|01 Glebe Town Hall||02 Glebe Post Office||03 Glebe Police Station|
|04 Queen Victoria Record Reign Hall||05 St. John’s Bishopthorpe Anglican Church||10 Toxteth Lodge|
|07 St. Scholastica’s College||08 Lyndhurst||09 Tranby, Glebe|
|13 Grace Bros Department Store, Glebe||14 Glebe Courthouse||15 The Kauri Hotel, Glebe|
|16 7 Toxteth Road, Glebe||17 Wychwood, Avenue Road, Glebe||18 Glebe Fire Station|
|20 Woodwork house, Glebe||23 Australian Youth Hotel, Glebe||24 Venetia [Bellevue], Glebe|
|25 1 Toxteth Road, Glebe||26 Australand Townhouses, Glebe||27 Burley Griffin Incinerator, Glebe|
|28 University Hall, Glebe||29 Reussdale and The Abbey, Glebe||30 Sze Yup Chinese Temple, Glebe|
|31 St. James RC Church||32 Glebe War Memorial||33 Badde Manors, Glebe|
|12 Bidura, Glebe||35 Light Rail, Glebe||36 Hartford, Glebe|
|39 Rozelle Tram Depot||21 Harold Park||Harold Park main page|
|40 Glass Loggia House|
Some links to do with the Rozelle Tram Depot-
Sydney Tramsheds Gallery- http://sydneyarchitecture.com/GALL/GALL-TRAMS.htm
Former Tram Depots of Sydney- http://sydneyarchitecture.com/HP/GALL-HP-06.htm
Rozelle Tram Depot- http://sydneyarchitecture.com/GLE/GLE39.htm
Rozelle Tram Depot historical images- http://sydneyarchitecture.com/HP/GALL-HP-04.htm
THE BIRTH OF THE GLEBE SOCIETY
The Glebe Society was officially launched at a function in Glebe Town
Hall in, I believe, 1968.
If my memory serves me, Dr Kemp Fowler, who had some executive role at
Sydney University and lived in Leichhardt Street, chaired the inaugural
We must have publicised the meeting well, for I think over 50 turned up
(which, given the then low level of gentrification, was a surprisingly
large number). Yet I also seem to recall that it was held in a heavy
storm, which may have deterred a few potential attendees.
Bernard Smith, Professor of Fine Arts at Sydney University, was elected
the inaugural President.
I was elected vice-president.
My wife Sandra was elected secretary.
Bernard's wife Kate became social secretary.
I have a feeling that Max Solling was elected treasurer (though I may
be wrong - Max was certainly involved in the launch of the Society, for
I recall him hosting at least one pre-launch meeting in his rented
premises in Glebe Point Road).
There was little or no involvement by "old Glebe" residents, many of
who viewed what they saw as Paddington-type gentrification of "their"
suburb with deep suspicion, bordering on hostility.
An interesting question to ask (and we asked it at the time - see my
answer below) is: was there a viable or substantial "old Glebe" community in 1968?
Were we obtruding into something important, even precious? Were we
responsible, perhaps, for its weakening, even its ultimate destruction?
I'll go back to that in a moment.
For I want to return to the launch of the society, and what led up to
it (for I gather the history of the society is being compiled).
Historically, it followed the establishment, first, of the Paddington
Society, then that society's first "clone", the Balmain Association.
(The inner-Sydney gentrification movement having started in Paddington
in the early 1960s, and spreading, first, to Balmain, then, next, to
To a large extent, it was the example of the Paddington Society that
played midwife to the Glebe Society, and led to its coming into existence.
The Paddington Society itself had been inspired by London's Chelsea
Society, which had been founded by a gentleman called Marsden-Smedley,
possibly in the 1930s. His son, Luke Marsden-Smedley, a railway
engineer, came out to Sydney in the late 1950s and, to his colleagues'
dismay, decided to settle in Paddington, then regarded a little more
than a slum, ripe only for demolition.
Luke and John Thompson (poet and broadcaster), with the help of an
architect called Gazzard I think, resolved to "save" Paddington, and
the Paddington Society, consciously modelled on the Chelsea Society,
was one of their main instruments of preservation.
Sandra and I knew Luke and his wife Marigold very well because of our
mutual friend, the artist Paul Delprat (we four were on the board of
the Julian Ashton Art School - Paul being the great grandson of Julian Ashton).
