Our History

In the 1800’s sport was organised for a small group of Jews living in Australia. By 1912 there were 6 sporting organisations in Sydney.

In 1924, The Sydney Judaean Amateur Athletic Association (SJAA) wrote to Rabbi Israel Brodie in Melbourne asking if there was any interest in an interstate cricket match. The Judaean league of Victoria replied and the result was a cricket match between the two states in Melbourne in December 1924.

1925 saw the beginning of the annual sporting carnivals. The first was held in Sydney between New South Wales and Victoria in 4 sports for men: cricket, athletics, swimming and tennis. Women competed in the 1928/29 carnival for the first time. This carnival was held in Melbourne.

After the 9th carnival in Melbourne held in 1934 the Australian Judaean Sports Council (AJSC) was established to control Jewish sport in Australia and be responsible for the annual carnivals. It wasn’t until 1954 when it was decided that the seat of office of the Council would alternate on a 3 year basis between Melbourne and Sydney. The late Basil Isaacs became the first President.
In 1960 the name of the organisation was changed to Australian Maccabi Council and then again in 1974 to Australian Maccabi Federation.

In 1991 the name was changed to Maccabi Australia Inc. (MAI). In 2004, The Maccabi Australia constitution was changed. In 2007, a Board of Governors was formed and a Grievance Committee as well as a governance process was established.

Australia first competed at the 3rd Maccabiah Games in Israel in 1950 with one tennis player, Elias Honig. Since then the participation at the Games has increased significantly and has hit a peak of 500 competitors in 2005. The most significant moment in Maccabi Australia’s history was the collapse of the bridge over the Yarkon River at the opening Ceremony of the Maccabiah Games in 1997. The collapse resulted in death of four Australian competitors and injury to numerous others.

The first Maccabi Australia Games (MAGS) was held in Canberra in 2004 and the first MAIGS was held in Sydney 2006 with a large number of overseas countries competing. An Australian team competed at the Pan American Maccabi Games for the first time in 1991.

Maccabi Life - Loyalty and Rewards Launched
Maccabiah Games 2022


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