A Tour of Jewish History in Australia
On this website just click on the early Australian flag on top-left to transfer to Home Page of Jewish History Australia.


To Right:
Cover of recent book by Chanan Reich.

The Elizabeth Cohen, 
	which voyaged between Sydney and Port Macquarie 1834-1846
Pix of Alexander Marks in consular regalia complete with sword
Staff of Cohen's Furniture Emporium 
	early twentieth century
Flyer for premiere of movie Chapel of Chic
Churcher portrait of Rabbi John Levi

The proclaimed Australian flag 1903-1909 featuring six-pointed Federation Star
The Australian flag features a Union Jack, symbolic of our British connection, the five stars of the Southern Cross, and a large Federation Star. Above is the official flag of Australia 1903 to 1909 which features a six pointed Federation Star, in the outline shape of the Star of David. The six points denoted the six states that were united at Federation. With the acquisition of the first "Territory" the Federation Star became seven pointed.

Australian Jewish History Jews have been an integral part of Australia’s history since the beginning of European settlement. In the First Fleet that landed in Sydney in 1788 there were at least 14 Jews, and Jews participated in the initialisation of the first settlement in Port Phillip, the establishment of Hobart, Melbourne, and Adelaide. And the story continues, with the numerically small Jewish population in the forefront of development of Australia,

The very first constable was a Jew, as was the printer of the original "Australian" newspaper (Sydney, 1836), and as was the composer of the first Australian opera. Jews have participated in the pioneering settlement of Australia, in public affairs, in the drafting of the Australian Constitution, in the professions, in the Arts, in commerce and trade, and in the development of industry and technology in Australia. Of especial high prominence are the two Victorians
Sir John Monash the leader of the Australian Forces in World War I Sir Isaac Isaacs the first Australian-born Governor General
In sum, Jews have participated fully and equally in the course of Australian history starting with the First Fleet of 1788.

Click on the timeline banner to see the detailed sweep of this history, or click on the links to particular topics.
Eureka flagJEWS of EUREKA Ita Buttrose signatureIta Buttrose and many other Australians have Jewish forebears pix of Monash from $50 note
Winter view of the gates of Auschwitz HOLOCAUST The Australian Jewish Community has the highest percentage of Holocaust survivors of any diaspora community.
Aboriginal  flag Individual Jews, and since 1964 Jewish organizations, have been involved in the fight for aboriginal rights. Historic Sites My Jewish Carlton: the centre of Jewish Melbourne up to about 1960.

Alex Jezalenko high mark Grand final 1970 Czek stamp celebrating Peter Ginz

The Story of Peter Ginz
Ozzie Jewish Artists montage of 3 images of Rimona Kedem Jewish Arty Types Newspaper Cuttings

Australian and New Zealand Jewish Nobel Prize Winners
Certificate awarded to Nobel Prize winners with Australian as awardee name
Portrait of Henry Lawson
Henry Lawson

Joseph's Dreams
Reuben's Brethren

In colonial Australia a detailed knowledge of the Torah (aka Old Testament) was held by all literate (and semi-literate) Australians. Hence in this colourful and popular poem the biblical saga of Jacob-Isaac and Joseph is expressed in terms of the Outback by the nationalist writer hero Henry Hertzberg Lawson who proclaims "My best friend was a Yid". [Click to read poem - new window]. Sketch of Yossi  Birstein by Yosi Bergner Acclaimed as Australia's most talented Yiddish poet, Yossel Birstein (1920-2003) grew up in Poland, with Yiddish as his mother tongue, coming to Australia when still a teenager. At age 24, he learnt his family had been lost in the Holocaust, and "his poetry rises to the task of commemorating them, and people of his hometown Biala-Podolsk as well - in unsentimental yet heartrending lyrical verses" Birstein's collected poems, translated into both English and Hebrew, are now online at http://www.yosselbirstein.org/ [ Link opens in a new window. ].
Portrait of Jack Moses
Jack Moses

