Judah Solomon (1781–1856)
In 1830 Judah Solomon was convicted of ‘living in a state of illicit intercourse’. Elizabeth Howell was his housekeeper, and had born him a son.
For most convicts, being transported signalled the end of a marriage back home, and many took a new spouse in the Colony. But Jewish law still required a formal divorce. Judah was not free to marry Elizabeth because he still had a wife in London.
In 1832 Judah’s lawful wife Esther landed in Hobart. Their marital dispute was public, ugly, and continued for thirteen years, greatly damaging Judah’s reputation.
Despite his huge contribution in land and cash to the Hobart Hebrew Congregation, to build a synagogue, Judah’s passing in 1856 was without comment. Judah was wealthy, but in colonial society he was not a gentleman or Englishman. He was a convict and a Jew.