Author Topic: Has Australia Reconciled With Its Colonial Past?  (Read 352 times)


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Re: Has Australia Reconciled With Its Colonial Past?
« on: September 01, 2021, 10:24:10 pm »
We've all heard about:

Of course, Jews in Australia were "white", just as they were in all Western colonies:

Eight convicts transported to Botany Bay in 1788 aboard the First Fleet have been identified as Jewish.[6] There were probably more, but exact numbers are not possible as the transportation records did not indicate a convict's religion. Over a thousand more people of Jewish descent are estimated to have been sent to Australia as convicts during the next 60 years.[1]
The first move towards organisation in the community was the formation of a Chevra Kadisha (a Jewish burial society) in Sydney in 1817.[7] In 1820, William Cowper allotted land for the establishment of a Jewish cemetery in the right-hand corner of the then-Christian cemetery. The Jewish section was created to enable the burial of one Joel Joseph. During the next ten years there was no great increase in membership of the society, and its services were not called for more than once a year. The actual allocation of land for a consecrated Jewish cemetery was not approved until 1832.[8]

The first Jewish services in the colony were conducted from 1820 in private homes by emancipist Joseph Marcus, one of the few convicts with Jewish knowledge.[7] An account of the period is:

In 1827 and 1828 then the worldly condition of the Hebrews in the colony improved considerably, in consequence of the great influx of respectable merchants; and this, with other circumstances, has raised the Hebrews in the estimation of their fellow colonists. About this period Mr. P. J. Cohen having offered the use of his house for the purpose, divine worship was performed for the first time in the colony according to the Hebrew form, and was continued regularly every Sabbath and holiday. From some difference of opinion then existing among the members of this faith, divine service was also performed occasionally in a room hired by Messrs. A. Elias and James Simmons. In this condition everything in connection with their religion remained until the arrival of Rev. Aaron Levi, in the year 1830. He had been a dayyan, and, duly accredited, he succeeded in instilling into the minds of the congregation a taste for the religion of their fathers. A Sefer Torah [scroll of the Law] was purchased by subscription, divine service was more regularly conducted, and from this time may be dated the establishment of the Jewish religion in Sydney. In 1832 they formed themselves into a proper congregation, and appointed Joseph Barrow Montefiore as the first president.
By 1901 it is estimated there were over 15,000 Jews in Australia.[1] When Australia was founded as an independent country in 1901, some of the founders were Jewish. From the outset, Jews were treated as equal citizens with freedom to participate in economic and cultural life, and played an important role in their development.
Throughout the 20th century, many Jews served as elected officials. Among the positions held by a Jew were Mayor of Melbourne, Premier of South Australia, Speaker of the House of Representatives, and Speaker of Parliament. Many Jewish elected officials simultaneously served as the heads of their kehillas.
Besides his diverse business interests in Sydney, Sir Saul Samuel was the first Jew to become a magistrate, to sit in a colonial Parliament and to become a minister of the Crown.[26] In 1854 he was appointed to the New South Wales Legislative Council and subsequently was an elected member of the Legislative Assembly. He also served periods as Treasurer and Postmaster General.[26] Vaiben Solomon was Premier of South Australia for a week in 1899. Leo Port was Lord Mayor of Sydney between 1975 and 1978.

In 1931, Sir Isaac Isaacs was the first Australian-born Governor-General, and was the first Jewish vice-regal representative in the British Empire. Sir Zelman Cowen also served as Governor-General, between 1977 and 1982. Linda Dessau has been Governor of Victoria since July 2015,[27] the first woman and the first Jew to serve in the position. Sir John Monash, a distinguished Australian Lieutenant-General during World War I, led Australian troops both in Gallipoli and on the Western Front. The agent-generalship of New South Wales has been administered by two Jews: Sir Saul Samuel, one of the most prominent and successful Jews in Australian politics, and Sir Julian Salomons.

Several Jews have served as Chief Justices of various states. Sir Julian Salomons was Chief Justice of New South Wales for a fortnight in 1886; James Spigelman was the Chief Justice of NSW from 19 May 1998 to 31 May 2011. Mahla Pearlman was Chief Judge of the NSW Land and Environment Court from 1992 to 2003, and she was the first woman chief judge in any (State) jurisdiction in Australia. Jews are especially prominent in the legal profession; for example, in Melbourne alone, the Hon. Michael Rozenes sits as Chief Judge of the County Court of Victoria, Justice Redlich sits on the Court of Appeal, while Justices Raymond Finkelstein, Alan Goldberg, Mark Weinberg, Ronald Sackville and Ron Merkel have all sat in recent years on the Federal Court of Australia. James Edelman is a justice of the Federal Court, and is appointed to be a justice of the High Court of Australia.

David Bennett is a Sydney barrister. He was president of the Australian Bar Association from 1995 to 1996 and of the NSW Bar Association from 1995 to 1997. Bennett was president of the Association of Lawyer Arbitrators and Mediates in 1998 and President of the Australian Academy of Forensic Sciences from 1999 to 2001. He was Solicitor-General of Australia from 1998 to 2008. Bennett was awarded the Centenary Medal in 2003. His wife, Annabelle Bennett is a Judge of the Federal Court of Australia.
Among the Jews who have figured as business pioneers in Australia were Joseph Barrow Montefiore (18031893)[28] and his brother Jacob Barrow Montefiore (18011895), one of the founders of the colony of South Australia, as he was selected by the British government to act on the first board of commissioners, appointed in 1835 to conduct its affairs. Jacob's portrait hangs in the Art Gallery of South Australia, and his memory is perpetuated by Montefiore Hill, a vantage point which overlooks the city of Adelaide.[29] Their nephew Jacob Levi Montefiore (18191885), whose mother was a first cousin of Sir Moses Montefiore,[30] and J. B. Montefiore[clarification needed] gave an impetus to the progress of New South Wales. Jacob owned one of the largest sheep-runs in the colony, and founded and for many years acted as director of the Bank of Australasia. The close connection of these two with the colony is further evidenced by the township of Montefiore, New South Wales, which stands at the junction of the Bell and Macquarie Rivers in the Wellington valley. Joseph Montefiore was the first president of the first Jewish congregation formed in Sydney in 1832.

V. L. Solomon of Adelaide is remembered for the useful work he achieved in exploring the vast northern territory of his colony, the interests of which he represented in Parliament. M. V. Lazarus of Bendigo, known as Bendigo Lazarus, also did much to open up new parts in the back country of Victoria. Nathaniel Levi, for many years urged the cultivation of beetroot for the production of sugar and spirits owed its brief existence as an industry to Levi's own interest in raw material for his distilling company. In his labours on behalf of this industry he published in 1870 a work of 250 pages on the value and adaptability of the sugar-beet. In Western Australia, the townships of Karridale and Boyanup owe their existence to the enterprise of M. C. Davies, a large lumber merchant.
Since the days of European settlement in Australia, Jews have enjoyed formal equality before the law and have not been subject to civil disabilities or other forms of state-sponsored antisemitism excluding them from full participation in public life. Jews have been active contributors in science, art, and literature, and in the government of the colonial and Commonwealth eras, with a number attaining prominent public offices, including several governors-general.

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« Last Edit: September 01, 2021, 10:30:58 pm by 90sRetroFan »