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 SOTOM 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 30/11/1910 and the building was first consecrated for worship on 26/2/1911.
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 has played a major role in its ongoing care and restoration. It is now the headquarters of the Society.
Margaret has created excellent panels and displays that bring the story of the Jewish community alive and has also been involved in continuing research to add to the store of knowledge.
It’s worth coming just so you can take a peak inside the most remote Synagogue in the world and learn about the Jews’ story, but with all the added information, memorabilia and displays, this is one museum not to miss.
The Parochet is the first Ark Curtain used in the Synagogue. The Ark is the place in the Synagogue which held the Torah. The Torah is the Jewish written law and consists of the five books of the Hebrew bible. The Parochet on display was embroidered: in memory of Esther Rosanove, mother of Benjamin Rosanove.
Rabbi Berman was the last permanent Rabbi at the Synagogue in Broken Hill, his Tallit is displayed with its Kippah or head covering and the Kippah bag. There is also one worn by Leon Mann at the synagogue 100th celebration November 2010 which was owned by his late father Max Mann businessman.
Coal from Titanic
This piece of Coal housed in the Ralph Wallace Research Centre of the SOTOM is a certified piece of memorabilia and has been salvaged fro the wreck.
This handrail is from the Bethel Independent Methodist Chapel, Colne Lancashire England (demolished) attended by Wallace Hartley the bandmaster in charge of the band on the Titanic.
Wolfram Street is within easy walking distance of the CBD and parking in Wolfram Street is free and readily available.
Allow at least an hour for a visit and it is easy to spend two hours absorbing the information, objects and photographs on display.
Discover more information about the Synagogue of the Outback Museum.