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East Melbourne Synagogue

Architect: Crouch and Wilson

City of Melbourne | C12

The East Melbourne Synagogue is the oldest continuously functioning synagogue in Victoria, playing a vital part in the life of Melbourne Jewry for over 150 years and hosting many weddings, bar mitzvahs and other celebrations. In 1857, the East Melbourne Hebrew Congregation was established after separating from the Melbourne Hebrew Congregation. A grant of land was obtained on the corner of Little Lonsdale Street and Stephen (now Exhibition) Street. A building, which incorporated a synagogue and school, was erected on this site. As membership grew, this small building became inadequate. In 1873, land for the existing synagogue at 488 Albert Street, East Melbourne, was purchased for £2261. The foundation stone was laid in March 1877 and the synagogue was opened in September of that year in the presence of communal leaders of all denominations. The East Melbourne Synagogue is architecturally significant for being representative of the fine work of noted Melbourne architects, Crouch and Wilson. It is also significant for its conventional but imposing Renaissance Revival façade with the unusual addition of the two octagonal domes flanking the central pediment, the survival of an intact bema and tabernacle, and the unusual arrangement of impost blocks over the cast iron columns of the gallery.

Need to Know

  • Open: Sun 10am-4pm

  • Heritage Listed: Yes

  • What's Open: Entry hall, sanctuary, mezzanine: women's seating area and library

  • Special Programming: Rabbi and synagogue members will answer questions about the building and relevance to Judaism.

  • Building Type: Place of Worship

  • Facilities: Toilets

  • Access: Pram accessible, Limited mobility

  • Year Built: 1877

  • Transport: Stop 10: Spring St/Albert St on routes 35, 86 and 96.

  • Tour Type: Self-guided

Location

488 Albert St, East Melbourne 3002, VIC

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