Maitland Jewish Cemetery | NSW Environment & Heritage

Culture and heritage

Heritage

Maitland Jewish Cemetery

Item details

Name of item: Maitland Jewish Cemetery
Type of item: Archaeological-Terrestrial
Group/Collection: Cemeteries and Burial Sites
Category: Cemetery/Graveyard/Burial Ground
Location: Lat: -32.74904231 Long: 151.55738202
Primary address: 112-114 Louth Park Road, South Maitland, NSW 2320
Parish: Maitland
County: Northumberland
Local govt. area: Maitland
Local Aboriginal Land Council: Mindaribba
Property description
Lot/Volume CodeLot/Volume NumberSection NumberPlan/Folio CodePlan/Folio Number
LOT1 DP1174675
LOT1 DP793730

Boundary:

The area enclosed by fencing and the laneway to the south of the site providing access to the cemetery from Louth Park Road.
All addresses
Street AddressSuburb/townLGAParishCountyType
112-114 Louth Park RoadSouth MaitlandMaitlandMaitlandNorthumberlandPrimary Address

Owner/s

Organisation NameOwner CategoryDate Ownership Updated
Maitland City CouncilLocal Government 

Statement of significance:

Maitland Jewish Cemetery is of state heritage significance as the earliest and largest dedicated Jewish cemetery in NSW. With 53 burials in total (dating, in the most part, from 1849 to 1909), the cemetery retains 46 of its original headstones which makes this site the most intact dedicated Jewish cemetery in the state.

Established in 1846 by prominent Jewish settlers of the Maitland region, the cemetery served the Orthodox Jewish community of the surrounding Hunter Valley region and the broader Jewish community of NSW. The cemetery is a physical record of the Jewish community in the region and its survival demonstrates the ongoing public interest and connection to the place.

Of the three dedicated Jewish cemeteries established in NSW, Maitland Jewish Cemetery is a rare surviving example that demonstrates the traditions and rituals of life and death in the Jewish faith. The location of the cemetery, the positioning of the grave sites and the form, design and style of the monuments demonstrate the community's adherence to their faith and the importance of observing traditions when laying their dead to rest.
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

Construction years: 1846-1934
Physical description: Located 3km from the centre of Maitland, the Jewish Cemetery is sited at the end of a narrow unsealed laneway in a rural field landscape. In keeping with Jewish tradition, the cemetery was established beyond the outskirts of the township and the graves positioned to face west away from the neighbouring settlement and its residents.

Bounded by a post and wire fence (which replaced an earlier timber paling fence), the cemetery contains 53 burial sites. Positioned in four rows, the graves are laid out in a north-south direction with the earlier burials at its highest point while the later graves continue down the sloping site. A row of children's graves is positioned along the northern boundary.

Of the 53 grave sites, 46 headstones remain in varying states of repair. Dating mostly from 1849 to 1909, the Hebrew and English inscriptions may have faded with age but the form and ornamentation of the monuments indicate the importance of adherence to the Jewish faith during the interment process. Mostly discreet in nature, the monuments reflect the Jewish tradition that 'in death, all are equal' (Wilton, p16).
Physical condition and/or
Archaeological potential:
Of the 53 grave sites, 46 headstones remain in varying states of repair. Dating mostly from 1849 to 1909, many of the Hebrew and English inscriptions have faded with age and weather exposure. Some headstones have also collapsed but recent conservation works (2013-14) has seen the restoration of many of the stones.

The rural nature of the site is reflected in the grassed condition of the cemetery. However, this receives regular maintenance.

