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17 August 2010

Henry Raphael of London and Melbourne

The story of Henry Raphael is a very interesting one. It actually is two very different stories that when combined tell an incredible story. The first takes place in London, where in 1825, Henry is born to Phillip and Grace Raphael. Not a lot is known of his life in London, except that on 4 Jun 1851, in the Great Synagogue, he married Caroline Simmons.

Caroline was the daughter of Simon and Catherine Simmons of Edgeware Road, London. Apparently the two families got along well as her sister, Esther married Henry's brother Ralph. The census below, taken in 1851, shows Caroline living with her parents (

The second part of the story of Henry Raphael takes place in the far away land of Australia. In his incredible book These Are The Names: Jewish Lives in Australia 1788-1850 (FHL book #994 K3l), John S. Levi, documents his life in Australia. The original source should be looked at as it is a wonderful history, however a few of the highlights are:

  • Arrived in 1842
  • Founding member of the Melbourne Hebrew Congregation in 1843.
  • Reputation as a heckler and trouble maker.
  • Left Melbourne to"find a wife", but returned before 1854, when he was accused of calling the officers of the synagogue "a set of thieves", because of this he was fined and his membership cancelled from 1 Jan 1854.
  • A son, Joseph George Raphael was born on 21 Jun 1861.
  • Became involved in the creation of the East Melbourne Synagogue in the 1870's.

This most colorful story ended when Henry Raphael died on 3 May 1894. His wife Caroline died on 3 March 1896, at the age of 62.

The records of this family can be found in The Jews of the British Isles.


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