A Tour of Jewish History in Australia

Jewish History

diaspora perspective - Australian Bias
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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, and has remained so since.

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.
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. This account is given in the context of Jewish-Aboriginal relations prior to 1967. In early 1966 the ANUJSS members who lead this project departed from Canberra, and despite serious efforts to find new sponsors the NullaNulla Club ended. Personal relationships established within the project fostered higher educational achievements of one of the Nulla Nullas. The physical heritage was a collection of 16 sewing machines brought to Wallaga which served the future Umbarra Cultural Centre.
The Only Jewish Bushranger
The Jewish Ned Kelly -- with apologies to Sydney Nolan


Jewish Bush Poets of Colonial Times

Classic book (see right) by Chanan Reich detailed the ambiguous relationship between Australia and Israel
DC-5 YankeeBagel-PashaLancet in Israel DC-5 There has been an ambiguous relationship between Australia and Israel with a combination of support -- including early recognition. Doctor H.V. Evatt, known as Doc Evatt, lead the UN towards the creation of Israel as a Jewish State, but imposed gerrymandered boundaries. Evatt promoted an Internationalised Jerusalem -- based on extravagantly gerrymandered boundaries extending way beyond the municipal boundaries of the City of Jerusalem, as far as Bethlehem in the South and Abu Dis in the East; thus he could falsely bolster the Arab percentage of a huge International Jerusalem. Fallout from his gerrymander has lingered on, as evidenced by the mis-location of the Australian embassy and other embassies in Tel Aviv.
Australia joined in the infamous plot lead by the UK to kill Israel at its re-establisment in 1948 through a one-sided arms embargo; The UK honoured this arms embargo by accepting new orders and freely supplying arms and planes to the invading Arab powers. Australia nominally honoured the one-sided "arms embargo". Despite the one-sided embargo, six planes were actually sourced from Australia for use by the future Israel Air Force. These planes, delivered in Israels earliest days of rebirth, played a vital role before planes sourced from Czechoslavakia arrived.
DC-5 Yankee Pasha - The Bagel Lancer. Served as bomber and troop transporter.   Arrived Israel June 1948       The DC-5 in US insignia as VH-CXC during the Pacific War.
The Embassy Issue


Prior to 1967 there were 14 Embassies of foreign countries in Jerusalem. This was hardly surprising as Jerusalem was declared as the Capital of Jerusalem by the new-born state. Jerusalem is where the Knesset and administrative centres of the State of Israel are located. All these embassies were located in West Jerusalem within the Green Line -- the armistice line established at the concluson of the 1948-9 War.
The aim of this web page is to explain why and how this amazing situation arose. Click here
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

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 The expulsion of the Jews from the Islamic states that encircle Israel is discussed at the (archived) podcast site of Lion FM's "The Roar" here

Australian and New Zealand Jewish
Nobel Prize Winners
Front page of Australian Jewish News with headline EGYPT THROWS OUT JEWS
Lion FM logo Radio spectrum at FM 96.1 was acquired in January 2010 for a Jewish FM Radio Station called Lion FM which commenced broadcasting in Melbourne July 11, 2010, after 4 weeks of test transmission. 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, which was strictly Shabbos observant, broadcast 24/6, from July 10, 2010 until its abrupt closure in July 2011..

Lion FM became live on the internet on September 1, 2010

while various programs have since came online on the internet as podcasts, notably:
  Program   Podcasting URL   Notes
  The Luv Shack  www.theluvshack.net   Jewish dating program
for 25-35 year olds
 Mornings with Lion  Mornings with Lion Weekday Morning Show 8-9 am
  The World and Us   www.theroar.info   The Jewish narrative:
  contemporary history.
  Neshima Mizrahi
  נשמה מזרחית
Sephardic Soul
The only Sephardic cultural program on Australian radio.
In Hebrew
התוכנית היחידה באוסטרליה הנותנת במה למוזיקה ים תיכונית מזרחית והתרבות הספרדית

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.
The History of Jewish Radio in Australia
An overview of a story that starts in 1949. How multicultural Australia agencies first fostered then choked Australian Jewish radio.
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.
Other world landscape drawn by 14 year old Peter ginz at Terezin 1941
Lunar Landscape drawn by the 14 year old Jewish-Czeck boy Peter Ginz at the Terezin Concentration Camp.A copy of Peter Ginz's painting was carried by the Israeli astronaut Ilan Ramon on the fatal flight of the Columbia.

See link for more details.


After the German invasion of Lithuania 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 Australian connection: One of these "illegal" babies born in the Kovno Ghetto 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. Her father was the school teacher shown in the image to the left of the Underground School in the Kovno Ghetto.


The Sephardim in Australia

Strictly speaking the Sephardim were the Jews expelled from Spain in 1492, who fled elsewhere in the Mediterranean, and to to Northern Europe - notably Holland. However the term is often used more broadly to include the Mizrahi -- Jews who lived in the Middle East from the time of the Jewish Kindgdoms, n lands that between 600CE and 1450 CE were conquered by Muslim invaders and became Muslim states or caliphates. Mizrahi also lived in the Central Asian countries that had became Muslim as a consequence of the drive eastward of Ghenghis Khan.

In The Sephardi Presence in Australia [ downloadable as a PDF] Ron Raab gives a brief but comphrehensive account, drawing especially on the book by Aaron Aaron The Sephardim in Australia and New Zealand.
at jewishhistoryaustralia.net/podcasts

Use your commuting time, and other times, listening to our podcasts that present the real facts about Jews in the Middle East.
These presentations are free of spin and unpolluted by the forgeries and partial truths that constitute the fabricated "Palestinian Narrative" according to which Jesus was a Palestinian and the million Jews living in the Middle East outside Israel in 1948 just don't rate a mention.

The narrators, both genuine children of holocaust survivors, with actual experience in Israel, present the material with a light touch. Morry, who has served in the IDF, choses the music given to provide breaks in the material. Visitors of real expertise and actual experience are interviews to broaden and enrich the discussion.

Learn the real facts of the emergence of Israel, of the millenia of Jewish existence both within Israel and the lands thereabout, about the creration of Israel, learn of the "forgotten refugees" -- the Jews expelled form Arab Lands.
Simply click on

Map of the "Holy Land" from W.M. Thomson, "The Land and the Book" published in London, 1887.

Note the region labels Judaea and Samaria, which were used by the British Mandate Authorities.