WE ARE HERE! in Melbourne

Using memory and legacy to educate the generations that follow, and to create upstanders out of bystanders!

The William Cooper Legacy is gaining momentum!

Special events celebrating William Cooper were held in Melbourne over 5 days in December.

These events connected Upstanders from diverse backgrounds, from the William Cooper Institute at Monash University to the Richmond Football Club, and from The Ark Centre in East Hawthorn to Temple Beth Israel.

Below is my selection of photos which highlights these events, and connects our WE ARE HERE! Human Rights and Social Justice project to the growing world of Upstanders influenced by William Cooper’s once long forgotten protest way back in 1938.

I have also incorporated parts of Barbara Miller’s report  into this post. Barbara is William Cooper’s biographer. Thanks Barbara! 

The Events- 2019:
  • Barbara Miller Book Launch
  • The William Cooper Dinner at Richmond FC
  • The launch of the William Cooper Institute at Monash University
  • The special Shabbat at The Ark Centre
  • The interfaith youth seminar in Ascot Vale
  • A visit to William Cooper’s former home in Footscray
  • Some William Cooper icons around Melbourne city
  • The World Premiere of the Kristallnacht Cantata 
The Barbara Miller Book Launch

White Australia Has A Black History is available as a paperback from Barbara Miller’s website, and Barbara would love you to review it on Amazon and/or Goodreads.

 The link to the book on Amazon is – https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07X1MYCDX

The link to the book on Goodreads is https://www.goodreads.com/review/new/47942441-white-australia-has-a-black-history

 Barbara giving a talk on William Cooper at an Author Event at Lamm Jewish Library in Melbourne 3 December 2019


Shattered Lives Broken Dreams is at the printer – almost ready to be released!

Barbara on the radio

Barbara Miller:

David Jack interviewing Barbara on J-Air Jewish Radio in Melbourne on 4 December 2019 with Maurice Klein working the desk. The topic was Kristallnacht and William Cooper. It was on the Beersheba Vision program run by Peter Kentley.

Link to the interview:


Richmond FC Seminar & Dinner

The Seminar

 Abe Schwarz

Eli Rabinowitz, Barbara & Norm Miller

My slide – thanks to Stuart Rhine-Davis of Ellenbrook Secondary College

Barbara Miller

The Richmond Football Club and the William Cooper Legacy Project convened by Abe Schwarz hosted a seminar and dinner on 5 December 2019. It announced a new William Cooper Centre which will integrate sport, culture and diversity as the home to the Korin Gamadji Institute emerging Indigenous leaders program, the Bachar Houli Academy, Melbourne Indigenous Transition School (MITS) and women’s and community football. 

There were four speakers at the seminar – Barbara Miller, biographer of William Cooper, Mike Zervos CEO Courage to Care, a teacher from Parkdale College called Natalie Baker and Eli Rabinowitz, founder, the WE ARE HERE! Project. Nola Kelly, the great-granddaughter of William Cooper, Leonie Drummond, Uncle Boydie’s daughter, shared briefly. Barbara is pictured speaking. A mural of the Tigers AFL players on the wall.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Richmond Tigers

The Table List

Eli Rabinowitz, singer Lior Attar, Tali Kellman and Alex Kats

Professor Jacinta Elston, Monash University and William Cooper’s great grandchildren, Leonie Drummond and Lance Turner, with Eli Rabinowitz

 David Jack

 Eli, Rabinowitz, Professor Jacinta Elston &  Abe Schwarz

  Jamil Tye,  Roberto D’Andrea & Aunty Di

Eli Rabinowitz, dancers, Abe Schwarz

Eli Rabinowitz, Uncle Boydie Turner, Alex Kats, Kevin Russel, ?, David Jago

William Cooper’s family


This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Ngarra Bulla Ferra

Ngarra Bulla Ferra

Richmond FC, Melbourne 8 December 2019

Source: youtu.be/3WNgvqQQGbs

Richmond FC Dinner
Abe Schwarz & Uncle Boydie

Uncle Boydie

Source: youtu.be/CkiFOAL5fzY

William Cooper Legacy Film by David Jack

William Cooper Legacy 13min 45 sec doco converted

Source: youtu.be/EN9iMDFEMi4

Monash University Clayton – William Cooper Institute Launch

 Eli Rabinowitz, Bill Appleby of Jewish Care & Norm Miller

Eli Rabinowitz & John Gandel

Barbara Miller, Minister Ken Wyatt & Eli Rabinowitz

Leonie Drummond


Andrew Markus, Pauline Gandel, Simone Markus & Eli Rabinowitz

Eli Rabinowitz & Vedran Drakulic

Eli Rabinowitz & Professor Susan Elliott

Eli Rabinowitz & Professor Jacinta Elston & Associate Professor Chivonne Algeo

L-R photos – The Hon Minister Ken Wyatt with Barbara and Norman Miller at Monash University, the Unveiling of the plaque at Monash Uni with Uni staff, Cooper family and the Minister, and the Millers with Dr John Gandel AC and Pauline Gandel. 

