Goulburn's historic Jewish cemetery has been listed on the State Heritage Register, affording it a higher level of protection.
Minister responsible for Heritage, Don Harwin, announced the listing on Monday, saying the Long Street facility would be protected for perpetuity.
"Sites of importance to the Jewish community are underrepresented in the NSW State Heritage Register," he said.
"The Jewish community has contributed greatly to NSW. I'm very pleased that this historic cemetery is now on the State Heritage Register."
Sydney man and the cemetery's primary trustee, Gary Luke, nominated the facility last November.
"It's very good news and my compliments go to the State Heritage Branch and the Minister," he said.
"I understand that it is a near world record from the time the branch put it forward to the Minister signing off on it."
Mr Luke nominated the cemetery with heritage professional, Chris Betteridge, who also advised on Kenmore Hospital's listing on the register.
Mr Luke said it was especially important to protect the Jewish collection of graves given the council's plans for more industrial zoning in the surrounding Charles Valley. In addition, a flagged extension of Common Street over to the Hume Highway could see heavy vehicles traversing the sensitive area.
"The State listing also makes it viable to apply for grants and do work on the cemetery such as interpretative signage and removal of rubble from a well."
He suspected the rubble was put there in the 1980s when a new stone fence was erected and trees planted as part of remediation and a re-dedication. Mr Luke feared some of the rubble was part of the original fabric, providing insight into its history.
The complex also retained elements of a caretaker's cottage, which included a room reserved for Tahara rites, the ritual cleansing and shrouding of the deceased, Mr Harwin said.
Up to 30 members of Goulburn's once thriving Jewish community are buried there. Mr Luke said they included prominent members of the business community who contributed greatly to the inland city's early growth.
The earliest graves are those of Hannah and Sarah Moses who drowned in the Yass River in about 1844. They were the daughters of John and Rebecca Moses. Mr Luke said Rebecca was the first person in Australia to be converted to Judaism by a visiting rabbi from London in the 1830s. While here, the rabbi also wrote her a 'ketubah,' which was effectively a pre-nuptial agreement.
The last graves belonged to two German wartime migrants who died in 1943.
By the late 1840s Goulburn had the third largest Jewish community in the state.
Mr Luke said the cemetery was not only a reminder of their contribution to Goulburn, but the city's prominence as a trading centre. Maitland, which had the only other surviving Jewish cemetery, held similar status. The towns had the strongest Jewish congregations in NSW.
He paid tribute to local historian Linda Cooper who first alerted him to the need to conserve the Long Street cemetery in 2009. At the time, he was trustee of the Jewish section at Rookwood Cemetery and happened to be sitting in the office when Mrs Cooper called.
Mr Luke and two other people then applied to become trustee of the Goulburn facility, taking over from the Great Sydney Synagogue.
Mrs Cooper's father, Eric McCallum had made and donated new gates for the cemetery's 1987 re-dedication.
Meantime, Goulburn MP Wendy Tuckerman has welcomed the listing.
"This adds another layer to the town's rich history exploring the stories of the thriving community that made Goulburn home in the late 19th century," she said.
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