Montefiore, Joseph Barrow

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MONTEFIORE, JOSEPH BARROW (1803–1893), Australian pioneer. A cousin of Sir Moses *Montefiore, Joseph Barrow Montefiore was born in London. At the age of 23, he bought a seat on the London Stock Exchange and became one of the 12 "Jew brokers" in the city. He immigrated to Australia in 1829 with considerable means at his disposal and was granted 5,000 acres of land. In Melbourne, Sydney, and later in South Australia, he acquired extensive parcels of land. In 1838 he was invited to give evidence to the House of Lords on the state of the islands of New Zealand. He and his elder brother Jacob, who was one of the 11 commissioners appointed by King William iv to organize the administration of South Australia, helped to establish the Bank of Australasia. Montefiore, who had ultimately made his home in Adelaide, became one of its most prominent commercial and industrial figures. When in Sydney, he was South Australia's agent in New South Wales, and one of the original trustees of the State Savings Bank of South Australia. In 1832 Montefiore helped to organize Australia's first congregation, the Sydney Synagogue, the predecessor of the Great Synagogue, and was its first president. He was a trustee of the Jewish cemetery, for which he had secured a land grant from the government. The township of Montefiore in New South Wales and Montefiore Hill in Adelaide are tributes to the pioneering work of Montefiore and his family. He spent the last years of his life in England.

add. bibliography:

J.S. Levi and G.F.J. Bergman, Australian Genesis: Jewish Convicts and Settlers, 1788–1860 (2002), 171–74, index; adb; H.L. Rubinstein, Australia i, index.

[Israel Porush]

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Montefiore, Joseph Barrow

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