Portrait of Jacob Barrow Montefiore #456 (b1801 Barbados; d1895 England)
Painted about 1870 by British painter Barnett Samuel Marks 1827-1916.
 Presented to the Adelaide Art Gallery by the subject in the 1892-4 period (see ref 284).
 A brief biography from (ref 54) is included in our main genealogy under his name (but see note 12 below).
  This statue is located on Montefiore Hill, North Adelaide and is of Colonel Light, the Surveyor-General of South Australia who in 1837 sited and laid out the city of Adelaide. The site is known as Light's Vision and is near the intersection of Montefiore Road which leads from Adelaide's CBD to Montefiore Hill and the short cross-street called Montefiore Hill. The statue commands a splendid view over the Adelaide Cricket Ground and the city to the Adelaide Hills in the east. Montefiore Hill was named after Jacob Barrow Montefiore (see note 3 below).


In 1834 Jacob Barrow Montefiore was appointed by King William 4 as one of the 11 original Commissioners of the South Australian Colonization Commission, and at his death was the last surviving member. Sir Moses Montefiore #196, who had played a key role in financing £15m of British Government compensation to slave owners, had requested the appointment of his cousin Jacob Barrow Montefiore to the Commission (ref 79)! The Commission obtained a 1834 Act of Parliament for it to colonize South Australia along the lines proposed by Edward Gibbon Wakefield (see note 2 below). The powers of the Commission vis-a-vis the Governor of the new colony were unclear, and from 1842 the South Australian Governor reported directly to the British Government; and though the Commissioners lost their positions (see note 11 below), some of the Commission's budget survived until 1851 and perhaps longer (see note 6 below).

Jacob Barrow Montefiore was a partner in J Barrow Montefiore & Co with his brother Joseph Barrow Montefiore and was an initial director in the Bank of Australasia which was the foundation of the ANZ Bank. Joseph was the Sydney representative through J Barrow Montefiore & Co. Their nephew, the very successful and influential Jacob Levi Montefiore, who arrived in 1837 (see note 4 below) later became director of this same bank. Both brothers suffered London bankruptcy proceedings in 1844.

Jacob visited Australia twice. The first (fleeting - see note 11 below) visit was to Adelaide in 1843 when the local newspaper reported his civic reception given despite the British Government having just assumed direct control of the Colony. The second was to Victoria in 1851-5 (see note 5 below) where he was agent for Messrs Rothschild (see note 1 below). His Victorian period followed the start of the great Victorian gold rushes, and ended somewhat ignominiously for ref 285 points out that Jacob went underwater financially so that Rothschild employees had to be sent to Melbourne to diagnose and rectify matters; this explains Jacob's 1855 departure and perhaps also his brother Joseph's payments to him in 1853. Nevertheless, his Melbourne stay, and the activities of his son Leslie (see note 7 below), can be credited with assisting the Rothschilds buy Australian gold, an activity that continues to this day.


1. The Rothschild connection arose because Sir Moses Montefiore #196 in 1812 and Nathan Mayer Rothschild in 1806 married sisters Judith and Hannah Barent-Cohen, daughters of the 2nd marriage of Levi Barent-Cohen 1747-1808 (see ref 283 for the broader family ramifications). In the Melbourne Argus of 6 Oct 1852 Jacob Montefiore & Co. of Market Square advertised drafts 'at liberal rates of exchange' on Messrs N M Rothschild & Sons. Ref 282 and 285 reveal the Montefiore correspondence with Messrs N M Rothschild & Sons.

2. Wakefield became disillusioned by this effort, because land sales - aimed at financing the venture - were not in his opinion priced sufficiently high above the low levels achieved in New South Wales and Tasmania; see ref 76.

3. A source for this attribution is www.samemory.sa.gov.au.

4.  Jacob the brother and Jacob the nephew of Joseph Barrow Montefiore have on occasion been mistaken for each other in the literature, but here it is clear from ref 53 that the 1837 arrival was not an early visit of Jacob Barrow Montefiore who only visited Australia twice as discussed above.

