Emanuel Steinfeld

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Emanual Steinfeld gravestone in the Ballaarat Old Cemetery, 1913. Photograph: Clare Gervasoni
Emanual Steinfeld table from the Ballarat Town Hall. Photograph: Clare Gervasoni, 2017
Emanual Steinfeld plate from table from the Ballarat Town Hall. Photograph: Clare Gervasoni, 2017


Steinfeld was born in Prussia in 1828.[1]. He married Teresa.

Steinfeld died 16 April 1893, aged 64 years. He is buried in the Ballaarat Old Cemetery.

Goldfields Involvement, 1854

Post 1854 Experiences

From 1866 to 1869 Steinfeld was Mayor of Ballarat East, and from 1887 to 1888 Steinfeld was President of the Victorian Chamber of Manufacturers. [2]

A move to St Kilda in 1870 saw Steinfeld open a furniture business with his brother in law Hyman Levinson. [3]


Mr, Steinfold, M.L.C., who died in Adelaide recently, was a member of the Victorian Legislative Council and an ex-president of the Chamber of Manufactures. He was a native of the province of Silesia, Germany, and was 64 years of age. He went to London about 45 years ago, and there entered the employ of the firm of Krone Bros., merchants. When the gold rush to Australia broke out the firm decided to open a branch in Melbourne, and Mr. Steinfold came out as junior partner in the firm to take charge of the business. They opened a large establishment in Melbourne and subsequently an important branch in Ballarat, and in connection with the latter built two of the earliest hotels there, viz., tho Victoria and the Free Trade, and it may be interesting to state that the Eureka Stockade, which played an important part in the miners' riot, was close to the latter building. Mr. Steinfeld continued to conduct the Ballarat business for some considerable time, until the firm was dissolved - in consequence of the death of one of its members at home. He then started business on his own account at Ballarat. In the year 1859 he first exhibited an interest in public affairs by be coming a candidate for a seat in the municipal council, and being elected continued to hold the position for 15 years, during which time he was elected Mayor of the borough for three consecutive years, an honor which has not been conferred upon any other person up to the present time. He took a great interest in everything pertaining to the welfare of the town and district, more especially the important question of water supply, and he was the founder of the Gong Gong scheme of reservoirs, which to the present day gives Ballarat one of the best water supplies in the colonies. It was during his term of office as Mayor that Prince Alfred, now the Duke of Edinburgh, came to the colonies, and Mr. Steinfeld entertained him during his visit to Ballarat, He also took an active part in the management of charitable institutions, and was the founder of the Ballarat District Orphan Asylum, which is now one of the largest and most important institutions of the kind in tho colonies. He was appointed, a magistrate during his mayoralty, and also held high distinction in the Masonic craft, his rank being P.D.G. warden. In 1874 he opened another furniture establishment in Elizabeth-street, Melbourne, which proved so successful that two years later he erected very extensive buildings in the same street, and joined in partnership with his brother-in-law (Mr. H. Levinson), the firm becoming Steinfeld, Levinson and Co. This business grew apace with the advance of Melbourne, and soon occupied a premier position in that line until 1887, when the land boom being at its height tho firm decided to dispose of its valuable premises, and the business of the firm was wound up. Mr. Steinfeld than devoted his attention to matters of public concern and politics, and he took a most active part in the affairs of the Melbourne Chamber of Manufactures, of which he has been president. He was an-earnest advocate of the principles of colonial federation and, intercolonial free-trade. Through his instrumentality intercolonial conferences of the Chambers of Manufactures were held at Melbourne, Adelaide and Sydney respectively, at each of which he had the honor of being elected president. His ideas of federation have since to a considerable extant been adopted by Sir Henry Parkes, and it was in the furtherance of the objects of federation that Mr. Steinfeld, being accredited by the Melbourne Chamber of Manufactures, paid Adelaide a visit, when the misfortune befell him. Altogether, Mr. Steinfeld paid four visits to America, Great Britain and the Continent of Europe on business connected with his establishment, and he did not forget to take stock of any matter which struck him as likely to be useful to tho colonies in any phapo or form. On his last visit he was specially accredited by the Victorian Minister of Education to inquire into the systems of technical education which prevailed in the various parts of the world that he was visiting, and on this subject ho reported on his return. Mr. Steinfeld was also appointed chairman of a royal commission on technical education, which had been created by the then Victorian Government. A vacancy having occurred in the Legislative Council for the Wellington province, which includes Ballarat, by effluxion of time, Mr. Steinfeld stood in opposition to the retiring member, who sought re-election, and was successful in defeating his opponent by a substantial majority in September, 1892. Mr. Steinfeld was a widower and has left no family.[4]