The post and wire fence enclosing the cemetery allows neighbouring livestock to graze the outskirts of the cemetery which could cause subsidence or collapse of the outlying monuments. The current fence replaced an earlier timber paling fence which could be a replacement enclosure at some future point in time.
Date condition updated:18 Jul 13
Modifications and dates: 1846 - cemetery established
1849 - first burial took place
c1920s - general repairs
1934 - last burial took place
c1930s - cottage was removed/demolished or collapsed
c1955 - monument restoration following floods
c mid 20th century - original timber paling fence removed
1978 - renewed maintenance of site involved vegetation clearance
2010 - new burial took place
Current use: Cemetery (closed)
Former use: Cemetery

History

Historical notes: As the colony expanded into the Hunter Valley in the early 19th century, the pioneering settlers played a key role in the development of the new region. As Maitland was strategically positioned on the Hunter River, it soon became a booming new township for commerce and trade between the region and Sydney. Known then as Wallis Plains, the establishment and success of the shipping trade along the river resulted in the expansion of the district as land grants were allocated amongst the settlers, many of whom were Jewish entrepreneurs. Bringing their business skills from Sydney, and often from their native England, the Jewish colonists soon became prosperous leaders of the burgeoning community and formed a strong core for the small Jewish community of the region.

Adherence to tradition was often used by colonists to establish a community and connect people to a new place. As followers of the Orthodox faith, the Jewish community soon established a dedicated burial ground on which to observe the burial rites and customs of the religion. In keeping with Jewish tradition, a parcel of land was acquired in 1846 beyond the outskirts of the township and in an area isolated from neighbouring residences. Attained 'upon trust for a Burial Place for the internment (sic) of deceased members of the Jewish Religion' (Wilton, p15), the first burial for the cemetery took place in 1849 for young Jane Cohen, an 11-year old girl who had succumbed to the Scarlatina disease epidemic of the time.

As the strength of the Jewish community grew in the region, so too did the number of burials at the cemetery. A cottage structure was established on the site to receive the dead and where rites and prayer rituals could take place prior to interment. The rarity of a dedicated Jewish cemetery north of Sydney also bought Jewish people from afar for interment.

The strength of the Jewish community in the mid-to-late 19th century is also reflected in the erection of the Maitland Synagogue in 1879. However, when the synagogue ceased functioning as a place of worship in 1898, it was evident that the presence of the Jewish community in Maitland was wavering. As the numbers of the community slowly dwindled, so too did the number of burials occurring at the cemetery. After the last burial in 1934, the cemetery was considered to be 'full'.

As the years passed, the cemetery experienced periods of neglect. The cottage was removed, occasional floods swept through the site and vegetation slowly took control. Renewed community interest in the historic site has evolved in recent decades and the cemetery was reconsecrated in 1979. Ownership was transferred to Maitland City Council in 1992 and one final burial took place in 2010. Following this, the cemetery was officially closed.

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 Jewish faith-Includes all religious communities, churches, convents, manse.
9. Phases of Life-Marking the phases of life Birth and Death-Activities associated with the initial stages of human life and the bearing of children, and with the final stages of human life and disposal of the dead. Crematoria-

Assessment of significance

SHR Criteria a)
[Historical significance]
Maitland Jewish Cemetery is of state heritage significance as the earliest and largest dedicated Jewish cemetery in NSW. Established in 1846, the cemetery contains 53 burial sites and, with 46 headstone monuments remaining on site, it is the most intact of the three dedicated Jewish cemeteries in NSW.

