 'banshee' and as catchy as a fire.


The little doll in front of it;

he whirls and twirls his sticks

but the years have not been kind to him

and his pants have come to bits.

Still he moves with strict precision

as he leaps to his position

and he plays his best for fifty cents

while anyone will listen.




I feel I've much in common

with Alfred Bremer's Organ.

We're both a little nicked and dinged

but still in working order.

Somewhat crude and roughly hewn,

far too loud and out of tune.

But when they make me turn it off,

it always seems too soon.




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