On Tuesday 16th April members of the Brisbane Hebrew Congregation joined State Library staff to witness the formal handover of two of the earliest documents relating to the Jewish community of Brisbane. This highly significant collection comprises a marriage register for the period 1868 to 1946 and the Synagogue Building Committee Minute Book, 1884-1886. The minute book documents the fund raising efforts and construction of the Brisbane Synagogue in Margaret Street which was consecrated on the 18th July 1886. These items are possibly the earliest surviving documentary record of the Jewish community in Queensland.
Over 30 members of the Brisbane Hebrew Congregation, including Rabbi Levi Jaffe, attended the event. Also in attendance was Ms Courtney Talbot, Vice President of the Queensland Library Foundation.
Gavin Bannerman, Director of Queensland Memory, welcomed guests to the function, before Vicki McDonald, State Librarian and CEO, thanked the congregation for their generous donation and spoke of the significance of the items and the important contribution of the Jewish community to the development of Queensland.
Dr Michael Briner, Heritage Officer of the Brisbane Synagogue, spoke of the contents of the marriage register and the minute book before thanking the many State Library staff who had been involved in the conservation and digitization of the material. Dr Briner was instrumental in facilitating the donation and is currently carrying out intensive research into the contents of the two items.
During the formal handover Rabbi Jaffe and Dr Briner presented the items to State Librarian, Vicki McDonald, on behalf of the Brisbane Hebrew Congregation.
After Rabbi Jaffe had blessed the food, a delicious Kosher afternoon tea was enjoyed by all.
A small display of collection items relating to the Brisbane Synagogue was on display, including two magnificent illuminated addresses which were presented to the President of the Brisbane Hebrew Congregation, Adolphus M. Hertzberg, in 1896 and 1917. in addition beautiful replica copies of the marriage register and minute book, created by State Library staff, were also available for viewing. These replicas were created for display purposes at the Synagogue.
The Brisbane Synagogue Marriage Register and Minute Book, Accession 31536, will soon be available online.
Digitisation of the Marriage Register was made possible through generous donations to the Queensland Library Foundation, the fund-raising arm of State Library.
Lynn Meyers, Specialist Librarian, Queensland Memory