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The Great Synagogue

Museums, History Sydney Free
The Great Synagogue

Sydney’s Jewish history dates back to convict times – there were around 16 Jews in the First Fleet – and the Great Synagogue, consecrated in 1878, is deemed the mother congregation of the Australian Jewry.

Designed by Thomas Rowe, the building is a lavish confection of French Gothic with large amounts of Byzantine thrown in. The superb front wheel window, facing on to Hyde Park, repeats the design of the wrought-iron gates outside, while inside the cast-iron columns holding up the balcony where the women sit are capped with intricate plaster designs. The ceiling, deep blue with gold-leaf stars, depicts the Creation.

Tours are held once or twice a week on Tuesdays and/or Thursdays ($5-$10, entry from the main gate on Elizabeth St). A small museum is also open (when there is an exhibition) after tours.


Venue name: The Great Synagogue
Address: 166 Castlereagh St, between Park & Market Sts
Opening hours: Open services; Fri 5.45pm (Winter), 6.15pm (Summer); Sat 8.45am; Tours; 12 noon Tue & Thu (except on Jewish Festivals)
Transport: Nearby stations: St James, Town Hall
Static map showing venue location