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Brisbane, Australia

BRISBANE, capital of Queensland, Australia. The first community was organized there in 1865, and its synagogue, Sha'arei Emunah (now the main synagogue), was consecrated in 1886. There were then 446 Jews in Brisbane out of 724 for the whole of Queensland. The small South Brisbane Congregation, consisting principally of Russian immigrants, was founded in 1928. Another synagogue was opened at Surfers' Paradise, a holiday resort, in 1961. Although religious observance is not strong, all three synagogues are Orthodox. The small congregation in Toowoomba (100 mi. (160 km.) from Brisbane) is now extinct. The main synagogue, to which a hall, classrooms, and a mikveh are attached, is the center for social and cultural activities. There is a strong Zionist movement; the overall Zionist body, the State Council, is affiliated with the Zionist Federation of Australia. Relatively few immigrants settled in Brisbane after World War II, and the growth of the community has been slow. In 1966 Brisbane Jewry numbered approximately 1,400; another 400 lived in Surfers' Paradise and other country towns. In 1911 Australian-born Jews represented 64% of the Jewish population in Queensland; Jews from the United Kingdom 16.9%; and from Europe 16.7%. The figures for 1961 were: 53.1%; 11%; and 27.4%. In the late 20th century Jewish numbers in Queensland expanded considerably, although chiefly as a result of migration to the Gold Coast, a resort area south of Brisbane, rather than to Brisbane itself. Indeed, Brisbane's Jewish population apparently declined after the mid-1990s. According to the 2001 Australian census, there were 1,667 declared Jews by religion in Brisbane, 39.0% of Queensland's total of 4,271 Jews. In 2004 Brisbane had an Orthodox and Liberal synagogue.


Bolot, in: Journal of the Australian Jewish Historical Society, 1 (1949), 114–6; C.A. Price, Jewish Settlers in Australia (1964), 34–35. ADD. BIBLIOGRAPHY: H.L. Rubinstein, Australia I, index; W.D. Rubinstein, Australia II, index; JYB, 2004.

[Israel Porush]

Source: Encyclopaedia Judaica. © 2008 The Gale Group. All Rights Reserved.