On 6 December 2019, the 81st anniversary of the 1938 AAL protest, Monash University launched the William Cooper Institute. The Gandel family’s philanthropy made the centre possible. Stirring speeches were made by the Federal Minister for Indigenous Australians, Mr Ken Wyatt, Chancellor Simon McKeon, the Pro Vice-Chancellor Indigenous Jacinta Elston, Dr John Gandel AC, and Leonie Drummond, Uncle Boydie’s daughter. 

Minister Ken Wyatt said that William Cooper cut a pathway for people to follow and showed bravery in the face of opposition. He said William Cooper stepped out and left footsteps in the sand to follow. He said he had recently returned from Israel and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, in a speech, had paid tribute to William Cooper. 

The Ark Centre – Cross Cultural Shabbat

Rabbi Gabi Kaltman and the ARK Centre held an Indigenous themed Shabbat service and meal honouring William Cooper on 6 December 2019

Eli Rabinowitz, Viv Parry, Lisa Naphtali, Rabbi Gabi Kaltmann, Kate Brocker, Shane Charles & Abe Schwarz

Shane Charles & Rabbi Gabi Kaltmann

A Very Special Duet by Shane Charles & Rabbi Gabi Kaltmann
A Very Special Duet by Shane Charles & Rabbi Gabi Kaltmann

The Ark Centre Aboriginal Kabbalat Shabbat In Honour of William Cooper Melbourne, Australia 6 December 2019

Source: youtu.be/o-pbcrTtfTQ

The Interfaith Youth Human Rights Seminar in Ascot Vale

Elana Saks

A visit to William Cooper’s House in footscray

The Footscay Railway Station

Eli Rabinowitz & Christine Newman, owner of the William Cooper house.

The William Cooper Justice Centre

The former Nazi Consulate in Melbourne where William Cooper marched to, and left his petition

Kristallnacht Cantata – Temple Beth Israel

The Kristallnacht Cantata: A Voice of Courage held its world premiere on 8 December at Temple Beth Israel St. Kilda, Melbourne. The strident music of the orchestra conveyed the build-up to the Night of the Broken Glass and the shattering of glass and lives that took place. A tribute to William Cooper, the Cantata imagined a moving duet between Cooper and Otto Jontof-Hutter who was arrested in Stuttgart during Kristallnacht along with thousands of other Jews.

Otto’s grandson, world-famous violinist Ron Jontof-Hutter, active in the Berlin-based World Doctors Orchestra but living in Melbourne, conceived the Cantata. An Israeli composer living in Melbourne, Alon Trigger, collaborated with Ron as the lyricist and world-famous conductor Dr David Kram, as musical director, to put the Cantata together.

The event was held in Temple Beth Israel synagogue and Barbara was asked to read a scripture and she chose Isaiah 62:1-7. There was a beautiful performance by the Yeng Gali Mullum Indigenous Choir.

Photos L_R, Uncle Boydie watching the orchestra of the Kristallnacht Cantata and the Yeng Gali Mullum Indigenous Choir.

For the start of the Kristallnacht Cantata, scroll to the 1 hr 41 min mark

 back in Perth – On Noongar Radio with Jodi Ryder

Manager: Paul Whitton

Chanukah in Cairns

Cairns, Australia

Today, the unprecedented public display of Hanukkah has become a staple of Jewish cultural and religious life, forever altering the American practice and awareness of the festival. RARA North Queensland’s menorah is one of more than 15,000 large public menorahs sponsored by Chabad in more than 100 countries around the world, including in front of landmarks such as the White House, the Eiffel Tower, and the Kremlin helping children and adults of all walks of life discover and enjoy the holiday message

Throughout North QLD, Chabad of RARA in North QLD will be presenting several Hanukkah events and celebrations. Including a big event in Townsville and smaller events in Airlie Beach, Mackay, Ingham, Bowen and Ayr

For more information about Hanukkah and a local schedule of events visit chabadnorthqueensland.com/Hanukkah.

Vale Simonas Dovidavicius

Vale Simonas Dovidavicius. 

Standing between Laima Ardaviciene and me in Kėdainiai, Lithuania on 15 June this year. Simon passed away last week and was laid to rest on the 18th December 2019. 

With Rimantas Zirgulis

In Kaunas at Sugihara House on 11 June 2019

Simon was the Executive Director of the Sugihara Foundation in Kaunas.

Long Life to his family, and may his memory be for a blessing.

My video of Simonas from 2015



By Simon Davidovich

Source: youtu.be/VWCW4H47vlQ

A previous post:

Sugihara House Museum

Sugihara House Museum

My second visit to the Museum, but first time meeting with Simon Davidovich, director of the Museum and Jewish tour guide. Also visiting the Museum were Richard Freedman of the Holocaust Centr…

Source: elirab.me/sugihara-house-museum/

My first visit:

Chiune Sugihara And His Legacy

Chiune Sugihara And His Legacy

This post is in honour of Chiune Sugihara. Contents 1. A profile of Sugihara 2. Photos of  my visit to the Sugihara Museum in Kaunas, Lithuania in May this year 3. Nine Forth, Kaunas. May 2012 4. T…

Source: elirab.me/chiune-sugihara-and-his-legacy/


Kab Shab


The Jewish Centre, Perth 6pm

My first time at this Kabbalat Shabbat service.

