Jewish Synagogue

Jewish Synagogue

Walking along Synagogue Place off Rundle Street you find a beautiful Art-Deco styled facade adorned with a large motif of the Star of David. This facade begins to elucidate the large contribution of the Jewish community to the City of Adelaide. In 1844 there were too few Jewish immigrants in the metropolitan area to form a congregation, having only 25 adherents in the colony, but by 10 September 1848 the Adelaide Hebrew Congregation was large enough to form and did so at Solomon's Temple Tavern.

Judah Moss Solomon, of Solomon family fame being Emmanuel Solomon's (founding member of the SA mining company) nephew was elected first president of the congregation. Judah who later became Mayor of Adelaide and the Adelaide City member of the House of Assembly amongst other achievements was president in 1848 when the the congregation had received subscriptions to commission the building of a 35 feet by 20 feet schoolroom and place of worship . The Adelaide Hebrew Congregation engaged Architect W. Weir to provide the plans for the buildings which was to be situated on Rundle Street.

The Synagogue which was described as being 'Egyptian" in style provided for the Adelaide Hebrew Congregation until 1860 when adherents increased from 48 to 360 in slightly over a decade. It was decided that a new Synagogue would be required and the congregation engaged Architects Wright, Woods & Hamilton, who designed the new Synagogue in an Italianate style using Dry Creek stone. The consecration of the building occurred on 26 March 1871.

The Hebrew congregation was highly regarded with many prominent positions being held by the congregation; including parliamentarians, aldermen, councillors and mayorships. The Adelaide Hebrew Congregation was credited with having significant influence in the commercial, political and municipal life of the colony with some adherents being founding member of the prestigious Adelaide Club.

By 1891 the Jewish population had reached its peak at 840 adherents and it was proposed by Levi Isaacs that the site be redeveloped to provide an income for the community. Five shops designed by Edward Davies were built on the site which required the moving of the Synagogue's facade to Synagogue Place. In 1936 the new facade was designed by architect Chris A. Smith in an interwar Art-Deco style.

The Synagogue has been little altered with the interior retaining much of its 1870's character until its conversion to a night club c.2008. Apple Bar currently occupies the Synagogue.


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The Jewish Synagogue is highly significant as it provides a glimpse into Jewish community and worship in the City of Adelaide. The Synagogues construction in different stages shows the fortunes of Jewish immigrants and their gains in social status as the congregation grew. Beyond the Rundle Street Art-Deco facade exists the original Victorian-styled facade, with much of the interior being little modified since 1870. The Synagogue remains an important part of Adelaide's history.

Connects with

Related places
Related people
Related organisations
Related events
Related things
Featured in
City of Churches

See also

Images of Jewish Synagogue

  • Synagogue, 2014
W. Weir, Edmund Wright, Edward Woods, Edward Hamilton, Chris Smith
Building materials
Stone, Freestone
Architectural styles
2 Victorian Period (c. 1840–c. 1890), 2.9 Italianate, 3.12 Inter-War Period (c. 1915–c. 1940), 3.18 Art Deco
1849 - 1850 

Additional Works

New Synagogue Building

Construction of a new synagogue to alleviate issues of crowding
Construction commenced
c. 9/4/1869
Construction completed

Facade moved to Synagogue Place

Moving of the synagogue entrance to Synagogue Place including new style for new facade
Construction commenced
c. 9/4/1936
Construction completed
c. 9/4/1936
Architecture and design features
Engineering features
Council Ward
Alternative Addresses
Town Acre
Planning Zone or Policy Area
Original owners
Adelaide Hebrew Congregation
Original occupant
Adelaide Hebrew Congregation
Later occupant/s
Purposes and use
AS2482 classification
15500 - Religious Building
Public Access
Exterior only
State Heritage ID
ACC Reference No.
DPTI Heritage No.
Certificate of Title No.
CT 5382/829 D32059 A6
NTSA file exists
Heritage Status
State Heritage listed
State heritage listing
State Heritage listed
Date of State heritage listing
Local heritage listing
Date of Local heritage listing
NTSA listing
NTSA registered
Date of NTSA listing
Section 23 (4) crtiteria
Risk status
Historic Themes
2.2 Immigration
2.2.2 Jewish Settlers
4.5.4 Inter War
6.3 Worshipping
6.3.1 Places of worship/Churches
Australian Curriculum references
Year 5: The Australian Colonies


Further reading

  • Marsden, S, Stark, P, Sumerling, P 1990, Heritage of the City of Adelaide: an illustrated history, Corporation of the City of Adelaide, Adelaide

External links

  • [Australian Heritage Database [1]
    URIs of the form "[;search=street_name%3DSynagogue%3Bstate%3DSA%3Bkeyword_PD%3Don%3Bkeyword_SS%3Don%3Bkeyword_PH%3Don%3Blatitude_1dir%3DS%3Blongitude_1dir%3DE%3Blongitude_2dir%3DE%3Blatitude_2dir%3DS%3Bin_region%3Dpart;place_id=16932 Australian Heritage Database]" are not allowed.
  • [State Heritage Register [2]
    URIs of the form "[ State Heritage Register ]" are not allowed.

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