Who Were The First Jews In Australia?

The following was posted to Facebook by Chabad of Rural & Regional Australia, bringing to light the first Jewish presence in Australia.

At a visit to Seaworks in Williamstown VIC today, we came across an interesting (and timely) exhibit.

Amongst the many maritime and ship displays, there is a list of passengers that were aboard the 11 ships that made up the First Fleet, which began arriving in late January of 1788.

Giving the list a closer look, one can see that Esther Abrahams, as well as her daughter Rosanna are listed as convicts aboard the Lady Penrhyn.

Historians have understood that approximately 15 or so Jewish people were amongst the people that arrived on the First Fleet. Esther and her daughter were the first Jewish women to arrive in Australia.
Esther’s life has been well documented, and a pavilion named to her memory stands today in Sydney at the Bicentennial Park.

Today, Jewish people number an estimated 150,000 around the country. From those small beginnings over 200 years ago, we are now found in the cities, the regional places, and everything in between.
And here at RARA, we are connecting with those living further away, one story at a time.

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