Newman Hirsh Rosenthal (1898-1986) was a pioneering educator, filmmaker and author. He wrote institutional histories and biographies (including that of Sir Albert Coates and Sir Charles Lowe), frequently contributed to daily newspapers, and reviewed many books about Jewish history and culture.
Elias Blaubaum was a most inspirational and outstanding member of the Melbourne Jewish Community as Minister of the St Kilda Hebrew Congregation for thirty-one years and editor of the Jewish Herald for almost twenty-five.
Possibly one of the most unique High Holiday services ever held in Australia took place in 1894 in Coolgardie WA for Rosh Hashana. The services were not held in a synagogue, nor in a home — in fact, not even in a building. The service, in which eleven men participated, just surpassing the bare minimum required, was held in a tent during the time of the WA’s gold rush period.
As far back as 1831, the London Beit Din was confronted with issues surrounding granting divorces, when one or other of the parties had been transported to Australia, which did not have a formal Jewish legal body. The first Beit Din, or religious Jewish court, was convened in Australia in 1864, for the sole purpose of effecting a divorce and arranging a gett, for a Jewish couple that wished to legally separate.
When gold was discovered in New South Wales in 1851 by Edward Hargreaves, the area near Bathurst was actually given a Hebrew name – ‘’Ophir’’ – a name and place from the bible famous for its gold and wealth. Victoria’s gold rush began in 1851 and, over the next ten years, close to 600,000 people flowed into the region in search of their fortune. Many of these adventurers were Jewish.
The Jewish Ladies’ Benevolent Loan and Visiting Society formed a committee that eventually became the Jewish Emigration Society. Donations came in, and in June of 1853, an advertisement was printed announcing the Society’s intention of sending 20 single Jewish female emigrants to Australia. What happened next was quite unexpected!