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Australian Jewish Timeline2018-07-09T15:57:59+00:00

Australian Jewish Timeline

Where was the first synagogue opened in NSW? When was the Hakoah Club bombed? Who was Australia’s second Jewish Governor-General?

The Australian Jewish Historical Society maintains a dynamic timeline of Jews and the Jewish experience in Australia since the start of European Colonisation in 1788, highlighting major events and figures in the participation of the Jewish people in Australia history, and the development of its community.

Jewish History in Australia can be explored via the Timeline at a high level or in detail, extracting important dates by subject area, including: Politics, Military, Synagogues, Events, etc.

All Events

1775

Start of the American War of Independence.

Territory: World

Following the defeat of the British forces England lost the ability to ship its excess convicts to Georgia and Louisiana. Ultimately led to Lords Melbourne & Sydney looking at the newly chartered east coast of Van Diemen’s Land as an ideal destination to rid England of its excess convicts.

1788

The First Fleet arrives at Sydney Cove. Of the 751 convicts transported to the fledgling NSW colony, at least 8 were Jews.

Territory: NSW

Over a thousand people of Jewish descent estimated to have been sent to Australia as convicts during the next 60 years.

1788

Joseph Levy, the first Jew to die in NSW

Territory: NSW

1789

John Harris, first policeman in colony of NSW

Territory: NSW

Proposed to Judge-Advocate David Collins to establish a night watch, ‘to be selected among the convicts for the purpose to stem the frequent commission of offences in the settlement’.

1803

8 Jewish convicts at short-lived settlement at Sorrento in Port Phillip Bay.

Territory: Vic

1804

Hobart, Tasmania is established as a penal colony at Sullivan’s Cove, Van Diemen’s Land. Of the orginal 270 convicts, 8 are Jewish.

Territory: Tas

Jewish convicts arrived from the then failing colony of Sorrento on Port Phillip Bay to Sullivans Cove – now the city of Hobart.

1808

Governor Bligh deposed by Lt. Col. George Johnson

Territory: NSW

Johnson’s common-law wife was Esther Abrahams of the First Fleet who was Jewish.

1809

First free Jewish male settler – Isaac Leo Lyon

Territory: NSW

Came as schoolmaster but did not claim any religious affiliation. However, father had a small boarding school in Cambridge reputed to be the first Jewish boarding school in England and was also a Hebrew teacher to the university.

1816

First free Jewish woman settler – Esther Isaacs.

Territory: NSW

1817

The first Jewish communal organization in Australia, the Chevra Kaddisha (Burial Society), is formed in Sydney.

Territory: NSW

1820

The first Jewish services conducted in private homes by emancipist Joseph Marcus

Territory: NSW

One of the few convicts with Jewish knowledge

1828

Merchant Phillip J Cohen arrives in Australia. Convenes regular religious services at his Sydney home

Territory: NSW

Cohen is authorized by the British Chief Rabbi Solomon Hirschel to perform Jewish marriages. Cohen superintended the formal establishment of the Sydney Hebrew Congregation in 1832.

1828

Michael Hyam arrived in NSW (Hyam Beach)

Territory: World

Michael Hyam received a grant of 41 acres of waterfront land in 1859 and the beach and town arenamed after him.

1829

Solomon Levey independently finances Thomas Peel’s private venture, the Swan River (free-immigrant) Colony.

Territory: WA

This eventually became the Colony of Western Australia.

Levey trusted Peel as he was 2nd cousin of British P.M., Sir Robert Peel, and that Peel deigned to become the partner of a Jewish former convict. Levey paid dearly for this misjudgment.

1830

The first organised services in Van Diemen’s Land (Tasmania) are convened.

Territory: TAS

1830

Reverend Aaron Levi arrives in Sydney.

Territory: NSW

Sefer Torah purchased by subscription. Services become more regular.

1831

The earliest Jewish marriage, of John and Rebecca Moses, is officiated by P J Cohen.