Thoroughly enjoyed it! Thanks to the organisers:

Ilan, Claudia and Zoe et al.

If you are young and not shomrei, give it a try in 2020!

Five video clips below:

IMG 8787

Kab Shab 1

Source: youtu.be/WsbMZZtst8s

IMG 8789

Kab Shab 2

Source: youtu.be/k7AvTMo_lU8

IMG 8790

Kab Shab 3

Source: youtu.be/El59RB3CaDw

IMG 8791

Kab Shab 4

Source: youtu.be/TR6skKRgT1w

IMG 8792

Kab Shab 5

Source: youtu.be/a299R88S-xc

The Value Of Being An Upstander

The Value of Being an Upstander! – Cape Jewish Chronicle

The Value of Being an Upstander! – Cape Jewish Chronicle

By Eli Rabinowitz “The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing’ – Edmund Burke, philosopher. I wrote about the Bielski Partisan Reunion in Belarus in July in last month’s CJC, and what an inspiring event it was. There were numerous other groups that operated in the region …

Source: cjc.org.za/the-value-of-being-an-upstander/

This Week With William Cooper

William Cooper Statue, Shepparton VIC


Tuesday, 3 December 2019Thursday,  5 December 1938

Friday, 6 December 2019  Sunday, 8 December 2019

In the Press:


This Week With William Cooper
From: Eli Rabinowitz
Date: Tue, 03 Dec 2019 17:15:59 ESTWe are coming up to the 81st anniversary of William Cooper’s march to the German Consulate in Melbourne, on 5 December 1938.
To commemorate this significant date, there are interesting events being held in Melbourne, Australia.

They can be found on this link:


Eli Rabinowitz


Uncle Boydie in front of mural of his grandfather William Cooper in Shepparton VIC
Plaque in Shepparton VIC
With Abe Schwarz & William Cooper’s family in Preston VIC
 With Viv Parry
WE ARE HERE! Perth Team
Stuart Rhine-Davis, Lance Turner, Jessica Shaw, Suzanne Kosowitz, Eli Rabinowitz, Simon Millman
Perth Kristallnacht Commemoration Team

Swastikas In Customs House Sydney

Thirty Four years ago when I visited Sydney for the first time, I walked into The Customs House in Circular Quay,  and saw something that has remained unresolved (for me) since 1985!

Please read on!

I visit Sydney several times each year to see my family, as well as for business. However, I don’t ever get to Circular Quay, one of the major tourist areas in the world!

Last Sunday, 24 November 2019, while in the area,  I decided to revisit the building, to satisfy my curiosity! 


Inside the entrance of the building.

What do you make of it?

I called in at the information desk in the lobby of the building, and I was given this information sheet.

The receptionist  told me that two Jewish tourists recently called in at her desk quite distraught after walking into the building, and seeing these symbols.

I searched the net on the subject.  This what Wikipedia has to say about these symbols – quite detailed and informative:

Swastika – Wikipedia

Swastika – Wikipedia


Source: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Swastika

As part of this Wiki article above, you can read:

Post–World War II stigmatization

Because of its use by Nazi Germany, the swastika since the 1930s has been largely associated with Nazism. In the aftermath of World War II it has been considered a symbol of hate in the West,[160] or alternatively of white supremacy in many Western countries.[161]

As a result, all of its use, or its use as a Nazi or hate symbol, is prohibited in some countries, including Germany. Because of the stigma attached to the symbol, many buildings that have used the symbol as decoration have had the symbol removed.[citation needed] In some countries, such as the United States’ Virginia v. Black 2003 case, the highest courts have ruled that the local governments can prohibit the use of swastika along with other symbols such as cross burning, if the intent of the use is to intimidate others.[5]


No-Nazism sign


I decided to write to the Australian Jewish News, the NSW Jewish Board of Deputies, and  J-Wire (online  zine)

These were the replies:

Vic Alhadeff – NSW Jewish Board:

As the leaflet says, it’s there as Buddhist/Hindu culture. Nothing to be done.

Henry Benjamin – J-Wire:

You would have a problem visiting Bali. The swastika is part of the island’s culture.

The AJN did not respond!



Should a public building in Sydney, Australia have these images displayed in its entrance, and with no visible explanation given – only when I asked at reception!

These may be positive symbols in Asia, but what about in a country that has a large population of Holocaust survivors and their descendants.

What do you have to say on the matter?



I called the front desk at Customs House this morning, and spoke to Veronica, who told me that there is a plaque in the foyer. Neither Jill nor I saw it!

Veronica kindly took a couple of photos for me and also pointed me to an item on their website – see below

My updated notes arising from this last image:

The plaque states that during WWII the floor was covered – interesting!

Both right and left facing swastikas are on the Customs House floor (not just counter clockwise as per the plaque above).

My photo of the floor

Thanks and best regards

Eli Rabinowitz

Perth, Australia


The Customs House

Source: www.sydneycustomshouse.com.au

The pamphlet

Customs House