More photos below.
I would like to thank Johnathon Bowman for permission to use this booklet below and for allowing me to take photos in the shul.
Look out for the upcoming JewishGen Kehilalink on Sydney I am working on.
Other shules are welcome to share their histories and photos.
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Some of my photos:
From the outside
On the inside
Great Synagogue (Sydney)
|The Great Synagogue|
The Great Synagogue front entrance in Elizabeth Street
|Location||187a Elizabeth Street, Sydney, Australia|
|District||Central Business District|
|Year consecrated||4 March 1878|
|Leadership||Rabbi Jeremy Lawrence|
|Architect(s)||Thomas Rowe, Aaron Loveridge (stonework), partly supervised by Walter Liberty Vernon|
|Architectural style||Moorish Revival, Victorian Free Gothic|
|Direction of façade||East|
|Construction cost||over £23,000|
|Length||one hundred and forty feet|
|Materials||Sandstone from the Pyrmont quarries|
Description and history
The Great Synagogue was designed by architect Thomas Rowe (who was not Jewish), and consecrated in 1878. It combines elements ofByzantine style and Gothic characteristics. This grand building is often described as the “cathedral synagogue” of Australia.
The Sydney Jewish community, which dated to the earliest days of the colony, met in rented spaces before building its first synagogue, designed in Egyptian style by James Hume in 1844. It was the first Egyptian Revival building in Australia.
The present synagogue has the traditional feature of an elevated ladies’ gallery. When first erected, the bimah was central, as is traditional. However, to increase seating capacity the bimah was moved forward to the western wall in 1906.
Over the years, extensive additions and alterations have been made to the other facilities appurtenant to this building, including the construction of a succah, excavation and construction of a large reception area below the synagogue itself, construction of the Rabbi Falk Memorial Library, installation of electricity in the chandeliers, and installation of a “shabbat” elevator.