The synagogue in Broken Hill was the first synagogue built outside the Sydney Metropolitan area, and one of three in regional New South Wales, the other two being in Maitland and Newcastle.
A vibrant and successful Jewish community existed in Broken Hill for three generations between 1880's to 1960's, with majority having their origins in Central and Eastern Europe. However due to the drift of the Jewish population, the synagogue fell into disuse and stopped functioning in 1962.
In 1990 the building was classified as heritage and purchased by the local Historical Society. The Society restored the synagogue back to its original state and now operates as the historical Synagogue of the Outback Museum (S.O.T.O.M.).
The synagogue primarily functions as a museum and houses a large collection of Judaica, photographs and artifacts. The many different exhibits gives visitors a feel of what Jewish life was like in this particular area of Broken Hill.
History of the Synagogue
- 30th December 1890
- Benjamin Smith, a miner was the first person to purchase the site in Wolfram Street.
- 17th February 1900
- Frederick Inman, a produce merchant was the second person to occupy the land.
- September 1900
- Following the celebration of the Jewish new year, the Jewish community in Broken Hill (estimate of 150) held a meeting at Tait's Masonic Hotel in Beryl Street to establish a Synagogue in Broken Hill, where religious worship could take place.
- 1st July 1907
- Three Jewish business men, Abraham Rosenburg, Samuel Dryen and Albert Edelmann purchased the land.
- 17th October 1910
- The Synagogue building operations commenced.
- 30th November 1910
- The foundation stone was laid.
- 26th February 1911
- The Synagogue is consecrated 'Beth Yisrael' - the House of Israel, by Rabbi F. L. Cohen.
- 18th December 1911
- Samuel Dryen purchases the building.
- 16th June 1991
- Declared opened as Headquarters for the Broken Hill Historical Society by the then Senior Vice President and Restoration Chairman, Wally Bradshaw.