East Melbourne Synagogue
Architect: Crouch and Wilson 1877
City of Melbourne | C20
In 1857 the East Melbourne Hebrew Congregation was established. A grant of land was obtained on the corner of Little Lonsdale and Stephen (now Exhibition) streets. A building incorporating a synagogue and school was erected but as membership grew, the small building became inadequate. The building is still standing and is presently the Trunk restaurant. In 1873 land for the existing synagogue at 488 Albert Street was purchased and the foundation stone laid in March 1877. The synagogue opened in September 1877 in the presence of communal leaders of all denominations. John Monash was the first boy to have a bar mitzvah in the synagogue. The Jewish community of Melbourne was at that time concentrated around East Melbourne, Carlton, Fitzroy and Brunswick. During the 1950s and 60s the Jewish community underwent a demographic shift that saw the south-eastern suburbs become the home to the majority, and almost all the Jewish organizations based in the inner north and east began to close. The last remaining survivor is the East Melbourne Synagogue, which has managed to keep its doors open and, as is the cyclical nature of things, it has seen an increase in attendance, activities and community interest in recent years.
The Rabbi and synagogue members will be present to answer questions about the building, the features of the sanctuary and other aspects of Judaism. Visitors are welcome to explore the foyer, the ground-floor sanctuary and the mezzanine with its women’s seating and library. Photographing is permitted.
488 Albert Street, East Melbourne 3002, East Melbourne VIC