27. Synagogue - 1910


A Hebrew congregation was formed in Broken Hill by 1900, by which time about 150 Jews were resident in the city. The synagogue and attached residence were both built in 1910. Prior to this, religious services were held at the Masonic Hotel and, in 1905, Rev. Mandelbaum was appointed minister. In 1907 the NSW government granted that a synagogue may be built on this site. The foundation stone was laid on 30 November 1910 by Solomon Saunders, president of the Adelaide Hebrew Congregation. The Synagogue was consecrated by Rabbi F K Cohen in 1911.  

Members of the Jewish community were some of the city’s merchants and became part of the richly diverse migrant population of Broken Hill. In 1886 Henry Boan and his brother Ernest established the first major store. Three years later, Boan Brothers was turning over £1000 a week. 

The Synagogue closed in 1962 and its scrolls and silverware were transferred to a Melbourne synagogue. The building was used as a residence until 1989, when it was purchased by the Broken Hill Historical Society and lovingly restored for its headquarters. It is now one of the most remote Jewish museums in the world, containing original furniture and the original ceiling, painted with the Star of David. 

This is one of only three Synagogues outside Sydney to have been preserved, restored and heritage-listed.

Audio transcript available.