Territory: NSW

The marriage of Moses Joseph and Rebecca Nathan in 1832 has commonly been taken to be the first Jewish marriage in the colony. However this Katubah still exists. As the organised Jewish congregation was only constituted in 1832, this earlier marriage may have preceded official records. .

1831

The first formal congregation is formed in Sydney.

Territory: NSW

Services held in rooms above John Rowell’s pharmacy in George Street.

1832

The first Jewish Cemetery in Sydney established at Sandhills Cemetery in Surry Hills.

Territory: NSW

It was resumed in 1901 for Central Railway Station.

1832

Joseph Barrow Montefiore -elected president of first Jewish congregation in NSW.

Territory: World

Cousin of Sir Moses Montefiore

1832

Bridge Street Synagogue in Sydney is consecrated

Territory: NSW

First synagogue in Australia was opened in rented premises

1832

First Jewish marriage in the colony by P J Cohen of Moses Joseph and Rosetta Nathan

Territory: NSW

Jewish convicts were also married prior, but such marriages had been performed by the Anglican ministers, hence historians do not accept these as Jewish weddings.

1833

Hebrew Philanthropic and Orphan Society established

Territory: NSW

Now incorporated with the Sir Moses Montefiore Jewish Home

1833

Barnett Levey officially opens Theatre Royal.

Territory: NSW

Australia’s oldest theatrical institution. Burnt down in 1840.

1834

Jacob Montefiore is among the 11 Commissioners who establish the settlement of Adelaide.

Territory: SA

One of the venture’s backers is Sir Moses Montefiore.

1835

The first minister in Sydney, Rev. Michael Rose, arrives.

Territory: NSW

There is no indication that Rose, who left the country after three years, acted as a minister at Bridge Street, though the Minutes do show that he performed the duties of a collector. He also appears in the official Bridge Street Birth Register as a mohel.

1835

John Batman leader of a Tasmanian group with several Jewish members negotiated for the site of Melbourne with Aboriginal leaders.

Territory: Vic

Batman’s Treaty was denounced by the Crown as contrary to “terra nullius” principle.

1839

Jewish services are initiated in Melbourne for the High Holy days.

Territory: VIC

1839

The “Jewboy” bushranger Edward Davis active in Hunter Valley.

Territory: NSW

1841

The foundation stone for the first purpose built synagogue in Australia on York Street Sydney laid.

Territory: NSW

Synagogue in use 1844-1877

1842

George Moss publishes a Sydney edition of the London Voice of Jacob. Australia’s first Jewish Newsletter.

Territory: NSW

Short-lived.

1842

Arrival of George Barron Goodman, first professional photographer in Sydney

Territory: NSW

1843

Hobart synagogue is consecrated.

Territory: TAS

Constructed on land donated by Judah Solomon. Now the oldest synagogue in the country and is still in use

1846

The first congregation forms in South Australia for High Holy days observance.

Territory: SA

At the Adelaide home of Burnett Nathan

1846

Launceston Synagogue consecrated

Territory: Tas

Second oldest synagogue in Australia

1846

The first of just three dedicated Jewish cemeteries in NSW is opened in Maitland.

Territory: NSW

The others were Goulburn (1848) and Raphael’s Ground (1867).

1847

The premiere of ‘Don John of Austria’ by Isaac Nathan. The first Opera to be written, composed and produced in Australia.

Territory: Australia

1848

The first synagogue in Melbourne is constructed on Bourke Street.

Territory: VIC

Victorian Jewish population increases from 200 in 1848 to 3000 1861.

1848

Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels publish the Communist Manifesto

Territory: World

1849

Lionel Samson is elected to Western Australia’s Legislative Chamber, becoming the first Jew to be elected to an Australian Parliament.

Territory: WA

Over 50 Jewish MPs served during the colonial period. 1849-1900

1850

Australia’s first Jewish Day Schools open in Sydney and Melbourne with support from respective colonial governments.

Territory: Australia

When government funding ended, both schools disband: in Melbourne in 1872 and Sydney in 1880.

