History of the Australian Jewish News in print and online

From its humble beginnings in 1895 as the Hebrew Standard of Australasia, the Australian Jewish News has grown into a quintessential part of the story of Australian Jewry. The AJN launched its online edition in 2001 which underwent a major revamp in 2006 and again in 2009.

NOVEMBER 1, 1895: The first edition of the Hebrew Standard is published in Sydney. Alfred Harris serves as its founding editor from 1895-1908 and once again from 1925-44. His family continues to publish the paper until 1950.

MARCH 1904: Rabbi Francis L Cohen is appointed chief minister of the Great Synagogue and is very influential on the paper. His sermon is published on the front page almost every week for 29 years. Harris decides to enlarge the size of the Hebrew Standard to 12 pages and  introduce more articles and reviews.

1909: Phil Harris resigns from the editorship and Marcus Marks (assistant secretary to Simeon Frankel, secretary of the Great Synagogue 1881-1919) takes over the editorship part time.

MAY 1915: Harris and son moves the press from 249 George Street to 175 George Street, where it remains for more than 45 years.

1920: A linotype machine is bought by the paper and a linotypist, Walter Miller, joins the Standard.

MARCH 1922: Rival newspaper the pro-Zionist Australian Jewish Chronicle is launched by Reverend Adolph T Chodowski. Largely due to the effects of the Depression, the Chronicle ceases publication in 1931.

APRIL 1923: Henry Harris, publisher of the Hebrew Standard since 1895, dies.

DECEMBER 1924: Marks resigns due to business pressures.

1925: Alfred Harris resumes control of the Standard and remains there until his death in 1944.

NOVEMBER 1926: Faced with financial difficulties, Harris decides to float the paper, but the venture fails.

JANUARY 1931: The Standard is reduced to eight pages. David Altshul and his sons launch Oistralier Leben (Australian Life), Australia’s first Yiddish newspaper in Melbourne.

1933: The Great Synagogue, then under leadership of John Goulston, decides to subsidise the paper by £100 a year, but requests that it be published on Wednesdays. Leslie Rubinstein acquires Oistralier Lebenfrom which the English-language Australian Jewish News in Melbourne has its origins. Rubinstein introduces the English Jewish Weekly News.

JANUARY 1934: The Jewish Weekly News incorporates the Jewish Herald, which was founded in 1879. Joachim Chaim Rubinstein becomes Yiddish editor and managing director of the Australian Jewish News.

MAY 1935: The Yiddish section is renamed Die Oistralisheh Yiddisheh Nayess. The Jewish Weekly News and the Jewish Herald separate.

1939: The Melbourne-based Australian Jewish News, which had been formally constituted in 1935, launches a Sydney edition, the Sydney Jewish News.

1943: Joachim Rubinstein’s son Tony joins The AJN.

1947: Joachim Rubinstein dies and Tony becomes managing director of The AJN.

1949: Tony Rubinstein assumes ownership of The AJN from his brother Leslie.

MARCH 1952: The Standard’s photographic department is established. The annual price of the paper increases from 15 shillings to ¬£1.

1953: John Shaiak purchases the Hebrew Standard and changes its name to the The Australian Jewish Times (The AJT).

1957: Due to ailing health, Shaiak sells the The AJT to Herzl Press.

OCTOBER 1960: Sydney Jewish News editor Ernest J Burger purchases the The AJT.

NOVEMBER 1961: Mike Golland leaves the The AJT to become editor of the Sydney Jewish News.

1962: Hans Licht becomes editor of the Melbourne paper.

1963: The The AJT is on the brink of extinction but is saved by communal leader Jack Green, whose family keeps it afloat.

1966: Eve Symon becomes editor of the The AJT.

1967: The Jewish Herald closes. The Australian Jewish News moves to Abbotsford.

1968: Louis Klein buys the The AJT.

1968-73: As a team, Symon and Klein radically alter the paper, and incorporate the Sydney Jewish News into the The AJT.

1969: Klein moves the offices from King Street to the community centre in Darlinghurst.

1973: Klein purchases The Sydney Jewish News from Tony Rubinstein and merges it with The AJT.

JULY 1974: The Times becomes the first small newspaper in Australia to use photosetting.

1975: Klein dies of a heart attack.

1979: Victor Kleerekoper becomes editor of the Sydney paper.

1983: Kleerekoper leaves for Melbourne, where he joins the Australian Jewish News. Susan Bures, Klein’s daughter, takes over as editor of the Sydney paper. The Melbourne paper celebrates its 50th anniversary.

1984: All journalists at the paper are using computers.

1984: Simon Rubinstein becomes managing director of The Melbourne Jewish News when his father becomes seriously ill.

1985: Tony Rubinstein dies.

MAY 2, 1985: The Jerusalem Post international edition is included each week in the The AJT.

MARCH 13, 1986: The first national edition of the The AJT is published.

1987: Businessman Richard Pratt purchases the Australian Jewish News from the Rubinstein family. The The AJT merges with the Melbourne-based Australian Jewish News. Licht resigns as editor after 38 years at the paper, 26 of them as editor; Sam Lipski is appointed editor-in-chief of the AJN.

1988: The AJN moves to Elsternwick. The Sydney-based The AJT relocates from the Maccabean Hall to the war memorial centre.

1990: Mona Klein announces the decision to change the name of the Sydney newspaper from the The AJT to the Australian Jewish News. The international edition of the Jerusalem Post is dropped from the paper.

1991: Sydney’s Rodney Adler acquires the majority shareholding of the newspaper with the family represented on the board of directors by his mother Ethel (Bobby) and sisters Kathy Shand and Roxanne Adler.

1993: Rodney Adler withdraws from the newspaper and transfers it to his sisters.

1995: The newspaper marks its 100th anniversary by publishing a book, Pages of History, by historian Suzanne Rutland. Ivriton, a Hebrew insert is launched, but the Yiddish paper closes due to falling sales. Shortly after, Bures leaves the Sydney AJN; Vic Alhadeff is appointed editor in 1996.

1998: Lipski steps down after 11 years.

1999: Deborah Stone is appointed editor of the Melbourne edition.

2001: The AJN launches its online edition at www.ajn.com.au.

2002: Dan Goldberg is appointed editor of the Melbourne edition to succeed Deborah Stone.

2003: The paper undergoes a major redesign and the Melbourne and Sydney Life magazines are launched.

2004: Alhadeff steps down after 18 years with the paper, the last eight as Sydney editor. Dan Goldberg relocates to Sydney and becomes the paper’s national editor. ajn.com.au undergoes a revamp.

2005: The paper celebrates its 110th anniversary with an exhibition of famous front covers and a 32-page souvenir edition. Celebrations are held in Sydney and Melbourne, and a DVD, including interviews with former editors, is produced.

2006: ajn.com.au undergoes a major overhaul. The AJN expands its new media department.

2007: Dan Goldberg stands down as national editor. Ashley Browne is appointed his successor.

July 2007: Robert Magid, a Sydney-based developer, becomes the new publisher of the AJN purchasing the newspaper from the Shand and Dunkel families.

April 2009: The print edition undergoes a major redesign.

July 2009: The new-look website is launched.

Historical information sourced from Pages Of History by Suzanne Rutland.