Jewish History Australia
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Historical Sites
A Collection of Images of sights of interest within Victoria
Ballarat Synagogue

The oldest synagogue on the Australian mainland. Situated on the Victorian goldfields, its importance was such that its first Rabbi was Av (head) of the first recognised Australian Beth Din. Names of benefactors on tribute boards within include some names that grace stores in the historical recreation of Sovereign Hill.
Temple Beth Israel Mosaic

Temple Beth Israel is the oldest Liberal/Progressive synagogue in Australia. The original synagogue on this site was erected in 1939.
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Brunswick Talmud Torah
Sketch of facade of the Brunswick Talmud Torah
This synagogue functioned in a converted private house from 1943 to 1987. Its Ark is now in the King David school. The building itself is still in good condition in Lord Street, Brunswick, serving as a private residence.
The Brunswick congregation, started informally about 1930, flourished with emigrants pre and post WWII flocking to the Carlton region, and declined as the Caulfield region became the preferred living area. Its history is recounted in the paper, Lorraine Freeman, The Brunswick Talmud Torah, JAJHS, Vol 11(1990)Part 1, pp 3-13.
Chabad Melbourne 707
View of Melbourne Chabad House
Chabad House in Melbourne is headquarters to the Lubavitcher movement in Australia. The movement has had members in Australia since the 1930's. The striking building is a scaled replica of the Crown Heights, New York, centre in which the late Lubavitcher Rabbi Menachem Schneerson lived and worked.
Issac Isaacs' house in Hawthorn
View of substantial Federation style Hawthorn House of Issac Isaacs
Isaac Isaacs occupied this house in Hawthorn throughout the years surrounding Federation. During this period he was Solicitor General for Victoria,and a major participant in the framing of the Constitutional at the Constitutional Convention. He was member for Indi in the very first Commonwealth Parliament, where (notably) he gave strong support to Deakin for the Judicary Act that established the High Court of Australia, and in 1905 was Federal Attorney General. He left politics in 1906 to become an Associate Justice of the High Court, of which he was ultimately to become Chief Justice. The bible on which he was sworn in as a member of the first Australian Parliament was used again on January 22, 1931 when he became the first Australian-born Governor General.
The Moses Joseph Windows Sydney University
Moses Joseph born in London 1803, was sentenced for life at the Warwick assizes in 1826, arriving as a convict in Sydney in 1827. Yet this convict rose to be a respected leader of commerce in Colonial NSW, with a fleet of boats that traded through the Pacific as far as San Francisco. He contributed to the establishment of the University of Sydney, Australia's first university, and endowed these windows that bear his name.

In his rise from hardship to wealth and status, he was supported by his childhood sweetheart, Rosetta Nathan, who followed him to Sydney. Following a petition to the Governor, she and Moses Joseph were married in 1832 in the first officially sanctioned Jewish wedding in Australia. The couple had nine children.

This window is a powerful symbol of Jewish convict success in Australia, and of Jewish contribution to cultural development here.

East Melbourne Synagogue
Ballarat Synagogue
Geelong Synagogue
Oldest Melbourne synagogue
Oldest Synagogue on mainland
Building no longer in use

These paintings of three Victorian synagogues are from an illuminated address presented circa 1899 to Sir Benjamin Benjamins, Lord Mayor of Melbourne and a Victorian State Parliamentarian, on the award of his knighthood.

These and two other historical paintings have been used by the AJHS (Vic) as the basis for a set of five most intriguing postcards. (Not available for sale online.).

A Collection of Images of sights of interest outside Victoria
Great Synagogue Sydney
The Great Synagogue, Architects sketch.
Dedicated in 1878 to replace the York Street Synagogue (built in 1844).
Views within the synagogue.
Below: as viewed through the trees.

Temple Emanuel Sydney
Temple Emanual Interior View of Ark
Interior of the main synagogue of Temple Emanuel, Sydney. This was the first Progressive Movement synagogue established in Sydney. Today, Emanuel regularly provides, in its two synagogues, both a Progressive and a Conservative service, whilst once a month there is a Renewal service."
Broken Hill Synagogue

The Broken Hill community was inaugurated in 1900, employing its first minister in 1905. The foundation stone for this synagogue is dated 1910. Over the years the congregation dwindled, and in 1962 the shul was closed, with fittings given away. The building was restored (but without synagogue fittings) in 2004 by the Broken Hill Historical Society.
Maitland Synagogue

Jews lived in Maitland from 1830 onwards. The community was active 1850-1870, though never numbering more than about 70 families. The synagogue, with foundation stone dated 1879, could seat 364, but closed in 1898.
Newcastle Synagogue

The Newcastle Synagogue is located on the edge of the CBD -- just 250 meters from the Newcastle City Town Hall. Several jewish families played a leading role in Newcastle during the colonial era, but the height of the communities growth was reached with the erection of this synagogue under the spiritual leadership of the Rev Isaac Morris around 1927. Today the synagogue functions does not have a rabbi and functions using lay leaders. However there is significant hope for the future with the forecast growth of Newcastle.