NSW Jewish War Memorial and Museum including buildings and interiors, and Menorah | NSW Environment & Heritage

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NSW Jewish War Memorial and Museum including buildings and interiors, and Menorah

Item details

Name of item: NSW Jewish War Memorial and Museum including buildings and interiors, and Menorah
Type of item: Built
Group/Collection: Community Facilities
Category: Art Gallery/ Museum
Primary address: 140-146 Darlinghurst Road, Darlinghurst, NSW 2010
Local govt. area: Sydney
All addresses
Street AddressSuburb/townLGAParishCountyType
140-146 Darlinghurst RoadDarlinghurstSydney  Primary Address
140-148 Darlinghurst RoadDarlinghurstSydney  Alternate Address

Statement of significance:

The NSW Jewish War Memorial, Museum and Community Centre, now comprising three buildings, is historically significant as a cultural centre for Australian Jewry since 1923 and incorporates the Sydney Jewish Museum, a historical museum covering Australian Jewish History and the Holocaust. As such it is held in high esteem by the Jewish community particularly in New South Wales and has high social significance. The complex has associational significance related to the Architect of the 1960s building, Dr Henry Epstein, an émigré architect practicing with distinction during the 1960s and the sculptor Lyndon Dadswell, a 20th century Australian sculptor. The complex makes a substantial contribution to the streetscape, particularly the large scale sculptural façade of the 1960s building, and contributes to the character and expression of the diverse values of the Darlinghurst Conservation Area. The 1960s community centre building, a fine example in the Late Twentieth Century Brutalist style is rare in the local government area.
Date significance updated: 25 Jul 17
Note: There are incomplete details for a number of items listed in NSW. The Heritage Division intends to develop or upgrade statements of significance and other information for these items as resources become available.

Description

Designer/Maker: 1923 building - Gordon Keesing; 1966 building - Dr Henry Epstein
Builder/Maker: 1966 building - Kell and Rigby
Construction years: 1923-1966
Physical description: The site contains three inter-connected buildings, the oldest to the south being a three storey Inter-War Free Classical style building, then a three storey infill fronting c 1930s, and the more recent being a five level building erected in 1966.

The oldest building is a three storey hall that is on a corner site with no side or front setbacks. The building exterior appears to be in good condition and is characterized by terracotta tiles to a gable roof above a painted brick and face brick façade which features rendered detailing and appropriate timber double hung windows. The entry door is not original. The timber trusses at the upper level over the foyer and former library are original. The entrance foyer contains a war memorial. The interior has been adapted from an auditorium to a museum which involved the addition of a series of floors winding around a central space which forms a prism, shaped to the six pointed Star of David plan.

The slight later three storey brick infill building has been incorporated as part of the Museum.

The 1960s building is designed in the Post WW2 Brutalism style with a concrete facade which features a large concrete insitu sculpture by Lyndon Dadswell, a 20th century Australian modernist sculptor. The sculpture is an abstraction of the Menorah or the seven branched candelabra as described in the Torah. It is bold and dramatic. The building, designed by Dr R H Epstein, incorporates a wide spanning concrete slab with concealed tubular spacer-voids to form a deep flat plate structure, which is an early use of this method of forming in Post WW2 Sydney. The clear span so produced permits maximum flexibility in the planning and layout of the interior partitions. The interior has been subject to a number of changes over time.
Physical condition and/or
Archaeological potential:
Good
Date condition updated:30 Jan 06
Modifications and dates: Interiors have been modified over time
Further information: Heritage Inventory sheets are often not comprehensive, and should be regarded as a general guide only. Inventory sheets are based on information available, and often do not include the social history of sites and buildings. Inventory sheets are constantly updated by the City as further information becomes available. An inventory sheet with little information may simply indicate that there has been no building work done to the item recently: it does not mean that items are not significant. Further research is always recommended as part of preparation of development proposals for heritage items, and is necessary in preparation of Heritage Impact Assessments and Conservation Management Plans, so that the significance of heritage items can be fully assessed prior to submitting development applications.
Current use: Museum, offices, Jewish Community Centre.
Former use: Museum, offices, Jewish Community Cenrre

History

Historical notes: The "Eora people" was the name given to the coastal Aborigines around Sydney. Central Sydney is therefore often referred to as "Eora Country". Within the City of Sydney local government area, the traditional owners are the Cadigal and Wangal bands of the Eora.