5. Jacob arrived in Melbourne in late 1851 (see note 8 below). This was just after the Gold Rushes started, as the Rothschild correspondence shows (see note 1) and Jacob served several years in Melbourne as agent of the Rothschilds. UK Census data for 1871 (seen on MyHeritage.com) shows his 4th and youngest daughter Victoria Violet aged 17 was born in Melbourne. The UK Census data for 1861 (also seen on MyHeritage.com) shows him living in Hove, Sussex. His second Australian stay therefore seems to have been confined to the 1850s. Newspaper reports show him in Melbourne from 1852 (see note 1). He stayed until 1855, for advertised on 7 Feb 1855 in the Melbourne Argus was the forthcoming auction of the 'superb and well-selected' furniture of Jacob Montefiore, the auctioneer acting on instructions of Leslie Montefiore, and the location to be the Victoria Parade premises of Jacob Montefiore & Co. Leslie Montefiore was no doubt the 1st son of Jacob with a lifespan 1830-1909, and whose synagogue name was Eliezer (son of) Jacob, after his paternal grandfather Eliezer Montefiore 1761-1837 #453 (as shown in ref 170 pt1p3). On 17 May 1855 in the Melbourne Argus appeared a notice of the withdrawal of Leslie J Montefiore from a Geelong partnership with William Macdonald, leaving behind in the partnership Sydney Benjamin Montefiore, no doubt the 2nd son of Jacob. Leslie spent an earlier period in Melbourne (see note 7) but he married in London in 1854. After 1855 he left again, for he was living in Cheshire by 1860 (the 1861 English Census shows 2 children born there), and eventually died in Richmond, Surrey.

6. In 1851, it still held funds to support migration to the Colony. The Adelaide Times of 7 June 1851 reported remarks of Mr E L Montefiore to this effect.

7. Leslie could hardly have arrived with Jacob and family on 3 Dec 1851 for ref 282 shows that by 18 Dec 1851 (as reported in the 18 Dec 1851 letter) Leslie had duties in one of the family's Melbourne businesses and also that he had already experienced first-hand the new Victorian gold fields and intended returning. Indeed the Geelong Advertiser on 19 Sep 1851 reported that a Mr Montefiore had shown the reporter several nuggets he had (luckily he said) found at Yuille's Creek, Buninyong. Earlier on 15 July 1851 a Mr L Montefiore had attended a function celebrating the commencement of the term of Lt-Governor Latrobe of the new State of Victoria (The Argus 16 Jul 1851 p2). Leslie may in fact not have returned to the diggings for he advertised his services as a bullion broker in the 29 Dec 1851 Melbourne Argus! With evident lack of coordination on 1 Jan 1852 Montefiore & Co. also advertised to buy gold! Later, as the Melbourne Argus reported on 26 May 1853, the Birthday Ball given by the Lt-Governor was attended by Leslie Montefiore and also Mr H Montefiore (we guess that this person was the 14 year-old son of Joseph ie Herbert Barrow Montefiore who appeared as a year 6 pupil of St Peter's in Adelaide in 1852 - rather than the Mr H M Montefiore described in note 9); see note 10  for another notable attendee at this function.

8. The Geelong Advertiser 5 Dec 1851 reported this. The ship was the Vimiera from London and he was accompanied by his wife and family (which was not listed). His first name was not reported either, and this possibly led to confusion as to who arrived at this time. It was Joseph's brother Jacob. For as the Australian of 10 Oct 1837 shows, a Jacob Montefiore arrived in Sydney on the Lord William Bentinck on 8 Oct who according to ref 53 was the childless Jacob Levi Montefiore, Joseph's nephew. Also a nephew, and brother of Jacob Levi Montefiore, Eliezer Levi Montefiore arrived in Melbourne in 1853.

9. He was formerly a gold assayer at the Royal Mint who with Henry Joseph was to establish a gold smelting and assaying firm in Melbourne as advertised in The Argus 6 Sep 1856 p6.

10. The Superintendent of Penal Establishments also attended (this was Samuel Barrow).

11. He arrived 21 May 1843 on the Emma, according to the South Australian Register 24 May 1843, which referred to him as one of the 'late' Board of Commissioners for South Australia. He left around 30 Aug 1843, for the South Australian Register published on that day his farewell letter written on the eve of his departure for Madras. According to the South Australian Register of 19 Jun 1844, his ship of departure was the Taglioni, and that after his return to England on 11 Jan 1844 he met the Under-secretary of State for the Colonies on 12 Feb, pressing the need for more emigration to South Australia and requesting the reinstatement of £56,000 to the Land Fund.

12. The published biographies are somewhat unreliable - our account above corrects errors in the timing of his 2 visits to Australia and his activities during each visit.