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The Architectural Provenance of the Margaret Street Synagogue, Brisbane

journal contribution
posted on 2022-01-20, 11:34 authored by Jennifer Creese, Joyce Arnold
The Brisbane Hebrew Congregation’s synagogue, known locally as the Brisbane Synagogue or the Margaret Street shul, was constructed on Margaret Street in Brisbane City in 1886. The building, which is built in a Neo-Moorish (called ‘Byzantine’) style, is officially attributed to architect Arthur Morry. However, a popular narrative among historians of the community attributes the design of the synagogue building to a different architect, Andrea Stombuco. In this paper, we analyse the synagogue structure’s architectural design and compare it with the broader design portfolios of both Morry and Stombuco in an attempt to establish its architectural provenance. We offer the hypothesis that, based on the synagogue’s design elements and the body of work of both architects, the Margaret Street Synagogue is more likely to have been designed initially by Stombuco, and then potentially reworked by other architects, headed and represented by Morry. However, we theorise that due to either practical eventualities or philosophical reasons affecting the congregation’s desire for belonging in the late 19th century state and society, Morry oversaw the final construction, and his designation as its architect has become popularised within the Brisbane Jewish Community’s mythology of the synagogue’s provenance.

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Citation

Australian Journal of Jewish Studies XXXIV (2021): 157-187

Author affiliation

SAPPHIRE Research Group, Department of Health Sciences, University of Leicester

Version

  • VoR (Version of Record)

Published in

Australian Journal of Jewish Studies

Volume

34

Pagination

157 - 187

Publisher

Australian Association for Jewish Studies

issn

1037-0838

Copyright date

2021

Language

en

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