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Book Notes: Hebrew, Israelite, Jew - The History of the Jews of Western Australia, David Mossenson

Edgar Samuel

<plain_text><page sequence="1">Book Notes Hebrew, Israelite, Jew - The History of the Jews of Western Australia, David Mossenson, assisted by Louise Hoffman (University of Western Aus? tralian Press, 1990) ISBN 0-85564-314-3. 295 pp. I had not realized that the Swan River Colony continued as a penal settlement until 1868, long after New South Wales, or that the Jews transported there are not included in Rabbi John Levi's biographical dictionary of Australian Jewish convicts. This book makes up for that fault by giving details of the twenty-seven Jewish convicts who were transported there. Needless to say the present com? munity is not descended from them, but from free settlers, attracted there by the gold of Kalgoorlie and the opportunities for peace and prosperity in Western Australia. Religion is included in the Australian census return, which enables the authors to break down not only the occupation-structure of the community, but also its members' per-capita income - remarkable examples of tiresome and unnecessary bureaucratic intrusion by the State. The histories of the synagogues and communal institutions are told, as is that of their remarkably widely respected minister and army chaplain Rabbi Freedman. This is an excellent, thorough and readable local history. Edgar Samuel</page></plain_text>