At the time we were living in rented premises in South Street,
Edgecliff, but hungered after a terrace house like Luke's in Hargrave Street.
However, we couldn't afford the Paddington prices (over $20,000 for
anything at all decent), nor was Balmain much cheaper. But Glebe was.
Sandra and I were both going back to Sydney University to do courses
(it was the Wyndham gap year), and so Glebe, adjacent to the
university, was a logical place for us to look (besides, I knew a bit
about Glebe - see below).
Around the same time, a number of SU staff were also looking around
Glebe for places to buy. Some had already moved in. Bernard Smith had
just been appointed Professor of Fine Arts, and he had found a house in
Avenue Road in the Toxteth estate.
So it turned out that, around the end of 1967, we ourselves found a
lovely, un-done-up terrace house around the corner from Avenue Road in
Toxteth Road (it cost $13,500, which we could just afford, mortgaging
ourselves to the hilt).
At that stage we did not know Bernard and Kate. However, we met soon
after, and the idea of forming the Glebe Society was born.
The actual genesis of the Society took place at a meeting at Newington
College (where Paul Delprat was the art master). Newington's
headmaster, Doug Traithem, had either just been sacked for his
anti-Vietnam views, or was threatened with dismissal (by the then head
of the ABC - Talbot Duckmanton - who was on the board of Newington).
Sandra was at this protest meeting (I was working that night on the
Daily Telegraph) and she met there Bernard and Kate, who were also supporting
They discovered that we lived within a few hundred yards of each other,
having recently moved in. I do not know if it was Sandra who suggested
to Bernard forming a local society (I suspect, given the
Marsden-Smedley connection, that it was), but in any case the
suggestion was made, and a decision taken there and then to follow it up.
Which was all very well, but a lot had to be done before we could hold
that inaugural meeting in Glebe Town Hall.
I was put in charge of the politics (I was doing Government 1 at Sydney
University, and was very interested in politics from my journalistic
background - I was deputy chief sub at the Daily Telegraph, and had
been deputy State Roundsman)
The local political situation, however, was very complex - far more
complex than anyone realised.
The first thing was to find out what sort of place we were trying to
"preserve", what were the threats, what were the existing power
structures, who were the community leaders (indeed, what were the
existing community subsets), who were our allies, who our likely opposition, and so on.
There appeared to be two main threats. One was Parks Development, a big
real estate "developer", which was trying (very hard) to get the
foreshore land, which was zoned "waterfront industrial" (even though
the waterfront industries - timberyards, etc - were in terminal decay).
The fact that Max Solling worked for the Maritime Services Board, which
was in charge of the foreshore land, was a plus for us. As was the
fact that my father was high up in the Department of Main Roads (see below).
The other threat was what were called "three-storey walk-ups".
For what was happening in Glebe was that developers (like Parkes
Development) had moved in, and were actively demolishing old houses
(Glebe was once a very fashionable suburb) and replacing them with
three-storey, red-brick apartment blocks, of very low quality, and
abutting directly on to the street.
And Leichhardt Council, the local authority, was being (suspiciously)
compliant in this obvious rampant destruction of Glebe.
Oh, yes, and there was a third - and perhaps the greatest - threat,
called "the Western Distributor".
This was a Main Roads plan - believe it or not - to drive an open-cut
expressway through the heart of Glebe. Worse, it was to go through the
middle of the Toxteth estate, and would have meant, for example, the
destruction of the old Allen home - Toxteth House - then (as now) St
We could not confront these horrors immediately, but it did give us a
potential constituency. And so we began to enlist the incipient
opposition to these threats thus generated to our preservation cause.
(Along with "easy" support targets, such as the academics who were
increasingly moving in - I recall that a Professor of Architecture
lived around the corner from us in Mansfield Street.)
But the key, it seemed to me, was Leichhardt Council. And here there
was a crucial local "power-broker" - the deputy Mayor, Les McMahon.
Les was a man on the make. He was an official of the Plumbers' Union,
and an up-and-comer on the right of the Labor Party. He lived with his
family in a Housing Commission bungalow in Forest Lodge, behind the Lew
Hoad Reserve. He had married the daughter of the local MP, Danny
Minogue (who lived a few doors up from Bernard in Avenue Road). And he
had just replaced the previous local Labor big-wig, "Doc" Foley (it was
a very Irish-Catholic area, despite its Anglican origins).
