November 2010 is the centenary of the laying of the foundation stone of the Broken Hill Synagogue in 1910. The Broken Hill Historical Society and the Australian Jewish Historical Society are jointly organising a full program
of Centenary celebrations and activities in Broken Hill for November 27-29 2010.

Under the direction of Assoc. Prof. Suzanne Rutland, OAM, the University of Sydney is to undertake historical research so that the history of the Broken Hill Jewish community can be fully documented. This will take place through interviews with people who lived there, or their descendents.

This project will explore the experience of Jews with connections to the Broken Hill. It will survey the causes of the early ­ and relatively high levels – of Jewish immigration to the area, and the experience of Jews in far-western NSW from the 1880s to mid twentieth century. The study will also identify the specific contribution of Jewish Australians to the home of the Å’Big Australian BHP. Given that the Broken Hill Jewish community has not functioned since the 1960s, time is of the essence in terms of oral history, so that we can get a clear picture of the reasons for Jews migrating to such a distant location, building a synagogue, developing a Jewish lifestyle there, and eventually drifting away.

If you are a descendent of one of the Jewish families of Broken Hill, and are willing to contribute to the historical enquiry, please contact University of Sydney researcher Kate Mannix at mobile: 0417 500 422.

The Broken Hill Synagogue Centenary Celebrations will be held on November 28-29 2010, in Broken Hill, New South Wales.