Resting places for Darwin and Jindabyne

May 18, 2018 by Henry Benjamin
Read on for article

There is a very small number of Jews in the Northern Territory and even smaller in the Snowy Mountains where some ageing residents have expressed their wishes to have a Jewish funeral when they die.

Jindabyne Cemetery:small red square will be theJewish section

At this time, there are no consecrated areas in their local cemeteries. However 61-yr-old Gaye Shultz has taken up their case and plans are underway to create Jewish sections in both Darwin and Jindabyne.

Gaye Schultz said: “My husband had been working in Gove in Arnhemland operating the power station and I was working as a nurse. We moved to Darwin when the plant ceased operation s and where became involved with the local Jewish community. We heard that two rabbis were going to visit Darwin for Chanukah from RARA, rural and regional Australia Chabad.”

The rabbis organised a Chanukah event at which Gaye Schultz met an elderly woman. Gaye continued: “She was about 78 and told me she had never been particularly observant. She left Vienna in 1939 with her mother when she was two to join up with her father. She told me she had never found out what’d happened to her grandmother and I managed to learn that she had been transported to the ghetto in Lodz and had perished in the Halno concentration camp.

Her new friend Judy told her that she wanted to buried as a Jew but there was nowhere to be buried as such in Darwin.

Gaye thought “why is there no cemetery in Darwin and what can I do to make it happen?”

Darwin: black square will be the Jewish section

She set out to satisfy Judy’s wish and it took her 22 months to get the new section approved. She said: “I just have to consecrate it and we waiting for a few things for the council to do such as putting in a boundary fence. We are getting twenty graves to begin with.”

She told J-Wire: “There are some Jews buried in the general cemetery and there are two Jewish servicemen in the Adelaide River cemetery but none received a proper Jewish burial. There has never been a rabbi in Darwin permanently as far as I know. Now the Jews will have an option of funeral arrangements.”

She added: “I knew of a Jewish man who had intimated that he had wanted to have a Jewish burial. But there was no facility and he was cremated.”

RARA had made contact with Tina Hacker in Jindabyne whose story was told in J-Wire.

Gaye Schultz had heard the 93-yr-old wanted to be buried in Jindabyne in the Snowy Mountains as a Jew and not be buried at the closest community in Canberra.

Gaye added: “I have now organised for a Jewish section at Jindabyne cemetery. Hopefully she won’t need it for a very long time. Rabbi Shmueli Feldman from Canberra will consecrate the Jewish section when the fence has been erected around it and delineated from the general cemetery.”

There are no Jews buried in the Jindabyne cemetery…but there around twenty Jews living in the general area according to Gaye Schultz who now resides in Tumut.

She told J-Wire: “There is a Jewish man buried in the Adaminaby cemetery and although there is no Jewish section there is a fence around his grave.”

According to Gaye Schultz there are about 40 Jews living in Darwin and with regular but a changing Israeli community of 20. “There are some in Alice Springs and I think there is a Jewish couple in Katherine.”

She added: “The Darwin community is very secular but they come together for Pesach.”

Gaye refused to supply a photo of herself. “This is not about me…it is about supplying a Jewish necessity where it has never been.”




One Response to “Resting places for Darwin and Jindabyne”
  1. Gary Luke says:

    There are Jews buried in consecrated Jewish sections of cemeteries in the Snowy region at Cooma, Bombala and Delegate.

Speak Your Mind

Comments received without a full name will not be considered
Email addresses are NEVER published! All comments are moderated. J-Wire will publish considered comments by people who provide a real name and email address. Comments that are abusive, rude, defamatory or which contain offensive language will not be published

Got something to say about this?

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.