Nine Miles
From Gundagai

Jack Moses was a bush balladeer who recited poetry at agricultural shows and the like. One of his favourite authors was Henry Lawson, who in the poem Joseph’s Dreams says of him ‘my best friend was a Yid’. His own most well known poem is the classic "Nine Miles from Gundagai" [Click to read poem and biography of Moses in a new window]. Moses was buried in the Anglican section of South Head Cemetery, Sydney. Dog Sat on Tucker Box statue 9 miles from Gundagai
Lion FM logo Radio spectrum at FM 96.1 was acquired in January 2010 for a Jewish FM Radio Station called Lion FM scheduled to commence broadcasting in Melbourne during 2010. This article discusses the 60 year history of Jewish radio in Australia, which to date has included segments in English, Hebrew, and Yiddish on Australian "community" and "ethnic" radio stations. These "Jewish" broadcasts have been of 15 or 30 minutes duration, broadcast weekly or rarely bi-weekly, whereas Lion FM aims to broadcast 24/7.

Lion FM commenced broadcasting 11 July 2010
after 4 weeks of test transmissions.

View over Docklands from the tower

Amit selects twiddles Lion FM transmission.

Transmitting aerial is with other aerials on this tower atop a 54 storey building in the Melbourne CBD.
This striking stained glass design is by Nita Jaye. Nita was born to Middle East refugees -- her parents from Iraq were two of the one million Jews dispossessed and expelled from Arab lands 1945 -1953. The 3000 year old Jewish community of Iraq had survived despite "dhimmi" status following the Arabian invasion circa 800 AD. But Nita's parents - and all Iraqi Jews - had faced increasing discrimination subsequent to the fascist inspired Arabian Nationalism that arose in 1930. Nita's mother as a school student was the top student in Classical Arabic in Iraq and won a scholarship for University Study at the American University of Beirut. ( Her family had hid their Jewishness very well by adopting an Arabic sounding name.)

More about Nita Jaye and other Australian Jewish artists is here.
From late 1964 to early 1966 the official Jewish Student group at the Australian National Univeristy established and ran a children's club, the Nulla Nullas, on the aboriginal village adjacent to the Wallaga Lake in southern New South Wales. One striking aspect of this club was it carried out charitable activities in the broader community. Another aspect was the establishment of some life-long links between some Wallaga Lake village residents and members of Australian Jewry.

Click on the image above or here to view a detailed account of the Nulla Nulla Club for aboriginal children at Wallaga Lake. Nulla Nulla Club.


After the German invasion of Lithuania Ghettos, those Jews who survived the actions of Lithuanian "patriots" ahead of the arrival of the German Army, and had not been murdered by the NAZI "Eizengruppen" in the first days of occupation, were confined to ghettos.
The day by day story of events in the Kovno ghetto were meticulouly recorded by the Jewish leaders of the Kovno Ghetto. These records, hidden before the "liquidation" of the Ghetto, were found post-war, so that a detailed history of life and death in the Kovno Ghetto exists.
After a brief period during which schools were established in the Ghetto, all such activity was banned. As an act of resistance, in fact a school continued to operate, in hidden places in the Ghetto, the so-called Underground School of the Kovno Ghetto.
As part of the Nazi thorough-going genocide, the birth of Jewish children was banned, and pregnant women if discovered were aborted. Nevertheless a few children were born in the ghetto, and by the courageous actions of one Ghetto resident, who travelled outside the ghetto seeking willing foster-parents, these children were saved.
This story has an amazing Australian connection: One of these "illegal" babies born in the Kovno Ghetto and smuggled outside who was the daughter of the lead teacher in the underground school - - now lives in Australia.
But even more amazing, this baby who survived and came to Australia was the daughter of the courageous woman, who with bleached hair, and not wearing the Star who found willing foster parents outside the ghetto, and organised the baby smuggling.