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Although the Jewish community was primarily Ashkenazi, some Sephardi Jews also immigrated to Australia, and the community thrived during the mid-to-late 19th century.For some twenty years, there was a Sephardic congregation, and some Sephardi families occupied important communal positions.Rabbi John Simon Levi, co-author of Australian Genesis: Jewish Convicts and Settlers, 1788-1850 (1974), has authored the magisterial biographical directory These Are The Names: Jewish Lives in Australia, 1788-1860 (2013).The Australian Jewish Historical Society Journal (started 1939) appears twice a year, published in Sydney and Melbourne respectively.The average age of the Jewish convicts was 25, but ranged as young as 8 to some elderly people.At first, the Church of England was the established religion in the colony, and during the early years of transportation all convicts were required to attend Anglican services on Sundays. Similarly, education in the new settlement was Anglican church-controlled until the 1840s. William Cowper allotted land for the establishment of a Jewish cemetery in the right-hand corner of the then-Christian cemetery.There are also a number of published monographs on aspects of Australian Jewish history, for a guide to which (as well as to Australian Jewish literature) Serge Liberman, A Bibliography of Australasian Judaica, 1788-2008 (2011) is a distinguished reference work.
Over a thousand more people of Jewish descent are estimated to have been sent to Australia as convicts during the next 60 years.The Jewish section was created to enable the burial of one Joel Joseph. Cohen having offered the use of his house for the purpose, divine worship was performed for the first time in the colony according to the Hebrew form, and was continued regularly every Sabbath and holiday. In this condition everything in connection with their religion remained until the arrival of Rev. He had been a dayyan, and, duly accredited, he succeeded in instilling into the minds of the congregation a taste for the religion of their fathers.