The Archives of the Australian Jewish Historical Society Victoria
Overview of the Archive/Libraries of the Australian Jewish Historical Society
The Archives of the Australian Jewish Historical Society Victoria

Following the establishment of the Australian Jewish Historical Society (AJHS) in Sydney on the August 21st, 1938, our Journal was established almost immediately, in 1939. The Journal, initially known as the Australian Jewish Historical Society, Journal and Proceedings, was later renamed the Australian Jewish Historical Society Journal, which is abbreviated to AJHSJ. This Journal is the archival journal for Australian Jewish History.

In the late 1950s, Dr. George Bergman together with Mr A. Robb, established the Society’s library with duplicate books from the Falk Library at the Great Synagogue. The library now comprises some 600 volumes. Dr. Bergman also established the archival collection by adding to the material already collected by S.B. Glass and David Benjamin. He regularly clipped relevant articles from newspapers for filing and retained newsletters from communal organizations as well as programmes from functions. His two filing cabinets of material have become five housing 2000 files as well as shelving holding 300 archive boxes

The AJHS (Vic) was established in Melbourne in 1949 and for some years functioned as a branch of the Sydney-based society, before its incorporation as Australian Jewish Historical Society Victoria Inc [Vic]. From its earliest days, the AJHS (Vic) established a library and archives, and initiated major efforts to obtain, restore, and safeguard Australalasian Jewish records, whether in paper or more modern formats. The most striking instance of the restoration of records was that of the working bee, lead by Beverley Davis, that recovered and made safe the water and mould-damaged records of the Melbourne Hebrew Congregation, dating from 1841.

To promote access and at the same time preserve valuable records, the records should be copied onto microfilm. In fact in the early 1980's various congregational record books were missing, and were only located after extensive searches. Complete runs of several early Jewish newspapers did not then exist. In a major collaborative effort, lead by Beverley Davis, of the AJHS (Vic), with involvement of several major Australian libraries, almost all such records were microfilmed in the period before 1987. In addition, AJHS Inc [NSW] extended the microfilmed records of the Great Synagogue almost to the present day.

Webmaster's Note: Content lists for various portions of the library and archives of the AJHS Inc [NSW] may be viewed by clicking on the link (to the left) "Contents & Holdings, NSW Archive/Library" The documents listed there are in PDF format, requiring the (free) Adobe Reader which can be downloaded.
Access to the portion of the AJHS (Vic) Archives/Library now held on long-term loan at the State Library of Victoria (SLV) may be negotiated through an approach to the SLV. Note that due to privacy and confidentiality issues, such access is necessarily restricted.