Doc, who was still very much alive, and president of local Labor's
Glebe Point branch, was a rather seedy GP, whose surgery was in Glebe
Point Road, near Boyce Street. He had commandeered a concrete bus
bench for his waiting room, and dispensed doctors' certificates and
local patronage in traditional Tammany fashion. (Once he had
commandeered a council steam-roller, so legend had it, repainted it,
and sold it back to the
council.) Around the Wentworth Park Housing Commission estate was
graffiti declaring "DOC FOLEY WEARS LACE UNDERPANTS".
But Glebe was now Les's bailiwick, and viewed it as his stepping-stone
to higher things (he eventually succeeded Jim Cope as the local MHR).
He immediately saw the emerging Glebe Society - for he would have soon
seen our "recruiting" literature - as a threat, or challenge, to his
"territory". And here he had in his vision the example of what had
happened recently in Balmain, also Leichhardt Council territory.
Balmain, once the very cradle of Labor power in Sydney, was slipping
away from the party, as gentrification and, even more worryingly,
left-wing radicalism set in. Les and Labor had seen some of their
branches in Balmain taken over by - horror of all horrors - the Trots
(not Harold Park, but followers of Leon Trotsky). The names Origlass
and Wyner, Trotskyite Balmain Labor turncoats, had struck fear in local
Labor throughout the Leichhardt Municipality. The last thing Les
wanted was to see that repeated in his own backyard.
So it was a very concerned Les who sought a meeting with me in mid-1968
(a date which had other resonances - Detroit was burning, and Paris in
First, he tried to come to grips with what we were after. He took me
around "his" Glebe, pointing out various items we might try to preserve
(including the bandstand in Jubilee Park and the AIF memorial fronting
what is now (surprise, surprise!) the Dr H.J. Foley Rest Park.
I told him we were more interested in the tiles on the steps of the
houses in Victoria Road, and the Cape Cod architecture in Toxteth Road.
He confessed to me that, although he had lived all his life in Glebe,
he had never "seen" those tiles before, nor realised they were of significance.
Strangely, but gradually, he began to look on me, and through me the
nascent Glebe Society, as his education about a Glebe he had never
before realised existed. (Eventually, we became friends.)
And it was because of this blossoming relationship (coupled with my
fervent assurances that we had no political designs on or in Glebe)
that he sent me to see the real power in Glebe - Father Roberts.
Father Roberts, with whom I was granted an audience in the Catholic
presbytery in Woolley Street, grilled me on the motives behind what we
were doing in the area. (I gathered that Les had told him that we were
benign, but he wanted to hear for himself.)
However, his primary concern was not our political potential, nor even
our preservation activities (though the fact that we were trying to
save St Scholastica's went down well with him). Rather it was our
It turned out that he had heard we were interested in saving Lyndhurst,
the then almost derelict former mansion in Bellevue Street. And
residing in Lyndhurst, apparently, was a religious cult called "The Children of God".
Worse, its local leader had shown interest in our activities (naturally
enough, as we wanted to save his premises), and Father Roberts was very
afraid that we might be in cahoots with him and his sect.
What had happened, I learned out later, was that the sect was proselytising
in the Catholic areas of Glebe (particularly in the Glebe church area
between Parramatta Road and St Johns Road), and gaining converts among the
young. When I laid his fears in this direction at rest, he gave his
considerable imprimatur to our plans to form the Glebe Society.
And so, with local Labor and the Catholic Church onside, or at least
neutralised, we were able to go ahead and hold our inaugural meeting in the
Glebe Town Hall.
The rest is history.
As it happened, the Glebe Society did play a role in stopping the Western
Distributor (which now goes through Lilyfield) and thus saving St
Scholastica's and much of Glebe Point. We also stopped any more
three-storey "walk-up" developments. And although we lost some foreshore
land, most of it was saved.