1850

Adelaide’s first Synagogue completed on the corner of Rundle Street and Synagogue Place.

Territory: SA

1851

Jewish immigrants arrive in Ballarat and Bendigo with Gold Rush.

Territory: VIC

1853

Ballarat Jewish community founded.

Territory: VIC

Weekly Shabbat minyan took place at the Clarendon Hotel.

1854

Eureka Stockade, Ballarat stormed by troops.

Territory: VIC

Teddy Thonen, a German Jew was the first of 24 miners killed defending the stockade. Earlier Manastra Flatow, another German Jew, was one of those arrested in connection with the burning of the Eureka Hotel.

1855

Original Ballarat Synagogue dedicated.

Territory: VIC

Wooden construction.

1875

The East Melbourne Hebrew Congregation is founded.

Territory: VIC

After separating from the Melbourne Hebrew Congregation.

1858

Lord Rothschild becomes the first Jew elected to British Parliament

Territory: World

1859

Queensland becomes an independent state

Territory: Qld

A number on Jewish families left Sydney for Brisbane where a synagogue was formed in 1886.

1859

Magistrate, merchant and pastoralist, Saul Samuel is the first Jew to be a minister of the Crown

Territory: NSW

Serves numerous terms as NSW Treasurer and Post Master-General.

 

1857

Macquarie Street Synagogue is established in Sydney

Territory: NSW

Formed by a split from the York Street synagogue. The split lasted almost 20 years, until the two congregations reunited to establish Sydney’s Great Synagogue in 1878.

1860

Forbes “Synagogue”

Territory: NSW

A small timber building during the gold rush, possibly burnt or washed away in a flood. Till 1990’s thought to be a synagogue.

1861

The oldest mainland synagogue still in use, in Ballarat, is erected.

Territory: VIC

Cornerstone laid

1862

Rev A B Davis appointed Minister York Street Synagogue in Sydney

Territory: NSW

1864

Accidental death of Isaac Nathan “the Father of Australian Music” in Sydney

Territory: NSW

1790-1864.

Australia’s first tram fatality

1865

Fifteen Jewish families form the first congregation in Brisbane.

Territory: QLD

They meet in rented auction rooms and a Masonic temple pending the consecration of its first synagogue in 1886.

1866

Certified Denominational School – First Jewish Day School in NSW

Territory: NSW

Operated till 1882 when Government aid for denominational schools stopped.

1871

Australian Israelite published by Solomon Joseph in Melbourne

Territory: VIC

1873

First Australian Beth Din is established.

Territory: VIC

Headed by Rabbi Herman of Ballarat.

1873

New synagogue erected/dedicated in Albert Street for the East Melbourne Hebrew Congregation

Territory: VIC

Now oldest in Melbourne and only synagogue in the CBD.

1878

Full civic equality is extended to the Jewish populations of western and central Europe

Territory: World

1878

German agitator Wilhelm Marr coins the term ‘antisemitism’

Territory: World

1878

The Great Synagogue on Elizabeth St. Sydney is consecrated.

Territory: NSW

1879

First permanent Jewish newspaper the Jewish Herald established in Melbourne

Territory: VIC

1879

Maitland Synagogue established – the first country synagogue in NSW

Territory: NSW

Closed 1898

1880

Eastern European immigration to Australia after pogroms.

Territory: Australia

1881

Anti Jewish laws are revived in Russia. Sparked by false official statements blaming Russia’s Jews for the assassination of Czar Alexander II

Territory: World

Pogroms generate a mass Jewish migration from across eastern Europe: USA 2,000,000 plus; Canada 120,000; England 220,000; Australia 2-3,000 between 1881 and 1914

1883

Newtown Shule (2nd oldest ongoing synagogue in NSW – 3rd in Australia after Hobart and Launceston)

Territory: NSW

Religious services at the home of Abram & Naomi Solomon

1885

Jewish community formed in Brisbane

Territory: QLD

1886

Margaret Street Synagogue in Brisbane opens.