In the News

We regret to have to announce the death of Mr. Hyman Levinson of St Kilda, Melbourne. The deceased gentleman had been unwell for some days suffering with rheumatism which, touching the heart, caused serious symptoms to appear. His constitution was however so strong that he could cope with his infirmities until on Friday morning, the 14th inst, while Dr. Joske was present with his patient, Mr. Levinson was stricken with an apoplexy from which he never recovered, but died peacefully with his family by his bedside at three o'clock in the morning of Friday the 21st inst. The deceased gentleman was 71 years of age. He was born at Posen in February 1834 and at the age of nine went with his parents to Sheffield. Though he left his native town thus early, his recollections of it were to the last phenomenally clear and accurate. In Sheffield he remained till 1854, when, at that time 20 years of age, he came to Victoria in company with the late Mr. Abraham Myers, his cousin, late of Ballarat and of Dunedin, on board the 'Marco Polo' a small sailing ship which carried 300 immigrants to the land of the new found goldfields. Arriving in Melbourne he found his way almost at once to Ballarat, then in the midst of the turbulence which preceded the riots. He pitched his tent and set out in a make-shift window his small watchmaker's stock-in-trade. In the riotous days which fol lowed, he lost his modest possessions and narrowly escaped with his life. In later years he used to tell how the troops under Captain Wise were drawn up on both sides of the main road, quite near to his own tent, when a rough digger crept into the shelter of his canvas and deliberately took aim at the captain with a revolver. He remonstrated with the man, pointing out to him that if a shot, were fired, the Military would reply, directing their fire towards them and that they would both be killed. Failing in his efforts to dissuade the man he promptly called the attention of the officer to the situation. The miscreant, shrunk away, and soon tbe troops left the scene, not to appear again until after the stockade had been taken. But after they had gone Mr. Levinson saw a file of diggers approaching him. They attacked him, destroyed his belongings, and drove him to refuge in a shop kept by a Mr. Abrahams in the Main Road where he remained in biding for some days till the sound of the jingling of swords in the early morning of Sunday, the 3rd December told its story that the troopers were about again and the Eureka Stockade had been taken. He used to say that he was one of the very first to visit the scene of the conflict, which he would describe in after years in the minutest detail. Recently he had the satisfaction of receiving a special invitation from the committee, which arranged the cele brations upon the fiftieth anniversary of the event. He was familiar with all those who, like Peter Lalor, were figures of those stirring days. Indeed throughout the long period of his connection with Ballarat he was acquainted, sometimes intimately, with all its public men and his reminiscences were equivalent to a history of the town he dearly loved. In 1860 Mr. Levinson paid a visit to his parents in England, returning in the Great Britain with his sister, who became the wife of his partner of later years, and Miss Augusta Jacobs, third daughter of Mr. E. Jacobs of Manchester, and sister of Mr. Isaac Jacobs of Melbourne, the lady who was destined to become his wife, and to whom he married at St Kilda (Melbourne) on the 20th March, 1861. Soon afterwards he resigned his first business into the hands of his brother, Mr. Mark Levinson, now of Perth, upon his own appointment as Official Assignee in Insolvency, an office he held for many years, accumulating a wide knowledge of Insolvency Law. In 1877 he joined the late Mr. Emanuel Steinfeld (afterwards member of the Legislative Council for the Wellington Province) in the firm of Steinfeld, Levinson and Co. He thereupon removed to Melbourne, and since 1879 he has resided at St. Kilda. In 1888 both he and Mr. Steinfeld retired from business. Mr. Levinson, however, retained the office of Official Liquidator, which he filled till the time of his death. Since relinquishing business he has lived a retired life, deeply interested in com munal affairs, though of late his age and in firmities prevented him from taking an active part in them, deeply interested besides in the history and the present conditions of the Jewish people and in the consideration of scientific and philosophical subjects. In Ballarat he gave invaluable services to the local public and charitable institutions. He was one of the founders of the Ballarat Orphan Asylum and one of its first presidents, and its superintendent has frequently declared that it is in no small measure due to his early advice and guidance that that institution s probably the best managed and most successful institution of its kind in Australia. He was at one time president of the local hospital and for many years a member of its committee, and some of his practical ideas carried out then and there have since been adopted by all the hospitals of Victoria. He was director of various companies, notably of the famous Newington and Winter's Freehold claims. In Masonry he was a Past Master of the Yarrowee Lodge and Past Junior Grand Warden of the Grand Lodge. He was one of the founders of the Ballarat Synagogue, and was in turn secretary, treasurer and president of the local Congregation. Later he served for many years on the committee of the St. Kilda Hebrew Congregation, and in his time held the offices of president and treasurer. He was a loyal and observant and liberal minded Jew. It is 17 years since Mr. Levinson retired from business but his reputation in commercial circles for integrity, and ability remains a distinguished one. Deliberate and wise, his opinion was always valuable and his advice was often sought and always with advantage, especially in matters of finance, whether commercial or public, in which he was remarkably well qualified.
Mr. Levinson leaves a widow and a united family of 12 children and 17 grandchildren. His relatives in Sydney are Mrs. W. Zander (daughter) and Mrs. C. Nettheim (sister). The funeral took place on Sunday, the 23rd inst., leaving the deceased gentleman's late residence, Chatsworth,' Beaconsfield Parade, St. Kilda, for the St Kilda Cemetery, where the Rev. Dr. Abrahams ministered at the grave. [5]

See also


Hyman Levinson

Further Reading

Corfield, J.,Wickham, D., & Gervasoni, C. The Eureka Encyclopaedia, Ballarat Heritage Services, 2004.



  1. Rubenstein, Hilary, The Jews in Australia Vol. 1, William Heinemann Australia, 1991.
  2. Rubenstein, Hilary, The Jews in Australia Vol. 1, William Heinemann Australia, 1991.
  3. Rubenstein, Hilary, The Jews in Australia Vol. 1, William Heinemann Australia, 1991.
  4. Australian Star, 22 April 1893.
  5. Hebrew Standard, 28 April 1905.
  6. Wickham, D., Gervasoni, C. & Phillipson, W., Eureka Research Directory, Ballarat Heritage Services, 1999.

External links