Archive of Australian Judaica
New South Wales
The collections held at the Archive of Australian Judaica have been transferred to the Australian Jewish Historical Society (AJHS)
The Archive is a collection of source materials relating to Jewish Life in Australia from the origin of the Jewish community up to the present day. The material housed in the Archive consists of a variety of types including anything of an archival or ephemeral nature, which reflects the multifaceted nature of Jewish life in Australia, and its social interactions with the broader Australian community. The Archive of Australian Judaica has been operating since July 4, 1983 within Rare Books and Special Collections at Fisher Library.
What does it contain?
Archives, partial or complete, of the major Jewish community organisations, some of which are now defunct, and papers of Jewish individuals relating to their activities within the Australian Jewish context. There are 500 shelf metres of material, collected and processed over the thirty years of the Archive's existence.
Photographs of individuals in their roles as members of community organisations or in meetings of historic community import. Photographs of places of community interest, such as synagogues and personalities, or notable events.
Tapes, including programmes of the Jewish Radio Hour from its inception in 1978, seminars of the Australian Association of Jewish Studies, all the reels of 'You don't have to be Jewish', and some oral histories.
Videos, DVDs and CDs are collected by the Archive and include an interview with Helena Mann, a Holocaust survivor, and a video of the art exhibition of the Jewish Arts and Culture Council in 1989.
Books and Periodicals: Early in the existence of the Archive, a decision was taken that books acquired by the Archive would be housed with the regular research collections of the library and would be catalogued in the usual way. However, in situations where there is no parallel subject holding in the library, e.g. printings of the Yiddish press in Australia, the books and periodicals remain in the Archive.
Theses: Researchers using the collection are encouraged to deposit their earlier theses in the Archive, also pledging a copy of any work based on archival papers consulted in the Archive.
Subject files: Newspaper clippings and manuscript materials. Files are kept on such topics as Jewish education, immigration, the Freeland League, Australian Jewish communities and organisations, and on Australian Jewish individuals. Some files and photos were acquired from the Australian Jewish News offices when they moved their office to Surry Hills. Extensive subject files from 1940s to 1970s as were collected by the New South Jewish Board of Deputies, sent to Newcastle University Library but now held in the Archive.
Ephemera: These documents have a unique importance for social history and related disciplines. Only significant ephemera are collected where the material was thought to provide context to historical events. The Archive's ephemera is boxed alphabetically under organisation.
Some of the records and minutes deposited in the Archive are of a semi-confidential nature. A few depositing organisations have asked for the semi-confidential records to be placed on restricted access and thus there is not a detailed listing of their archives on the webpage. To keep faith with donors and depositors, researchers seeking to use restricted access papers are required to bring a signed authority from the organisation concerned. Today, emails are acceptable for the permission to use restricted material.
The Archive is open from Monday-Friday from 9:30-4:30 in Rare Books & Special Collections at Fisher Library.
You can schedule an appointment to view materials by filling out the request form on the Rare Books website. Several collections have restrictions and are currently being reviewed for access. It is best to fill out a request form in advance so that you can be alerted if there are any restrictions. However, the archive reserves the right to restrict access to certain collections at any time during this review process. Thank you for your understanding.
For information, searching, retrieval and access to the collections, please contact: Sabrina Elias.
Archive of Australian Judaica website