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Ballarat’s Jewish Heritage


Thursday May 23, 2024


Eureka Centre Auditorium


Free. Bookings required via Eventbrite


T: 03 5333 0333


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‘Ballarat’s Jewish Heritage’ is a conversation between writer and filmmaker John Safran and historian Dr Sue Silberberg. The conversation will draw on Sue’s deep family ties to Ballarat to explore the Jewish influence on our city’s social, political, and religious landscape in the nineteenth century. 

During the Victorian gold rush of the 1850s, many Jewish migrants settled in Ballarat, establishing what is now the oldest surviving synagogue in mainland Australia. Other than mining, these new settlers established themselves in the community as shopkeepers, dressmakers and tradespeople. Many rose to positions of influence, serving as Mayors and Members of Parliament, and founding key public institutions. Jewish activists were involved in the events surrounding the Eureka Stockade. 

A Ballarat Heritage Festival event presented by the Eureka Centre.

John Safran
is a writer and filmmaker whose storytelling has delivered a long list of iconic moments, as well as journalists scoops. His documentary films have received accolades from the Australian Film Institute and Rose d’Or Festival. His debut book, ‘Murder in Mississippi’ won the Ned Kelly Award and ‘Depends What You Mean by Extremist’ was shortlisted for the Australian Book Industry Awards. He is currently working on his fourth book for Penguin Random House, to be released 2024.

Dr Sue Silberberg’s great-great-grandfather Hyman Levinson arrived in Ballarat in 1854. He and his brother-in-law Emanual Steinfeld were part of the group that founded the Ballarat Synagogue. Along with her deep family ties to Ballarat, Dr Silberberg is a noted historian and the author of ‘A Networked Community, Jewish Melbourne in the Nineteenth Century,’ which was also shortlisted in the Victoria Community History Awards in 2020.

A Ballarat Heritage Festival event presented by the Eureka Centre.

Image: ‘Augusta Levinson and nine children (with a maid) outside their house in Ballarat’, c 1875-1876. Photo courtesy of Dr Sue Silberberg. 

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