Don’t be fooled by Broken Hill’s clichéd reputation as a “Wild West” mining town ... the Silver City enjoys a remarkable and rich multicultural reputation as an anchor point for Muslims and the Jewish faith in Australia.
It is probable that the former Synagogue in Broken Hill is the most remote Jewish museum in the world and the building, which has been rescued by the local historical society, stands proudly as a reminder of the evolution of the Jewish community in regional Australia.
Along with Ballarat, Broken Hill is home to the only Australian rural synagogues which seem to have generated a lingering affection and loyalty.
A vibrant and successful Jewish community existed in BH for three generations from the 1880s to the 1960s - most of whom had their origins in Central and Eastern Europe – primarily from Ukraine, Lithuania, Poland and Russia.
They joined other ethnic groups – Afghans, Chinese, Italians, Greeks, Turks, Scots, Germans and Irish – arriving in the ancestral lands of the Wilyakali people, members of the larger group called Paakantyi.
Clearly, this illustrates that multiculturalism emerged in Broken Hill at a much earlier time in Australian history than is generally recognised.
The synagogue closed its doors in 1962 and the scrolls were transferred to the Yeshiva on Hotham Street, St Kilda, Melbourne. The ark, bima and pews remain in place. A Magen David is painted on the ceiling.
Located at 165 Wolfram Street in Broken Hill, the synagogue is open every Monday, Wednesday & Sunday from 10am to 3pm. For further details telephone 0439-680-944 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Bradley Wayne Falappi Titanic Collection may be viewed at the Ralph Wallace Research Centre at the Synagogue of the Outback Museum.