Territory: QLD

Foundation stone laid 7 July 1885

1886

Julian Salamons appointed Chief Justice of New South Wales.

Territory: NSW

Declined to be sworn in “because of the hostility of the then current members of the bench”

1887

Jewish community formed in Freemantle WA

Territory: WA

1889

Sir Moses Montefiore Home opens in Dowling St. Sydney.

Territory: NSW

1890

Sidney Myer opens his first store in Bendigo from which grew the eponymous national retail institution.

Territory: VIC

The Myer Emporium opened in Bourke Street, Melbourne, in July 1914.

1891

Eliezer Montefiore, a founding trustee and president of the trustees, is appointed the first director of The Art Gallery of New South Wales.

Territory: NSW

1892

Perth Hebrew Congregation is established.

Territory: WA

1894

Chovevei Zion (Lovers’ of Zion Society) active in Sydney

Territory: NSW

3 years before the first Zionist Conference in Basle, Switzerland.

1894

Nicholas II, succeeds his father to the Russian throne and instigates pogroms against Russia’s Jews

Territory: World

1894

Dreyfuss Trial – Verdict handed down

Territory: World

Captain Alfred Dreyfuss, a French Jew, was the target for much anti-semitic prejudice. Discussion of his guilt or innocence was carried on in Australia

1895

Aaron Blashki establishes the Jewish Aid Society to provide interest-free loans to poor Jews.

Territory: NSW

1895

The Australian Jewish News is first published in Sydney under the name, the Hebrew Standard.

Territory: NSW

Editor Alfred Harris

1896

Synagogue constructed at Coolgardie, on the Western Australian goldfields.

Territory: WA

1896

Theodor Herzl writes Der Judenstaat (The Jewish State)

Territory: World

Heralds the emergence of modern Zionism as an organized political movement

1897

Herbert ‘Bert’ Rapiport plays in the first season of the Victorian Football League.

Territory: Vic

Played three games for Fitzroy in 1897.

1897

Formation of the Jewish Labor Bund (Union) in Eastern Europe

Territory: World

Jewish Labor Bund formed in Melbourne in 1928

1897

The First World Zionist Congress is held in Basel, Switzerland

Territory: World

1898

Rabbi I Bramson lived in Sydney from around 1898 to 1902.

Territory: NSW

Was not affiliated to any particular congregation and performed a number of Chupahs.

1899

Vaiben Louis Solomon serves as the Premier of South Australia for one week (1.12.1899-8.12.1899).

Territory: SA

He is the first and only Jewish head of an Australian executive government.

1901

Federation of Australia. Among the first Members of Federal Parliament are four Jews , in the House of Representatives.

Territory: Australia

Isaac Isaacs, Vaiben Louis Solomon, Elias Solomon and Pharez Phillips,

1901

First Nobel Prizes awarded

Territory: World

As of 2017, 201 out of 892 Nobel Prize winners were Jewish.

1901

The first Australian Zionist movement is formed in Perth

Territory: World

1902

Helena Rubinstein migrates from Poland to Coleraine Victoria

Territory: Australia

1902

Suffrage is extended to women in all Australian states

Territory: Australia

1903

Kishinev pogrom.

Territory: NSW

Protest (at the Czarist policies that promoted this pogram) meeting held at Sydney Town Hall by concerned citizens of all faiths. Speakers included Abraham Pearlman, storekeeeper in Boggabri (NSW), born in Kishinev.

1903

Second Aliyah to Palestine consisting mainly of socialist Zionists from eastern Europe.

Territory: Israel

They begin the kibbutz movement and the revival of Hebrew as a modern language. 1903-1914

1905

Albert Einstein develops special theory of relativity

Territory: World

1905

Isaac Isaacs appointed Commonwealth Attorney General

Territory: Australia

1910

Broken Hill Synagogue foundation stone laid

Territory: NSW

Closed 1962

1911

Kadimah established in Melbourne by Eastern European Jews

Territory: VIC

Zionist and Yiddish activities.

1911

The Australian census records 17,287 Jews

Territory: Australia

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