The early establishment of a dedicated burial ground is a tradition of the Orthodox Jewish faith and the Maitland Jewish Cemetery played an important part in the development of the Jewish community in the region. The location of the cemetery, positioning of the grave sites and the design and ornamentation of the headstones also reflects the traditions of the Orthodox Jewish faith and the community's commitment to their religion.
SHR Criteria b)
[Associative significance]
The Maitland Jewish Cemetery has a particular association with the prominent Jewish settlers of the Hunter Valley region. At the core of the Jewish community of the Maitland area in the mid-19th century were a number of wealthy and influential Jewish businessmen who played an important role in the development of the region. The prominence of these particular people is reflected in the early establishment of a dedicated Jewish cemetery and associated synagogue in the region.
SHR Criteria c)
[Aesthetic significance]
Positioned in a rural landscape on the outskirts of the town, the Maitland Jewish Cemetery is a small regional burial ground that reflects the traditions of the Orthodox Jewish faith. A discreetly located site, the cemetery contains a number of modest monuments that demonstrates 'that, in death, all are equal and ostentation is out of place' (Wilton, p16). The layout, monument form and ornamentation suggest a deliberate observance to the traditions of the Orthodox Jewish faith.
SHR Criteria d)
[Social significance]
Maitland Jewish Cemetery is of state heritage significance for its social value to the Jewish community of Maitland as well as its broader connection to the Jewish community of NSW. Cemeteries demonstrate the rituals of life and death and reflect how a community manages its grief. Furthermore, the importance of a dedicated Jewish cemetery to the broader Jewish community is reflected in its use by the people of Maitland as well as those from afar who were interred at the site.

The cemetery is a physical record of the Jewish community in the region and its survival demonstrates the ongoing public interest and connection to the place. This contemporary social value is demonstrated by the establishment of the Friends of the Maitland Jewish Cemetery to maintain the site and the ongoing release of research and written material about the history of the cemetery.
SHR Criteria e)
[Research potential]
Maitland Jewish Cemetery has some potential to reveal further information about the traditional burial practices and rituals of the Orthodox Jewish faith in NSW in the mid-19th century. Although the remaining monuments are in a varying state of repair, further analysis of their form, design style and use of liturgical symbolism could provide further insight into how death was celebrated by the Orthodox Jewish faith.

Cemeteries are also a valuable genealogical resource and provide evidence of the social history of the Jewish faith in the Hunter Valley region.

There is some potential that the archaeological remains of the cottage building could be investigated further. The likely position of the building in the south western corner is evident but no formal archaeological investigation of the site has been undertaken.
SHR Criteria f)
[Rarity]
Maitland Jewish Cemetery is of state heritage significance as a rare example of a dedicated Jewish burial ground in NSW. Many multi-denominational cemeteries contain Jewish sections but only three dedicated Jewish cemeteries have ever been established in NSW - Maitland in 1846, Goulburn Jewish Cemetery in 1848 and Raphael's Ground in Lidcombe in 1867. Of the three cemeteries, only those at Maitland and Goulburn remain today (Raphael's Ground was disbanded and monuments relocated to Rookwood Necropolis in 1970).

As the largest and most intact of the two Jewish cemeteries in NSW (Maitland contains 53 grave sites and 46 headstones while Goulburn has 35 burials and retains only 11 headstones), Maitland Jewish Cemetery has state heritage significance for its rarity value.
SHR Criteria g)
[Representativeness]
Maitland Jewish Cemetery is a representative example of a small regional burial ground that reflects the traditional burial rites and rituals of a religious faith. The design and form of the monuments reflect the masonry practices of the late 19th and early 20th centuries and the liturgical inscriptions demonstrate the traditional symbolism of the Jewish faith.
Integrity/Intactness: Of the 53 burial sites within the cemetery, the retention of 46 headstone monuments makes the cemetery the most intact dedicated Jewish cemetery in NSW.
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.

Procedures /Exemptions

Section of actDescriptionTitleCommentsAction date
57(2)Exemption to allow workStandard Exemptions SCHEDULE OF STANDARD EXEMPTIONS
HERITAGE ACT 1977
Notice of Order Under Section 57 (2) of the Heritage Act 1977

I, the Minister for Planning, pursuant to subsection 57(2) of the Heritage Act 1977, on the recommendation of the Heritage Council of New South Wales, do by this Order:

1. revoke the Schedule of Exemptions to subsection 57(1) of the Heritage Act made under subsection 57(2) and published in the Government Gazette on 22 February 2008; and

2. grant standard exemptions from subsection 57(1) of the Heritage Act 1977, described in the Schedule attached.