With European occupation of the Sydney region from 1788, the Cadigal and Wangal people were largely decimated but there are descendants still living in Sydney today.

The Maccabean Institute known with affection as "The Macc", has always been a hubb of Jewish life. Sir John Monash, the Australian hero, performed the opening ceremony on Armistice Day 1923. The local Jewish newspaper, the Hebrew Standard, recorded: "long before the hour of opening, the magnificent hall and other rooms of the building were filled to overflowing but still they came and every ledge, every coign of advantage was taken possession of. It was a brilliant gathering..... the flower of Australian Jewry was present."

In 1965 the building was remodelled as the "NSW Jewish War Memorial Community Centre". Designed by Henry Epstein, the building was financed by public subscription. It was agreed that a living community centre would be the best way to commemorate those who served in the war. A time capsule, sealed behind the cornerstone in Burton Street and to be opened at the buildings’ centenary, contains, coins, newspapers and other memorabilia.

Historic themes

Australian theme (abbrev)New South Wales themeLocal theme
8. Culture-Developing cultural institutions and ways of life Religion-Activities associated with particular systems of faith and worship (none)-

Assessment of significance

SHR Criteria a)
[Historical significance]
Historically significant as a cultural centre for Australian NSW Jewry since 1923 and incorporates the Sydney Jewish Museum, a historical museum covering Australian Jewish History and the Holocaust..
SHR Criteria b)
[Associative significance]
The complex has associational significance related to the Architect of the 1960s building, Dr Henry Epstein, an émigré architect practicing with distinction during the 1960s and the sculptor Lyndon Dadswell, a 20th century Australian sculptor.
SHR Criteria c)
[Aesthetic significance]
The complex makes a substantial contribution to the streetscape, particularly the large scale sculptural façade of the 1960s building, and contributes to the character and expression of the diverse values of the Darlinghurst Conservation Area.
SHR Criteria d)
[Social significance]
The 1920s building was built as a result of public subscription has always been an important focus to the Jewish community. The complex is held in high esteem by the Jewish community.
SHR Criteria e)
[Research potential]
The 1960s building incorporates innovative structural techniques to create neutral column free space planning.
SHR Criteria f)
[Rarity]
The complex, with three different buildings is unusual in the precinct. The 1960s community centre building in the Brutalist style is rare in the local government area
SHR Criteria g)
[Representativeness]
The 1920s and 1930s buildings are representative example of inter -war community buildings whilst the 1960s building is a fine example of a Late Twentieth Brutalist Style community building.
Integrity/Intactness: Externally intact
Assessment criteria: Items are assessed against the PDF State Heritage Register (SHR) Criteria to determine the level of significance. Refer to the Listings below for the level of statutory protection.

Recommended management:

The complex should be retained and conserved. A Heritage Assessment and Heritage Impact Statement, or a Conservation Management Plan, should be prepared for the building prior to any major works being undertaken. There shall be no vertical additions to the buildings and no alterations to the façades of the buildings other than to reinstate original features. Significant features and fabric should be retained and conserved. Any additions and alterations should be confined to the rear in areas of less significance, should not be visibly prominent and shall be in accordance with the relevant planning controls.

Listings

Heritage ListingListing TitleListing NumberGazette DateGazette NumberGazette Page
Local Environmental PlanSydney LEP 2012I28014 Dec 12   
Heritage study     

Study details

TitleYearNumberAuthorInspected byGuidelines used
South Sydney Heritage Study1993 Tropman & Tropman Architects  Yes
South Sydney Heritage Review1998 Architectural Projects  No

References, internet links & images

TypeAuthorYearTitleInternet Links
WrittenAnita Heiss Aboriginal People and Place, Barani: Indigenous History of Sydney City View detail
WrittenNoel Bell Ridley Smith and Partners2002Statement of Heritage Impact: Proposed Alterations to the Jewish War Memorial and Museum

Note: internet links may be to web pages, documents or images.

Data source

The information for this entry comes from the following source:
Name: Local Government
Database number: 2420642


Every effort has been made to ensure that information contained in the State Heritage Inventory is correct. If you find any errors or omissions please send your comments to the Database Manager.

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