The 1861 census was conducted on 7 April 1861. It includes data for the first time about Kew. The population of Kew is given as 1,439 persons. While it is noted that Kew has five clergymen and six places of worship, none are Jewish or are for Jews. Nor do any of the residents of Kew surveyed on the night of the 1861 census volunteer their religion to be Jewish.

The census records 2,903 persons who identify themselves as Jewish, 1,857 of whom are male and 1,046 female. Predictably, Jews at this period were spread throughout Victoria. There were sizeable communities in Geelong, Ballarat and Bendigo. Most Jews in 1861 lived in Melbourne in what we now conceive of as the inner suburbs.

The snapshot of the Jewish population of Melbourne provided by the census indicates that the vast majority of Melbourne Jews lived in areas such as East Melbourne (776), West Melbourne (307), Collingwood (286), St Kilda (214), North Melbourne (97) and Richmond (55). Typically, for a population influenced by the lure of the gold rushes, men outnumbered women almost two to one. For example in East Melbourne, men (484) outnumbered women (292), as they did in St Kilda (214/114).

In the municipality of Kew, women (728) in contrast outnumbered men (711), as they were to in each successive Victorian census.

Source: Historical Census and Colonial Data Archive (HCCDA), Victorian Censuses 1854-1901.

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