FRANK SARTOR
Minister for Planning
Sydney, 11 July 2008

To view the schedule click on the Standard Exemptions for Works Requiring Heritage Council Approval link below.
Sep 5 2008
57(2)Exemption to allow workHeritage Act - Site Specific Exemptions HERITAGE ACT 1977
ORDER UNDER SECTION 57(2)
TO GRANT SITE SPECIFIC EXEMPTIONS FROM APPROVAL

Maitland Jewish Cemetery
112-114 Louth Park Road, South Maitland

SHR No. 1921

I, the Minister for Heritage, on the recommendation of the Heritage Council of New South Wales, in pursuance of section 57(2) of the Heritage Act 1977, do, by this my order, grant an exemption from section 57(1) of that Act in respect of the engaging in or carrying out of any activities described in Schedule “C” by the owner described in Schedule “B” on the item described in Schedule “A”.

The Hon Robyn Parker, MP.
Minister for Heritage
Sydney, 14 Day of January 2014

SCHEDULE “A”

The item known as Maitland Jewish Cemetery, situated on the land described in Schedule “B”.

SCHEDULE “B”

All those pieces or parcels of land known as Lot 1 DP 1174675 and Lot 1 DP 793730 in Parish of Maitland, County of Northumberland shown on the plan catalogued HC 2604 in the office of the Heritage Council of New South Wales.

SCHEDULE “C”

1. Erection of timber paling fence in accordance with the design recommendations (section 6.2.2) contained in the ‘Maitland Jewish Cemetery Conservation Management Plan’ prepared by Rookwood Management Services Pty Ltd for Maitland City Council, dated November 2012.
2. Ongoing maintenance of the timber paling fence following its construction.
3. Ongoing maintenance and landscaping of the grassed laneway access between Louth Park Road and the cemetery site.
4. Ongoing maintenance of the existing boundary fencing to the laneway access between Louth Park Road and the cemetery site.
5. Completion of works as specified in the ‘Maitland Jewish Cemetery: 2013 specified works for 2013 priority safety and assessment works project’; Specification R04; Specification M04; Specification R09; Specification R02; and Specification M09; prepared by Monuments in Memoriam for Maitland City Council, stamped 1 March 2013. Work to be overseen by an experienced heritage consultant with cemetery conservation expertise.
6. Undertaking of vegetation removal and replanting works as specified in ‘Maitland Jewish Cemetery Conservation Management Plan’ prepared by Rookwood Management Services Pty Ltd for Maitland City Council, dated November 2012 (specifically in accordance with Planting Schedule and Maintenance Plan at Appendix 10).
7. General mowing and grass maintenance by mechanical device in accordance with guidelines contained in ‘Maitland Jewish Cemetery Conservation Management Plan’ prepared by Rookwood Management Services Pty Ltd for Maitland City Council, dated November 2012. Hand weeding to be conducted in close proximity to monuments.
Mar 7 2014

PDF Standard exemptions for works requiring Heritage Council approval

Listings

Heritage ListingListing TitleListing NumberGazette DateGazette NumberGazette Page
Heritage Act - State Heritage Register 0192107 Mar 14 25888
Local Environmental PlanMaitland City Council 16 Dec 11   
National Trust of Australia register  379003 May 82   

Study details

TitleYearNumberAuthorInspected byGuidelines used
National Trust Country Register  National Trust of Australia (NSW)  No

References, internet links & images

TypeAuthorYearTitleInternet Links
WrittenJanis Wilton2010Maitland Jewish Cemetery: A Monument to Dreams and Deeds
WrittenMaitland City Council2013SHR Nomination
WrittenRookwood Management Services Pty Ltd2012Maitland Jewish Cemetery Conservation Management Plan (draft)

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

rez rez rez rez rez rez
rez
(Click on thumbnail for full size image and image details)

Data source

The information for this entry comes from the following source:
Name: Heritage Office
Database number: 5055292
File number: EF11/06267


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.

All information and pictures on this page are the copyright of the Heritage Division or respective copyright owners.