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People in Glebe's History


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George Allen

Born in London in 1800, George Allen came to Sydney in 1816 with his mother and siblings. He was articled to the government solicitor and was admitted as a solicitor in 1822, the first solicitor to receive his training in NSW. The law firm he established is known as the oldest law firm in Australia and is today part of the international firm, Allens Arthur Robinson.  Read more »

Sir George Wigram Allen

Solicitor, politician and philanthropist, George Wigram Allen was a long-serving Mayor of Glebe as well as member of Parliament for Glebe.  Read more »

Sir Francis Anderson

Sir Francis Anderson, philosopher and educationist, was Sydney University’s first Challis professor of logic and mental philosophy. Critical of the pupil-teacher system that prevailed in NSW at the time, and of the rigidity of curriculum and teaching methods, he adopted the slogan “Train the Teacher, Trust the Teacher and Pay the Teacher” and helped develop what became known in NSW as the New Syllabus. He married Maybanke Wolstenholme, née Selfe, in 1899.  Read more »

Maybanke Anderson

Maybanke Anderson, feminist and educationist, was involved in a wide range of reformist issues, especially relating to women. She was a member of the Womanhood Suffrage League, the International Women’s Union, and edited and published Woman’s Voice, a fortnightly journal covering social issues. She established the Playgrounds’ Association and the Kindergarten Union, providing free pre-school care for poor families within walking distance of their homes.  Read more »

Sir Robert Askin

Askin joined the Liberal Party in 1947 and was elected as the member for Collaroy in 1950. He continued as member of the NSW Legislative Assembly from 1950 to 1975, and Premier from 1965 to 1975. Named Robin at birth, Askin changed his name to Robert before receiving a Knighthood (KCMG), on his own recommendation, in 1972. His reputation was marred by serious allegations of corruption.  Read more »

James Johnstone Barnet

Scottish-born James Barnet held the post of Colonial Architect for 25 years during a period of major expansion of the colony. He was responsible for some of Sydney’s iconic buildings, including the GPO in Martin Place, the Lands Department Building (Bridge Street) and the Australian Museum (College Street).  Read more »

Sir Edmund Barton

Sir Edmund Barton was Australia’s First Prime Minister, from 1901 to 1903. He rose to prominence in NSW politics before strongly supporting the push for Federation of Australia’s states. As Prime Minister he played an important part in establishing the workable machinery of government and cementing the Federation. After politics, Barton became a judge of the new High Court of Australia.  Read more »

Edmund Blacket

Edmund Blacket was born in Surrey, England and arrived in Sydney with his wife Sarah on the emigrant ship Eden in 1842. In 1847 he was appointed Diocesan Architect and two years later was appointed Colonial Architect.  Read more »

Leila Mary Brown

Nurses with connections to Glebe answered the call to serve in WWI. One of these women was Leila Mary Brown who served with the First AIF Nursing Corps in Egypt, England and France.  Read more »

Albert “Tibby” Cotter

“Tibby” Cotter is regarded a possibly the best fast bowler of the first decade of the 20th century. His pace, and habit of frequently breaking the stumps and occasionally the batsmen, earned him the nickname of “Terror” Cotter in England. He joined the AIF in 1915 and served at Gallpoli. In 1917, he was shot and killed at Beersheba probably by a Turk who had surrendered but not given up his weapon.   Read more »

Claret Joseph Emblem

‘Mick’ Emblem was an alderman who survived several Glebe Council scandals.  Read more »

H J Foley

“A legendary figure of inner west local politics was hailed as a ‘wonderful bloke and a fabulous doctor’ after his death …” adding that “… he will always be remembered as a champion of the underdog and the worker.”  Read more »

Bessie Guthrie

Bessie Guthrie was trained in Design and worked professionally in various design fields from the late 1920s until about 1950. She established Viking Press in 1939. Throughout her life she was a crusader for children’s rights and against the institutional abuse of women. She welcomed the Women’s Liberation movement, and was active in the establishment of Elsie Women’s Night Shelter, the first women’s refuge in Australia.  Read more »

Lewis (Lew) Hoad

Lew Hoad was a prominent tennis player in the 1950s. For five straight years, beginning in 1952, he was ranked in the world top 10 for amateurs, reaching the World No. 1 spot in 1956. He represented Australia in the Davis Cup with Ken Rosewall, winning the Cup for Australia four times from 1952-1956. Hoad turned professional in July 1957. He was widely regarded as one of the most naturally talented of tennis players.  Read more »

Richard Johnson

The Rev Richard Johnson was a Church of England clergyman who served as chaplain to the colony of NSW from 1788 to 1800. He was also a successful farmer at Canterbury Vale and Ryde.  Read more »

James Francis (Frank) Hurley

Frank Hurley, who was born in Glebe in 1885, is best known today as a photographer and filmmaker who worked in the Antarctic with Mawson and Shackleton, was official photographer during the two world wars, and made expeditions to Papua during the 1920s. The :‘synchronized lecture entertainments’ that Hurley put on in the 1910s and 1920s were stage and screen performances exploiting a number of media.  Read more »

Hélène Kirsova

Hélène Kirsova was a Danish-born ballerina who came to Australia with the famed Ballets Russes de Monte Carlo. Along with some of the other dancers, she stayed in Sydney after the outbreak of the Second World War in Europe. She created Australia’s first professional ballet company, a forerunner to the Borovansky Ballet, and was also active as a choreographer.  Read more »

Sir Douglas Mawson

Geologist and explorer, Mawson is best known for his exploratory expeditions to Antarctica. He joined Shackleton’s expedition from 1907-9, and headed the Australasian Antarctic Expedition of 2011 – 14. The scientific work he undertook in this and later expeditions formed the basis for Australia’s claim to 42% of Antarctica as Australian territory.  Read more »

Edna Ryan

Edna Ryan was a leading figure in three eras of feminism in the 20th century. As a feminist and labour activist she is credited with achieving equal pay for women, maternity leave and work based child care. Ryan wrote numerous articles, conference papers, submissions to government and two books, Gentle invaders (1975) and Two thirds of a man (1984).  Read more »

Bernard Smith

In 1967 Bernard Smith was appointed Foundation Professor of Contemporary Art and was Director of the Power Institute of Fine Arts, University of Sydney. Prior to this, he held senior appointments at the University of Melbourne. He was a painter (using the pseudonym Joseph Tierney), writer, teacher, critic, philanthropist and a Fellow of the Australian Academy of the Humanities.  Read more »

Ferdinand Hamilton Reuss

Ferdinand Reuss (pronounced Royce) was the British-born son of a Royal Prussian Consul. Reuss trained as a civil engineer in the firm of Robert Stevenson, the great lighthouse engineer and grandfather of Robert Louis Stevenson. Reuss migrated to Australia in 1851 and was active as an architect and builder in Sydney during the 1870s and 1880s. He is also regarded as the father of surveying in Sydney.  Read more »

John Verge

John Verge was a leading society architect and builder of the 1830s in Sydney and an exponent of the Regency style. His clients included John Macarthur and William Charles Wentworth. Verge’s work can be seen at Elizabeth Bay House, Camden Park, Tempe House and the vestries and eastern porches of St James Church, King Street.  Read more »