They were movers and shakers in the world of Goulburn business and contributed greatly to civic life.
But the Jewish community's presence in the city was fleeting in the broader scheme. By the 1880s, most had left but reminders of their legacy remained.
Now moves are afoot to place the Jewish cemetery in Long Street on the State Heritage Register.
Trustee and Sydney man, Gary Luke, has applied to the Heritage Council of NSW to list the cemetery, just one of two surviving in the state, alongside Maitland's.
It contains up to 30 burials, "tangible records of Goulburn's once thriving Jewish community, from the district's pioneering period of the 1840s through to the burial of two German refugees during World War Two."
They include hotel owners, businessmen, industrialists and aldermen of Goulburn and nearby towns. Names like Mandelson, Marks and Moses are sprinkled throughout.
Mr Luke initiated the application with the Australian Jewish Historical Society. They enlisted help from heritage consultant, Chris Betteridge.
It was partly fueled by council plans to develop the North Goulburn Industrial Precinct and increase the heavy vehicle load limit on Common Street and surrounding areas.
"Over the next 20 to 50 years it is likely to change Charles Valley substantially," Mr Luke said.
"We also wanted to give it better legal protection than listing on the council's Local Environmental Plan and to support grant applications."
The cemetery was established in about 1844 following the drowning death John and Rebecca Moses' two daughters. It was set on a half-acre belonging to businessmen Samuel Benjamin and Elias Moses, who owned other land in the area and ran a boiling down works nearby.
Mr Luke's research reveals there are closer to 30 burials in the cemetery, rather than the 22 listed on a cairn. Adding to its significance are the remains of an 1848 stone Georgian caretakers cottage. It contained a room for ritual cleansing and shrouding of bodies before burial. The cottage was demolished in about the 1940s.
The last burial took place in 1943.
Mr Luke said he'd like to secure grants to utilise ground penetrating radar to verify burial remains in the cemetery. He believed 'improvement' works in the mid 1980s in fact disturbed cottage remains and covered some graves.
The first marked grave is that of Isaac Davis of Boorowa who died after his store was attacked by a bushranger in 1845. Tailor and outfitter and Goulburn resident of 50 years, Louis Mandelson was also buried there in 1909.
Mr Luke said the Jewish played a major role in Goulburn's economic development.
"In the early period, Elias Moses had the only store between Sydney and Melbourne," he said.
"The Jewish were also involved with the racecourse, the hospital and some were aldermen. They were very civic-minded businessmen."
Mr Luke, who is also a member of the National Trust's cemeteries committee, says the cemetery is in varying states of repair. However a State Heritage Register listing would help remedy this and assist research into burial practices and rituals of the Orthodox Jewish faith in the mid 1850s.
The Great Synagogue in Sydney, the Australian Jewish Historical Society, Goulburn Mulwaree Council, Goulburn and District Historical Society and the Friends of Goulburn's Historic Cemeteries group have supported the nomination.
Cemetery Friends member Heather West said the State Heritage listing added another layer of protection that she was keen to also secure for the Saint Saviour's and Mortis Street cemeteries.
"The headstones in the Jewish Cemetery have deteriorated more because it's in an out of the way place. There were probably wooden and other headstones there that have long gone," she said.
Another member, Linda Cooper, has a special connection with the site. Her father, Eric McCallum, made the cemetery's gates and donated them on historian Steve Tazewell's suggestion for the 1987 re-dedication. They feature two Stars of David.
Mrs Cooper has also researched early Jewish businessmen, including Samuel Emmanuel who established the Beehive Stores in Auburn Street in 1854 and Samuel Davies who had the Australian Stores. Mrs Cooper and Goulburn Heritage Group have supported the proposal.
Keen history buff, Jeff Coggan, said the Charles Valley area was a thriving industrial area thanks partly to the Jewish. Remains of Benjamin and Moses' boiling down works are nearby. Cattle were driven across Hetherington Street directly to the site.
Mr Coggan's father kept records of everyone who owned land in the area.
He, like Mr Luke, hopes the cemetery will be afforded higher protection.
"I'm hoping for a good outcome. Everything is looking very favourable," Mr Luke said.
The NSW Heritage Office is inviting public submissions on the proposed listing until April 29. The proposal can be viewed at this link.
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