The Archive of Australian Judaica at the University of Sydney Library

The Archive of Australian Judaica has been operating since July 4, 1983 within Rare Books and Special Collections at Fisher Library.

What does it contain?

Archives, partial or complete, of the major Jewish community organisations, some of which are now defunct, and papers of Jewish individuals relating to their activities within the Australian Jewish context. There are 500 shelf metres of material, collected and processed over the thirty years of the Archive's existence.

  • Photographs of individuals in their roles as members of community organisations or in meetings of historic community import. Photographs of places of community interest, such as synagogues and personalities, or notable events.

  • Tapes, including programmes of the Jewish Radio Hour from its inception in 1978, seminars of the Australian Association of Jewish Studies, all the reels of 'You don't have to be Jewish', and some oral histories.

  • Videos, DVDs and CDs are collected by the Archive and include an interview with Helena Mann, a Holocaust survivor, and a video of the art exhibition of the Jewish Arts and Culture Council in 1989.

  • Books and Periodicals: Early in the existence of the Archive, a decision was taken that books acquired by the Archive would be housed with the regular research collections of the library and would be catalogued in the usual way. However, in situations where there is no parallel subject holding in the library, e.g. printings of the Yiddish press in Australia, the books and periodicals remain in the Archive.

  • Theses: Researchers using the collection are encouraged to deposit their earlier theses in the Archive, also pledging a copy of any work based on archival papers consulted in the Archive.

  • Subject files: Newspaper clippings and manuscript materials. Files are kept on such topics as Jewish education, immigration, the Freeland League, Australian Jewish communities and organisations, and on Australian Jewish individuals. Some files and photos were acquired from the Australian Jewish News offices when they moved their office to Surry Hills. Extensive subject files from 1940s to 1970s as were collected by the New South Jewish Board of Deputies, sent to Newcastle University Library but now held in the Archive.

  • Ephemera: These documents have a unique importance for social history and related disciplines. Only significant ephemera are collected where the material was thought to providecontext to historical events. The Archive's ephemera is boxed alphabetically under organisation.

Some of the records and minutes deposited in the Archive are of a semi-confidential nature. A few depositing organisations have asked for the semi-confidential records to be placed on restricted access and thus there is not a detailed listing of their archives on the webpage. To keep faith with donors and depositors, researchers seeking to use restricted access papers are required to bring a signed authority from the organisation concerned. Today, emails are acceptable for the permission to use restricted material.

Archive Founders


The founders of the Archive in 1986.

(L to R) Dr Neil Radford, (former University Librarian[1980-1996, Dr Jennifer Alison (Acquisitions Librarian), Dr Marianne Dacy (Archivist), Prof Alan Crown (Former Head of Semitic Studies and Emeritus Professor in Hebrew, Jewish and Biblical Studies).


University of Sydney Library

John Shipp in 2010.

John Shipp replaced Neil Radford who retired at the end of 1996.

Archive Founders

Professor Alan Crown

Alan Crown, former head of the Semitic Studies Department and Professor Emeritus in the Department of Hebrew, Biblical and Jewish Studies continued as Project Director till his death on November 2nd, 2010. May his memory be blessing!

In May 2005, Professor Alan Crown appointed a third Archive director, Professor Alan Crown's successor in the Department, Professor Suzanne Rutland, who uses the Archive as a resource herself and encourages her students to benefit from the Archive for assigments and theses on Australian Jewish historical subjects. Professor Rutland is now the Archive director.

Archive Directors

Professor Suzanne Rutland with Dr Marianne Dacy, founding archivist of Archive of Australian Judaica.