History of the Shepparton Jewish Settlers, 1913-1966.
In l913 eight Jewish immigrant families settled in the township of Shepparton. These families contributed to the early fruit growing industry in the Goulburn Valley district of Victoria
They purchased a five acre block on the corner of Doyles Lane and Poplar Avenue in Orrvale. Shepparton. A small house, bought from the Stagg family was converted into a Synagogue. Some years later the Jewish Communal Hostel was erected beside the Synagogue.
In the late 1930’s and after World War 2 more families joined the original Jewish settlers. Eventually about sixty Jewish families lived in and around Shepparton. Sabbath prayers were held on Friday night and Saturday morning and the Synagogue filled with worshippers for the High Holy days.
Young boys’ Bar-mitzahs and weddings were celebrated in the Synagogue and social events were held in the large hostel. However some settlers who came to Shepparton to escape the ravages war found it difficult to adjust to the hard work on an orchard. After several years, these families began to leave Shepparton. Most went to Melbourne.
By 1966 here was no congregation and the Synagogue collapsed into disrepair. Eventually the dilapidated structure was demolished and the land sold. An orchard now grows on that corner.
The Jewish Shule in disrepair, near Poplar Avenue, Orrvale
Of the earliest settlers none remain. Those who worshipped in that tiny Synagogue are second and third generations of their original Shepparton families. After l966, the generations following them never worshipped in that synagogue.
In the year 2015, there is no plaque nor sign to commemorate the Synagogue or that Jewish families lived in the Shepparton area.
This Synagogue’s existence and its congregation is an important part of Australian-Jewish history. There will be a commemoration of these early settlers by erecting a monument near its original site, and a plan to have a permanent exhibition in the Shepparton Heritage Museum.
All plans or the monument have been approved and passed by the Greater City of Shepparton Council. The marker has been put in place, and the unveiling and commemoration will take place on Sunday 15 November 2015, at 2PM, at the corner of Doyles Road and Poplar Ave. Many thanks to Elsie Brady for her efforts in this regard, and to the Council Diversity staff, and Councillors of the City of Greater Shepparton for their assistance and guidance.
Historical Marker at the site of the Shepparton Synagogue - to be unveiled...
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