Campaign to save Harry Seidler-designed Bondi synagogue continues

22 March 2024 | Media Release

Moves to protect the 1950s Harry Seidler-designed synagogue at 34 Flood Street, Bondi from demolition have ramped up a notch with Waverley Council seeking another Interim Heritage Order (IHO) for the site.

It comes after the Independent Planning Commission (IPC) recommended to the Department of Planning, Housing and Infrastructure (DPHI) that the synagogue should not be heritage listed as a local heritage item in the Waverley Local Environmental Plan (WLEP) 2012 in its Advice Report dated 13 March 2024.

The synagogue displays Seidler's distinctive interpretation of the Bauhaus style. Image: Max Dupain, copyright Penelope Seidler.

Mayor of Waverley, Paula Masselos said the IPC’s recommendation is highly concerning given a Council appointed independent heritage expert has found that the synagogue does meets numerous categories of heritage significance under the Heritage NSW Guideline, rendering it worthy of heritage listing on both local and state registers.

“If the Department agrees with the IPC’s recommendation and does not list the site as a local heritage item, the synagogue is at risk of demolition under complying development legislation,” Mayor Masselos said.

“Heritage listing the building as an item under the Waverley LEP 2012 will provide ongoing protection and recognition of the heritage significance of the building and its interiors.”

Council’s IHO on the site was valid for one year and expired in early February. Council is not able to seek a second IHO but can apply to the Minister for Heritage, Penny Sharpe for another IHO.

On Tuesday night, Council resolved to write to Minister Sharpe seeking a second IHO to allow the ongoing State Heritage Register (SHR) assessment of the building to be properly completed before the Department decides whether it should be listed as a heritage item under the Waverley LEP 2012 based on the IPC’s recommendation.

The synagogue is recognised as a ground-breaking building for its time and displays architect Seidler’s distinctive interpretation of the Bauhaus style. It also has strong historical significance for the development of Jewish religion in NSW because it is the first Talmudical school with integral synagogue.

The synagogue was ground-breaking for its time. Images: Max Dupain, copyright Penelope Seidler.

There was an overwhelmingly positive community and industry response received about the proposed heritage listing of the synagogue during the August and September 2023 public exhibition, with 41 of 48 submissions strongly supporting the listing.

“Currently, there is a brief opportunity for Council and the community to advocate to the Department on this matter, raising concerns about IPC’s Advice Report and reiterating the site’s heritage merits,” Mayor Masselos said. “The Department has until 5 April 2024 to make their final decision; however, they may determine the planning proposal before this deadline, leaving the synagogue at risk of demolition.”

How the community can help 

To request that Minister Sharpe grant an Interim Heritage Order on the site to allow time for Heritage NSW to complete its assessment for state heritage-listing, email To provide feedback to Paul Scully, Minister for Planning and Public Spaces, email


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