The Archive of Australian Judaica at the University of Sydney LIBRARY
The Archive of Australian Judaica has been functioning since July 4, 1983, as a Special Collection within the Rare Books section of the Fisher Library.
What does it contain?
Records, 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..
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; but now much of this material is available 'online', and includes resources on 'Facebook' and 'Utub'e.
Books and Periodicals: Early in the existence of the Archive, a decision was taken that books and periodicals 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. Now journals are digitalilsed and many recorded on webpages. Keeping a record of their existence is important for documentation in this digital age.
Theses: Researchers using the collection were encouraged to deposit their earlier theses in the Archive, also pledging a copy of any work based on archival papers consulted in the Archive. Now most theses are 'online' and can be searched through the Australian University Digital Theses Network.
Subject files: These are basically drawn from newspaper and manuscript materials, and include clippings from journals and photocopies of articles. Files are kept on such topics as Jewish education, immigration, the Freeland League, Australian Jewish communities and organisations, and on Australian Jewish individuals, and are continually being updated. Some files were acquired from the Jewish News offices when they moved their office to Surry Hills.
Ephemera: These documents have a unique importance for social history and related disciplines. Though ephemeral material was generally discarded in the past and most libraries son'rt keep it, this material often provides background material to historical events, and alphabaetically under organisation now exists in the Archive. Only significant ephemea are collected, especially today when desktop publising means there is much more ephemeral amterial than previously.
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 thewebpage. 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,fax and email are acceptable for the permission to use restricted material.
The Library is host to the Archive, integrating it into the routine framework of library activities while retaining its own identity, and receiving financial support from a non-library source, the Mandelbaum Trust. Running expenses are supplied from donations from 'Friends of the Archive' and occasional 'one off' donations. Currently the Archive functions within the framework of the Rare Book Library.
The original Archive founders in the
Archive in 1986 (in front of the indexed newspaper file boxes and the journals in Room 237).
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).
Dr Neil Radford with a Book of Hours from the Rare Books Collection
John Shipp replaced Neil Radford who retired at the end of 1996. John Shipp retired on 21/10/2011 and his successor Ms Anne Bell began work at the University of Sydney Library at the end of February 2012.
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. He had not been in good health for some time.
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.