And not only did we preserve the Cape Cod houses in Toxteth Road, and the
more-significant Italianate villas in Allen Street and elsewhere, but we
were present at the creation of the Federation style in Australia's
architectural history. Bernard and I were walking along Bell Street one
Sunday when we came to the house - "Montana" - on the corner of Boyce
Street. Bernard stopped and said: "You know, that style of house is now
called 'Queen Anne'. That's not very appropriate. It should have a
better, more Australian name." And he thought for a moment, then said:
"It was probably built around 1900. I think that style should be called
'Federation'." And so it has been, ever since.
Finally, what happened to us, the Darrochs? Well, around 1970, London
beckoned. So in 1971 we sold our house in Toxteth Road (doubling our
investment) and sailed off to Europe. With our windfall, we bought a large
house in what was then the worst part of Notting Hill (we inherited 13
black tenants!). But we could see a suburb that was bound to rise. And it
did. Alas, however, we sold too early. The house we finally ended up in,
before moving back to Sydney, we let go in 1992 for the equivalent of
$600,000. But Notting Hill continued to "improve", and indeed accelerated.
That house is today worth the equivalent of $4 million. Weep, weep.
Still, you can't win them all.
And the local community? Were we responsible for its demise? - for I doubt
if there is much left today as we found it in 1967/8. Interestingly, I
know something about that pre-Glebe-Society community, for my mother grew
up in Wigram Road and later lived in Toxteth Road. It was a tough,
working-class community, very Irish-Catholic. (As were Paddington and
Balmain, pre-preservation-society.) But it was decaying by the time we
middle-class yuppies started moving in. To be frank, they - the
pre-Glebe-Society community - looked on Glebe as a slum. It was a place to
escape from, given any excuse, and as quickly as possible. They didn't
take much pushing to quit for greener fields, perhaps at Winston Hills.
But, also to be frank, what we in the Glebe Society were doing was
restoring Glebe to what it was before its decline in the first-half of the
last century.one of Sydney's better suburbs, full of rare and marvellous
buildings, as Bernard's book, "The Architectural Character of Glebe"
pointed out. That, I hope, is what we will be remembered for.
|A ‘glebe’ (from the Latin glaeba, meaning ‘a clod of earth’) is a piece of land which has been given to the church. In 1789 Governor Arthur Phillip granted 400 acres (162 hectares) to the Anglican Church for the new colony’s chaplain, the Rev. Richard Johnson.The Glebe Point area became fashionable in the 19th century, while the southern part of Glebe became a working class district. Glebe fell into decline in the early 20th century, but by the 1960s there was a renewed appreciation of its charms. Glebe became one of the first suburbs in Australia to experience ‘gentrification’, as its architectural heritage, combined with proximity to the City and Sydney University, made it fashionable again.|
Glebe is now much altered from the environment which was home to Aboriginal people of the Guringai tribe for thousands of years and which Europeans first saw soon after the settlement was established at Sydney Cove in 1788. Blackwattle Creek and Blackwattle Bay were discovered and named in 1789.
Almost half of the Aboriginal population was killed by disease within the first few years of white occupation and survivors, with their traditional life shattered and increasing pressure put on their resources, retreated away from the principal settlement. It is likely that the relatively untouched area of Glebe provided some shelter but there are no known Aboriginal sites on or near the study area.
The area is based on a geology of sandstone with Wianamatta shale caps. The shallow sandy soil supported, on the ridge tops, robust forests of tall eucalypts and angophoras. Below was a shrubby under-storey that included acacias and banksias. The study area would have supported an environment of this type. Further down the ridges were black wattles, tea-trees and swamp oaks and these gave way at the marshy and muddy intertidal zone to mangroves. Blackwattle Bay extended in a rivulet to Parramatta Road, Wentworth Park occupies the reclaimed headwaters of this bay.
Governor Phillip made the observation that this land was,
"in general so rocky that it is surprising that such large trees should find sufficient nourishment but the soil between the rocks is good and the summits of the rocks ... with few exceptions are covered with trees most of which are so large that the removing them off the ground after they are cut down is the greatest part of the labour"
The land was not suited to farming because of its topography and soils and the first European associated with it, the Reverend Richard Johnson, famously described his land as "four hundred acres not worth four pence". Despite its limited use for agriculatural purposes the timber was a valuable raw material and by the 1820s at least a substantial portion of the land in the vicinity of the study area had been cleared and fenced ready for sale.
