Sign In Forgot Password


Australian Jewish Historical Society (ACT)

  The Australian Jewish Historical Society (ACT), meets throughout the year for lectures, talks and excursions related to various areas of local, national and international Jewish historical interest. Our members learn about Jewish history and have the opportunity to contribute to that knowledge.

We look forward to welcoming you and your friends to another year of thought-provoking events. Each year MEMBERS will receive two issues of the AJHS Journal, the quarterly Newsletter, and voting rights at our ACT Annual General Meeting.

An added benefit for MEMBERS is access to all member-only areas of which include past issues of the Society’s Journal and special publications, databases, personal papers, photographs, military records, newspapers and ephemera dating back to the First Fleet in 1788. Once the annual subscription has been received by the Treasurer, a unique login will be issued to the member.

NOTE: A generous aspect of membership to AJHS(ACT) members is that the $35 subscription includes all members of one family unit. This entitles the family to one issue only each time the journal is published (twice each year).



We hope you will consider becoming an AJHS member this year and support the ACT Branch of the AJHS. Please click on the image of our brochure below to complete the membership form contained within. Or telephone ACTJC the office for more information (02 6295 1052).

Methods of payment

1. Electronic funds transfer OR payment at bank Payee:
AJHS-ACT, St George Bank, BSB no: 112-908, account no: 140-555-462 Please put your surname as the reference and email the ACTJC office who will forward your email to the Hon Treasurer of the AJHS to confirm that you have paid. Email:
2. Cheque/cash payment to office staff at ACT Jewish Community Centre. Please complete the membership form inside our brochure (available at the Centre) with enclosed payment. Office staff will forward to the Treasurer.
To apply for membership, please complete the online below or CLICK HERE to download our brochure, complete it and then email to the ACTJC office.

AJHS Membership Form

Welcome to the Australian Jewish Historical Society (ACT).

To join the Society, please complete the following:
  • Complete the form below to submit an application for membership.
  • Complete your payment as the bank details set out below detailed at the very end.
  • Send an email to the AJHS via
Thank you for your submission.

In order to complete your application, please pay your $35 membership fee into the AJHS bank account as below:
Account Name: AJHS-ACT
BSB: 112908
A/C: 140 555 462
Reference: Your surname.

2021 Past Events & Speakers

February -

Earle Hoffman Memorial Lecture in Australian History

Delivered by Dr Brian Wimborne
Brian's lecture, Jewish Settlements: Dreams and Realities, described the plans to settle Jews escaping from the Holocaust to Australia and other locations around the world, most of which were no more than unfulfilled hopes.  These dreams did not end until the re-establishment of Israel.
To view the video of Brian's presentation:

March –

The 'White City' – Modernism in 1930s Tel Aviv

Presented by Michael Hauptman
Michael gave an illustrated talk, discussing the socio-political influences on the architecture on 1930s Tel Aviv inspired by the Bauhaus and Le Corbusier, and some key aspects of its distinctive local interpretation.   The collection of over 4,000 buildings is listed by UNESCO as perhaps the largest well-preserved grouping of 1930s International Style buildings.

July –

Jewish Heritage from the Middle East & North Africa

Presented by Ronit Gabriel
In a co-sponsored event with the ACT Zionist Council, Ronit, former Cultural Attache at the Israeli Embassy, spoke on the rich Jewish heritage from the Middle East and North Africa dating back 2,500 years, in part based on her own family history.

2020 Past Events & Speakers

February -

Earle Hoffman Memorial Lecture in Australian History

Delivered by Michael Komesaroff
As outlined in his book 'Reds Under the Bed', Michael discussed the records which were kept on his family by ASIO, which was unable to differentiate between dissent and disloyalty. As well as describing why ASIO was interested in the Jewish organization it had under surveillance, he also discussed why early last century Jews were attracted to the Left, and why and when this was no longer so.

                February -               Last Post Ceremony for Private Maurice Lewis Aarons

As no family members were in attendance, wreathes were laid by ACTJC President Veronica Leydman and AJHS President Adele Rosalky at the Australian War Memorial in honour of Private Aarons who was KIA at Gallipoli in 1915. Private Aarons is listed on the Australian Jewish War Memorial at the National Jewish Memorial Centre, Forrest.

August -

People of the Book

Delivered by Rabbi Elhanan Miller, ACT Jewish Community
Rabbi Miller outlined his initiative People of the Book, which is a bid to educate Muslim and Arab audiences about Judaism.  What started as a series of cartoons dealing with religious issues has now grown into an active channel providing weekly lectures on ritual and faith, as well as interviews with Arabic speaking Jews and Israeli Arabs.  He continues to respond to questions and comments since taking up his position in Canberra.

November -

Dr Elena Govor, author of Russian Anzacs in Australian History and Falling Stars: The story of Anzacs from Ukraine 
Dr Govor, spoke about many of the 150 Jewish Russian soldiers who fought for Australia in the First World War.  Some were well-known, others invisible.  Telling their stories helps us understand our multifaceted history and to fight stereotypes associated with Jews. Read and view her talk here:

2019 Past Events & Speakers

February -

Earle Hoffman Memorial Lecture in Australian History

Delivered by Angus Trumble, recently retired Director, National Portrait Gallery of Australia.
Angus' lecture, The Rothschild Bank, the Montefiores and the Victorian Gold Rush, outlined the discovery and contents of documents and correspondence found in the basement of the London Rothschild Bank which connects the two families to every aspect of the gold rush in colonial Victoria.

