In 1884, the Jewish Community purchased a section on the corner of Princes Street and Bowen Street. At that time the site was occupied by the former Albert Barracks Guard House, which overlooked a vegetable garden, which had formerly been used by soldiers.
|Ref: 1-W136, the Jewish Synagogue in 1900, Sir George Grey Special Collections|
The building was designed in a mixed Romanesque and Gothic style. It was built out of concrete at a cost of 3000 pounds and could seat a congregation of 375. It incorporated a sabbath school in the basement. The interior ornamentation was by the decorator J.L. Holland and the stained glass dome was imported from Australia.
|Ref: 35-R95, the Jewish Synagogue in 1910-1919, Sir George Grey Special Collections|
The Former Synagogue is registered by the New Zealand Historic Places Trust (NZHPT)and has Historic Place Category 1 status. The interior of the building features Auckland’s only known example of a barrel vaulted timber ceiling and an ornate circular ark covered by a stained glass dome. It is also one of NZ’s oldest massed concrete buildings. A basement was used for social and educational purposes and a school annexe was added in 1914.
For more information about Jewish settlement, 'The history of the Jews in New Zealand' (1958) by Lazarus Morris Goldman has information about the first Jewish settlers in New Zealand. Whilst 'Identity and involvement II : Auckland Jewry, past and present' (1993) edited by Ann Gluckman and Laurie Gluckman ans 'Some of the Jewish men & women who contributed to the history of Auckland, 1840-1982' (1982) compiled by Lionel Albert.has information specific to Jewish settlement in Auckland. Auckland Libraries also has a large number of other heritage resources relating Jewish family genealogy, cemeteries and immigration.