In 1790 Governor Phillip reserved approximately 400 acres of land to the south and west of Blackwattle Creek as a Glebe devoted to supporting the Church. The Reverend Richard Johnson set about clearing it. He had few convicts to do so and considered the land poorly suited to agriculatural purposes. In 1974 he exchanged his rights to this land for a separate grant. The Glebe land appears to have remained relatively untouched from this time until the 1820's.
The suburb of Glebe is located immediately to the east of the suburb of Annandale and is on the western border with the City of Sydney. Glebe is bounded by Johnstons Creek and Camperdown to the west, Bay Street and Wattle Street to the east, Parramatta Road to the south and Rozelle Bay to the north.
The suburb is strongly defined by its topography, being located on a peninsula with a main ridge-line bisecting the suburb and running in a north-west to south-east direction. Whilst Glebe is clearly defined topographically, it is less hilly than the surrounding suburbs of Annandale and Leichhardt. The topography has resulted in a more regular street pattern and formal
townscape character. The northern and eastern points of the Glebe peninsula overlook Rozelle Bay and Blackwattle Bay, whilst an open space corridor provides a green belt running along the perimeter of the waterfront.
History of development in Glebe
The suburb of Glebe retains a strong historical character, which is demonstrated throughout its residential, commercial and industrial areas. Glebe was first established as part of an early land grant in 1789 by Governor Arthur Phillip for the support of a church minister and a schoolmaster for the new settlement of Sydney. These land grants remained undeveloped until 1828 when Glebe was subdivided into 28 allotments. At this time,
the primary thoroughfare of Glebe Point Road was laid out along the ridge-line of the peninsula to provide access between the Great Western Highway and Glebe Point.
The new allotments were sold to slaughterhouse proprietors and distillers in the vicinity of Blackwattle Bay, whilst the larger, more elevated blocks were sold for settlement as suburban estates for prominent colonial families. The subdivision of these large estates began in the 1840’s to meet a growing demand for housing, attracting those of a more modest means to the area. From the 1870’s onwards, the predominant east-west
pattern of streets was established, and terrace houses were erected throughout Bishopthorpe, St. Phillips and Forest Lodge, alongside the large Regency villas such as Toxteth Park and Lyndhurst which remain today.
During this period, allotments along Glebe Point Road were developed for residential and commercial uses, creating the unique character of Glebe Point Road. In Camperdown, many of the original Victorian dwellings were demolished to make way for industrial buildings. After 1910 there was a decline in the residential appeal of the Glebe area in favour of the newer, more preferable outer suburbs of Sydney. However, the suburb saw a renewed interest after 1960 following recognition of its historic urban townscape character and environmental
As such, the range and condition of the built environment within Glebe, and its ability to demonstrate the evolution of the suburb over time, contribute to its significance as a conservation area.
The range of architectural styles encompass mid to late 19th century development with some examples of early 20th century Federation dwellings, and includes Regency mansions, suburban villas, large and small terraces and small workers cottages. Ornate late 19th century commercial buildings and Federation period warehouses also demonstrate the development of the suburb.
The unique historic character of Glebe has been retained largely through the restoration, rehabilitation and adaptive reuse of many of its dwellings. The process of restoration and appreciation of the architectural significance of buildings within the suburb has enabled the history of Glebe to survive. As such, many families have continued to live in this suburb for generations.
Additionally, major and minor avenue plantings help to reinforce the structure and formality of many of the streets within Glebe, and enhance the visual appearance of the varied streetscapes. These “green”
streetscapes are carried through in the open space network along the waterfront, and enhance the enclosed peninsula character of the suburb.
Thanks to the LMC
Glebe Foreshore Project Overview
Spanning 2.2 km, the Glebe Foreshore Promenade will link 27.5ha of open space, including nearly 3ha of new foreshore parkland. A variety of parkland settings and low impact waterfront recreation opportunities will be provided along the way.
The $14.7 million Glebe Foreshore Project is being delivered by the City of Sydney in six stages.
Stage 1 - Bicentennial Park
Glebe's Heritage Status
In 1970 The Glebe Society prepared a Master Plan for the area which resulted in the National Trust listing Glebe as a "Conservation Area" in 1974. Although the Trust is not a statutory body, Councils and courts generally respect their advice.
