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Melbourne Synagogue

City of Melbourne | C29

The Melbourne Hebrew Congregation was established in 1841. It was originally located on Bourke Street before the new Melbourne Synagogue in South Yarra was completed in 1930. The early years saw numerous activities around the congregation, including a flourishing youth group, enthusiastic ladies’ auxiliary and a large religious school. By 1946, the congregation had a full membership for the first time after Australia welcomed to its shores some 15,000 European Jewish migrants. Until this period the congregation largely comprised families of the English migrants of the 1851-55 gold rush era. The splendid, ornate building in twentieth century Baroque classicism style is often referred to as the ‘Cathedral Synagogue’ of Melbourne. It features a conservative Palladian design with a Corinthian portico, copper-clad dome and a notably featureless pediment. Built in 1928-30 to the design of Nahum Barnet, the site is in excellent condition, with a richly designed interior in traditional form that includes a women’s gallery and an auditorium that seats 1,300 people. The stained glass windows, designed by Rimona Kedem under the guidance of noted architect, Dr Ernest Fooks, dates back to the 1970s.

Need to Know

  • Open: Thursday 1 January 10am-4pm

  • Photography Restricted: Yes

  • What's Open: Major and Minor Sanctuary

  • Special Note: No photography of the internal entry and exit doors

  • Tour Type: C29

  • Tour Details: Tours at 10:30am, running for 10minutes, in groups of 15

  • Access: Pram accessible, Limited mobility

  • Building Type: Place of Worship

  • Facilities: Toilets

  • Year Built: 1930

  • Transport: Tram stop 22: Toorak Rd/St Kilda Rd on routes 3/3a, 5, 6, 8, 16, 64, 67 and 72

  • Photo Credit: Stephen Reynolds


Corner Toorak Rd & Arnold St South Yarra 3141, VIC


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