The first recorded Jewish settlers were Mr and Mrs Phillip Lee from England who, after five months at sea on the ‘Tam-O-Shanter’, landed at Glenelg on 20 November 1836. However, the Jewish contribution started before 1834 when Jacob Montefiore was appointed one of 11 commissioners in the setting up of South Australia as a free colony.
Jacob Montefiore (1801-1895). One of the 11 commissioners appointed by King William IV. He never visited Australia.
In the United Kingdom there was enthusiasm for migration because it presented new work opportunities, adventure and religious freedom. From 1840 there was a steady increase in migration. Jewish people were, in the main, from European or Australian cities or large towns, and joined family and friends. The Jewish population of South Australia is recorded as follows (estimates):
1841 10 (0.57 % of Australian population)
1851 10 (0.47% of Australian population)
1861 420 (0.48% of Australian population)
1871 435 (0.42% of Australian population)
1881 762 (0.41% of Australian population)
1891 840 (0.43% of Australian population)
Source: Charles Price “Jewish Settlers in Australia”.