It is easy to miss this quiet side street adjacent to the bustling retail precinct of Rundle Street. However, its name hints at its once important place within South Australia’s Jewish community.
Just over a decade after South Australia was founded, the colony’s small Jewish community had enough members to form a congregation. On 10 September 1848, plans for building a permanent place of worship began. The new synagogue was consecrated in August 1850.
The number of Jewish settlers had increased by the 1860s, and a new synagogue building was erected between 1869 and 1871. Today you can still find elements of this building inside the retail shops on Rundle Street.
By 1891 the city's Jewish population had reached 1840. It was suggested that the synagogue be redeveloped, this time to also provide income for the community.
Architect Edward Davies prepared plans for five shops. These would yield a profit of £375 per year. The plans were approved in 1896 and the complex was built. The synagogue's entrance was moved to the side street so the shops could face the higher-traffic area on Rundle Street.
Architect Chris A. Smith refaced the buildings in the Art Deco style in 1938. The new façade of the synagogue was described as similar to those of picture theatres of the time. Smith had designed several picture theatres in South Australia, including the Chelsea Theatre in Kensington.
The exterior of the synagogue and shops has remained relatively unchanged since that time.