Our Past | How our heritage-listed Jewish Cemetery came about

This was the beginning of the Maitland Jewish Cemetery located off Louth Park Road in south Maitland.

Now a NSW State Heritage listed site, the first recorded burials there were in 1849.

With the exception of a 2010 burial, all others occurred there between 1849 and 1934.

There is a total of 56 recorded burials.

The cemetery is a marker of the significant role Maitland’s early Jewish community played in establishing colonial Maitland as the centre for trade and commerce north of Sydney.

Here you can find monuments to people and families associated with the thriving enterprises of David Cohen and Company (based in what is now the Centrelink building in High Street), Joseph Marks’ Commerce House (317 High Street) and the Hart family’s businesses (Hart’s Building, 418 High Street).

The cemetery is also a marker of the diversity of the Jewish community in the region at the time.

People buried there were born in England, Poland, Germany, Hungary, Russia and Australia.

There are convicts and the descendants of convicts; tradespeople and labourers; wealthy and poor.

The Hebrew inscriptions on most of the gravestones and the occasional Jewish symbols indicate the importance of maintaining Jewish traditions in an Australian frontier town.

These connect to the local synagogue (now Chromis on the corner of Church Street and Ken Tubman Drive) that supported the community from 1879 to 1898.

The site echoes with patterns familiar to the challenges of colonial life.

Read the article in the Maitland Mercury.