Synagogue of the Outback Museum
At the Synagogue of the Outback Museum, Curator Margaret Price and her team of dedicated volunteers have created a fabulous testament to the cultural diversity that has been part of Broken Hill from its foundation.
The team has preserved the history of the vibrant Jewish community that was once a part of life in the city, but the museum also incorporates much more. There’s memorabilia from local Christian Churches, various local historical relics, as well as a research centre with archives and the quirky Titanic room featuring an exhibition on the fateful ocean liner. There’s even a collection of diecast model vehicles from 1953 to 1983.
The building consists of the former Synagogue and a Rabbi’s residence behind the stone facade. It is a plain 20th century stone building located in Wolfram Street, quite similar to the simple churches built by Christian groups such as the Methodists and Baptists. The foundation stone was laid on 30 November 1910 and the building was first consecrated for worship on 26 February 1911.
The Jewish community declined in the late 1940s and 1950s and the Synagogue finally closed its doors as a place of worship in 1962.
The building declined but was saved by the efforts of people such as Alwyn Edelman and Harold Griff, descendants of Jewish families in Broken Hill and local historians Richard (Dick) Kearns. The Broken Hill Historical Society, formed in 1965, became the owners of the building in 1990 and have played a major role in its ongoing care and restoration. It is now the headquarters of the Society.
The society have created excellent panels and displays that bring the story of the Jewish community alive and have also been involved in continuing research to add to the store of knowledge.