Site and Ownership

The Strathfield Synagogue: An Assessment of the Architectural Value and Significance

Site and Ownership

Strathfield Synagogue, 19 Florence Street, Strathfield is the subject of this narrative. The Strathfield Synagogue was established in 1949 for the local Jewish community that had occupied a small part of the community since 1942. The building has a historical significance and relevance in the way it documented a dramatic increase in the population of the Jewish community in the post war era, and the consequent expansion into the Sydney Suburbs. In Western Sydney, the Strathfield Synagogue highlights the development of the local area as a notable centre for the local Jewish community and to document the growth of the Hebrew community since the 1950s. the building shares some important highlights and memories with survivors of the Holocaust who arrived in Strathfield in the 1940s. The prominent immigrant community marked by the Strathfield Synagogue is a historical blessing, as it showcases the movement of people, their settling, and the way they transferred their cultural heritage abroad. Events such as the World Wars and the Holocaust helped to shape their status and their settling at the site.

Religious and Ritual Space

In another view, the building carries religious and ritual value as a daily reminder of the worship practices of the Jewish communal circles in the Western Sydney region. Currently, the social and cultural significance of the building is that it is an ongoing association with the Strathfield District and the local Hebrew Community. The latter has greatly reduced in number. The building features memorial plantings and plaques in commemoration of the Jewish victims during the war and the Holocaust. It also features individuals linked to the Strathfield local congregation. The core values of the space and the traditions linked to the building are also a significant part of the local community. It is one of the last standing post war artefacts in Australia, representative of a small part of a small group of the Jewish community and the international style of synagogues. Additionally, the building is designed by emigrant architects adding on to the beauty and architectural scene of western Sydney.

Cultural Significance of the Building

The culture of the entire Strathmore District is forever impacted by the presence of the Strathfield Synagogue. The Hebrew culture impacted the local area through enriching the religious and communal practices. While the community has largely diminished, the impact is still relatively felt through the presence of the Synagogue and the architectural diversity it brings. On August 2013, the synagogue was closed down. The reason for the shut down was a dwindling congregation as the local Jewish community moved away to other areas including Sydney’s suburbs or the north shore. What was once the heart of a significantly vibrant Jewish community made up of migrants after the Second World War had come to a gradual end. Inside the synagogue, there was a memorial to all the Jewish victims who suffered during the war with a commemorative wall that had a list of the families who lost people to the Nazis. There were no more people attending the service at the synagogue and no prospect of future generations attending. As a result, the synagogue was sold off to local investors. While the building is now under different ownership due to a lack of enough congregants to run a synagogue, its true spirit as a Jewish heritage site remains to date. The history and significance of the building has not been affected by the change of ownership but rather the cultural significance in terms of how it welcomed a group of Jewish migrants into Australia and provided a warm reception including taking in the religious and cultural display of the Hebrew people still stand.

Significance of the Project

This is a very interesting part of this project. I found that there were aspects of opposition in the mid-20th century relating to the settling of the Hebrew emigrant community. This is interesting seeing that the community is now an integral part of the history of the area. In this writing, I will take on a narrative structure, to present and discuss the issues and facts relating to the building and its immediate environment. In regard to connecting, communicating and establishing relationships with the community, I will take on a direct approach, citing relevant studies and making sure to point out significant points. Regarding the site, I found that the Strathfield Synagogue is a key part of the community, one that deserves to be mentioned in the architectural scene.

Symbol of Culture

The Strathfield Synagogue is in itself a symbol of culture and religion in the area. It represents the arrival and settling of Jewish migrants into Australia after the war. The memorial wall and its significance both to the Jewish people in the area as well as the Australians who played a vital role of welcoming the migrants and giving them a new home remain to date. It is interesting to note that the influence of the Jewish community through the Strathfield Synagogue will be felt years from today. Even as a majority of the Jewish families have moved to other areas all over the country, the overall effect of the synagogue as a symbol of culture, as a mark of an era, and as a show of humanity will remain in the hearts of the local people.


It is important to note that the surrounding urban design and context did not influence the way the synagogue was created. Although it no longer serves the same purpose today as it were intended, it is still an independent building with a life of its own. The religious rituals, their significance, and the importance of the synagogue as a mark of the Jewish culture remain embedded in the lives of the community members. In this project, the significance of the Strathfield Synagogue has been explored, including a review of its religious and cultural roles in the area it is located. It is revealed that the space has served more than its immediate users to become a symbol for the entire community.

Gibson, Elizabeth. “Architectural Projects: 1480-Strathfield Synagogue Heritage Assessment.” (2014): 1-189