Communal Archives

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There are thousands of stories of our local Jewish history gathered over 80 years and now held by AJHS in over 40,000 records. Full details of all holdings are held in the AJHS Archives Management system. Here you can find information on long-gone synagogues, minutes of communal organisations, scrapbooks and personal papers of many of Australia's leading Zionists, authors, communal and religious leaders - a physical connection to recent history and to bygone days. All which give an intimate insight into the creation of the Jewish community.

In 2022, the complete holdings of the Archive of Australian Judaica dating back to 1971 were ingested into the AJHS archives.

The records of some organisations are restricted in whole or in part and are only available for inspection with prior approval.

The Archives holding of AJHS chronicles the Jewish experience in Australia since 1788. AJHS currently holds around 40,000 hardcopy/physical records; 100+ objects; 500+ audio and audio-visual records; 14,000+ photographs and 100+ plans.

This database is a searchable listing of our archives which includes Australian Jewish organisations as well as personal papers from Jewish figures whose contribution cut across many sectors of the Australian community.

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Personal Papers

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This collection of Personal papers relates to the individual's roles and contributions within the Jewish community; representation in various Committees within the Australian Jewish community, as well as to an individual's private affairs, such as outside business pursuits, professional affiliations, or private associations that do not relate to a specific organisation.

Examples of personal papers include diaries, journals, personal correspondence, photographs, invitations, letters or other personal notes, calendars, or schedules that are not prepared or used for, or circulated or communicated during transacting an organisation's business and various ephemera.

Among these papers created, retained by the owner, and donated by the owner and/or family members to AJHS are donations by the Caplan and Rosenberg families, Max Joseph, Sam Karpin and Aaron Aaron to name a few. The Personal Papers Collection comprises subcollections of the individuals and there is an expanded description of each individual.

Organisational Collections

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This collection contains archives with intrinsic, and/or primary value relating to a specific communal organisation. These include archives of varying formats such as physical/digital/electronic documents, publications; digitised videos and audio; physical/digital photographs etc. retained by a communal organisation over the years.

Also included are the archives of defunct organisations.

The majority of the records acquired are in themselves original and are primary sources for any research purpose.

AJHS Collections

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This is mainly a collation of correspondence and ephemera over the years from various communal organisations, individuals, and defunct organisations. The records are original and the only copy, so they are primary sources for research purposes.

There are three distinct and historical sub-collections whose items are regarded as the 'heart of the archival collection'. They include:

  • Ephemera
  • AB Box
  • Vertical Files

Audio Collections

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This collection comprises audio cassettes and reels from various organisations that have been digitised as well as audio files that were in their original digital format.

Photograph Collection

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This collection comprises physical, negatives and digital images belonging to various communal organisations including JCA and AJN. It also includes the digitised negatives of communal photographers including George Denes.

Various Publications

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This collection contains mixed publications of various Jewish organisations including newsletters; reviews; bulletins; annual reports; official reports, magazines, and journals; bound conference and convention reports; yearbooks; diaries etc. Also contains bound journals of Jewish newspapers

Small Individual Donations

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This collection relates to one-off individual donations of records created, gathered, and retained by an individual in the capacity of his/her role/function within a communal organisation, usually at a high-level position such as a President; founding member or an elected member of a committee and used exclusively during the transaction of an organisation's business.

These records often fill the gaps of records provided by the communal organisation itself and capture the beginnings, formation of an organisation that would have otherwise gone missing and often may be the only records in existence. This is particularly important for defunct organisations.

Most records donated are hybrid i.e., hardcopy/electronic correspondence; photographs; ephemera such as newspaper cuttings, scrapbooks, and even small physical objects such as stamps, medals etc.

Contact Information

We welcome enquiries from researchers, academia, and members of the public and where possible will make records available for inspection at the AJHS office by appointment. Please request access to specific records by following these steps.

You can also read an overview on how the AJHS archives are organised.

Sample Archives
Internship placement program

Since 2022, AJHS has partnered with several universities both nationally and internationally to provide internship placement programs for those studying within the Masters of Information Studies, Museum and Heritage Studies and History and Archaeology and Honours in Arts & Humanities. University placements include The University of Sydney, Macquarie University, Australian Catholic University, Charles Sturt University and Boston University. Many of our interns have pursued careers within the Archives profession as a result.

Please contact the Head Archivist, should you require more details on our programme.

Click here to listen to some of our interns and to read their articles on our collections.