March -

Records Continuity: Preserving Today's for Tomorrow's Community

Delivered by Sabrina Elias, Senior Archivist, AJHS.
Sabrina discussed the importance of retaining records in Jewish communities, illustrating her work with examples she has undertaken. Sabrina also delivered a valuable workshop for the benefit of AJHS(ACT) and others with material stored in the ACTJC archive.


August –

delivered by Alpha Cheng, son of Curtis Cheng who was gunned down by a teenager radicalized by ISIS ideology.

In his talk entitled 'Çarrying the Light', Alpha spoke about his training in Holocaust studies at Yad Vashem, his work with Courage to Care, his advocacy on discrimination and inclusiveness in Australia, and his hopes for the future.


September –

The Dead Still Cry Out delivered by Dr Helen Lewis.

Helen's illustrated talk was based on her award winning book about her father's experiences as a combat cameraman during WWII. Mike Lewis' records of the liberation of Bergen-Belsen and Nazi atrocities provide powerful evidence against Holocaust denial.

2018 Past Events & Speakers


February – Excursion to Old Linton and Yass Jewish Cemetery

Yass, NSW
Old Linton is the gracious colonial home built in 1857 by the ex-convict turned successful and respected businessman Moses Moses. The tour was led by the current owner Stephe Jitts. The group then visited the nearby Yass cemetery where Rabbi Shimon Eddi consecrated the small Jewish cemetery and recited memorial prayers over the graves. He also explained the history and significance of the consecration of land for Jewish burials.


February – Earle Hoffman Memorial Lecture in Australian History

Delivered by Dr Avril Alba, consulting lead curator for the Sydney Jewish Museum’s Holocaust exhibition
Avril spoke on the topic Transmitting the survivor’s Voice:  Redeveloping the Sydney Jewish Museum, which focused on the process of exhibition development, and connections to Australia and human rights.


August – Tell Your Story

Delivered by Leonie Webb (AJHS (ACT) Vice-President) and Dr Merrilyn Sernack
At a winter afternoon event two long standing members of the ACTJC each recounted illustrated stories of a member of their family. 
Leonie told the moving story of her aunt Elizabeth Friedman (1909-2001).  Elizabeth survived two brutal years in concentration camps, eventually arriving in Australia to live out a long and happy life. 
Merrilyn told the story of her father Sidney Sernack (1918-2016) who served as an army officer if WWII, and afterwards worked in the fashion industry in Sydney for the next five decades bringing the bikini and Mary Quant labels to Australia.


November – Lessons in Leadership – the life of Sir John Monash

Delivered by Mr Rolfe Hartley, former President of Engineers Australia and volunteer guide at the Australian War Memorial
Coinciding with the week of the centennial Remembrance Day, and following the centenary of the knighthood of General Sir John Monash, Rolfe presented a ‘warts and all’ discussion of Monash the engineer, the soldier, and the man…..a complex man, an outsider who had failures and human weaknesses but who is regarded by most historians as the greatest general of WWI and an extraordinary Australian.

2017 Past Events & Speakers


March - Earle Hoffman Memorial Lecture in Australian History

Delivered by Adele Rosalky, President AJHS(ACT)
Adele gave an illustrated talk entitled A Jewish cultural landscape in the Goulburn area which presented Goulburn’s prominence in Australian Jewish history, the 1861 census showing that Goulburn was the third largest Jewish community in Australia at the time outside of Sydney and Melbourne.  The talk focuses on the ‘Jewish synagogue’ located on the Lansdowne Park estate and the Jewish cemetery in Long St.


May – Combating antisemitism in the school playground: an Australian case study

Delivered by Dr Suzanne Rutland, Emerita Professor, Department of Hebrew, Biblical and Jewish Studies at The University of Sydney
Suzanne analysed the problem of anti-Semitic bullying in contemporary Australian state schools through interviews conducted in Sydney, Melbourne and Canberra.



July – Jewish and Israeli identities in contemporary Israel

Delivered by Dr Michael Abrahams-Sprod, Roth Lecturer from the Department of Hebrew, Biblical and Jewish Studies at The University of Sydney
Michael charted the complex evolution of a uniquely Israeli identity, exploring issues of religious observance, role of the IDF, secular-religious divide, relations between Israeli and diaspora Jews, the absorption process of new immigrants, and other issues and challenges.


December – Last Post ceremony for Sergeant Morris Solomon 

Australian War Memorial
ACT branch member Judith Eisner and members of her family laid wreaths beside the Pool of Reflection in a Last Post ceremony at the Australian War Memorial in honour of her uncle, Sergeant Morris Solomon, who died in a flying accident in 1942, aged 23 years.  Many members of the ACT Jewish Community and AJHS (ACT) attended this moving ceremony.
Thu, 28 October 2021 22 Cheshvan 5782