- SOLOMON, family of Australian pioneers and statesmen. EMMANUEL SOLOMON (1800–1873) was born in London and transported to Sydney as a convict in 1818 for housebreaking. After being pardoned, he went into business as a merchant in Sydney with his brother and settled in Adelaide, the capital of South Australia, in 1838, two years after it was founded. He was a general merchant and auctioneer and in 1840 opened the city's first theater. Well known for his philanthropic gifts, Solomon helped finance the building of large apartment blocks for the colonists to replace the primitive homes of the early settlers. He served in the South Australian parliament in 1862–65 and 1867–71. His nephew, JUDAH MOSS SOLOMON (1818–1880), who was born in London and arrived in Sydney in 1831, became Emmanuel Solomon's partner in business in Adelaide. Judah Moss Solomon played an active part in municipal affairs. He was elected to the town council in 1852 and in 1869–71 served as mayor. From 1858 to 1874 he represented Adelaide in the South Australian Parliament and played an important part in introducing a public health act. When a small Jewish community was established in 1848, Judah Moss Solomon was elected first president of the congregation. Judah Moss Solomon had two sons. The elder, BENJAMIN SOLOMON (1844–1922), was appointed chief censor of Australia on the outbreak of World War I. His brother, VABIAN LOUIS SOLOMON (1853–1908), born in Adelaide, settled in Darwin in the Northern Territory in 1874 and worked as a merchant and shipping agent. He founded the Northern Territory Times, the first newspaper in the region, and became mayor of Darwin. Vabian Solomon was prominent in the development of the mining and pearl-fishing industries and on his return to Adelaide became the representative of the Northern Territory in the South Australian Parliament, serving from 1890 to 1901. An expert on financial matters, he was an important political figure in South Australian politics and was premier for a short time in 1899, the first Jew to become premier of an Australian colony or state. Vabian Solomon represented South Australia at the convention which framed the federal Australian constitution. In deference to his religious beliefs, the convention did not meet on Saturdays. He was elected to the first federal Parliament in 1901 and served for two years. In 1905 he was again elected and remained in Parliament until his death. His daughter Esther was the first woman elected to the Adelaide City Council. -BIBLIOGRAPHY: H. Munz, Jews in South Australia (1836–1936) (1936). ADD. BIBLIOGRAPHY: ADB, 6, 163–64; 12, 11–12; H.L. Rubinstein, Australia I, 394–96; E. Richards, "The Fall and Rise of the Brothers Solomon," in: AJHSJ, 8:2 (1975), 1–28. (Isidor Solomon)
Encyclopedia Judaica. 1971.