The following buildings are State listed and require the consent of the NSW Heritage Council before any alterations or additions can be carried out:
Lyndhurst, 61 Darghan Street
Rothwell Lodge & Factory, 24 Ferry Road
Tranby, 13 Mansfield Street
University Hall, 281 Broadway
Hereford House, 53 Hereford Street
Venetia [Bellevue], 55-57 Leichhardt Street
Reussdale, 160 Bridge Road
Monteith, 266 Glebe Point Road
All other building alterations in Glebe require Council Consent, e.g. windows, fences or any detail which will alter the appearance of the streetscape. Council is required by law to keep a register of all State listed items and also list items of local significance in their LEP [Local Environment Plan].
Looking after your Community's Heritage by NSW Heritage Office
The Past is a Foreign Country by David Lowenthall (1985) Cambridge University Press
Former Prime Minister, Gough Whitlam, has written in detail
a chapter on the Glebe Estate in The Whitlam Government, 1972-1975, E.G.
Whitlam (1985) Penguin Books Australia.
"Few places in Australia are richer in history than the inner-Sydney suburb of Glebe. The area was first surveyed in 1790, two and a half years after Governor Phillip established he penal colony at Sydney town. The name was acquired when approximately 200 hectares of land were granted to the Church of England. The Church subdivided and sold much of the estate in 1824. It kept 19 hectares for its own use, comprising Bishopthorpe as a residence for the Bishop of Australia and St. Phillip estate running down to the harbour.
"Sydney's aristocracy built large homes in the district. Leading architects, Edward Hallen (Hereford House 1929) and John Verge (Toxteth Park 1831, Lyndhurst 1834 and Forest Lodge 1836) were commissioned to design elegant houses. From the 1840s, however, the area progressively adopted a more working class nature. Bishopthorpe was subdivided in 1856 and substantial brick homes were built on land leased for 99 years. Tradesmen and labourers inhabited the St. Phillip estate within range of the slaughterhouses on Blackwattle Bay.
"Glebe was fully built up by World War I and began to decline after it. With Chippendale, Redfern and Waterloo it began to show signs of urban blight. Commercial interests began to leave the area, faced with competition from new businesses along Broadway. Social problems associated with the Great Depression reduced Glebe to one of Sydney's less savoury districts. Despite this decline, the area retained a close and distinctive community.
"After World War II it became increasingly obvious that, however effective in building mansions in heaven, the Church of England could not cope with its houses in Glebe. Low rent return meant that the Church could not allocate enough money for repair work. As a result, in 1973 the Anglican Archbishop of Sydney urged the Federal or State Governments to buy the Glebe estate for a planned experiment in low-income housing. My Government readily accepted this offer, regarding it as an excellent opportunity for Federal involvement in urban rehabilitation schemes. In May the Bishopthrope and St. Phillip estates, occupied by more than 700 dwellings, were purchased at a cost of $17.5 million. Uren [Tom Uren, MP and Minister for Urban and Regional Development] introduced the enabling legislation, the Glebe Lands (Appropriation) Bill on 11 July 1974.
"A Glebe Project Board, including 10 representatives elected by local residents, was established. The Board determined that the restoration of dwellings would occur in three stages - reroofing followed by repairing exterior appearance and, finally refitting interiors. A great deal of work was carried out and, if it were not for the Fraser Government's cutting funds and then in 1981 abandoning the project, all houses would now have been renovated. In December 1984 the Hawke Government sold the estate to the NSW Government which was determined to complete the restoration work commenced under my Government.
"The quality of the completed renovations prompted the Royal Australian Planning Institute Journal to comment in November 1979 that "The Glebe project has become a classic example of successful rehabilitation. It stands as a refreshing and humane contrast to the insane excesses of the commercial redevelopment of the central business district and as a remarkable symbol of official concern for community values rather than developers' balance sheets." Improved housing facilities in turn fostered the regeneration of commercial activity. During the late 1970s Glebe Point Road became a thriving mixture of new restaurants and antique shops and traditional corner grocery stores and second-hand merchandise dealers.
"The project was also a tremendous financial success. A financial analysis in 1978 showed that the Glebe estate was capable of earning a real rate of return of about four percent on the funds invested, given market-level rents and optimum rehabilitation. While a renovated home at Glebe in 1978 cost $39,000 a comparable dwelling in new Housing Commission low-rise housing at Waterloo cost $44,500."