The 1960s saw the start of organised resident action in the inner city. The Balmain Association was formed in 1965 and the Annandale Association in 1969. At this same time Glebe was threatened by two major proposals which would:
- destroy the distinctive Victorian character of the suburb by demolition of terrace houses to make way for three-storey flats,
- cut the suburb into three to make way for expressways, and
- destroy Lyndhurst, a fine Regency villa.
The Glebe Society was formed in March 1969 to fight these proposals. Our Society, led by the eminent art historian from the University of Sydney, Power Professor of Fine Arts Professor Bernard Smith (1916-2012) and his talented wife, a teacher, Kate (Challis) Smith (1915-1989), successfully opposed these threats. In 1970 the Society prepared a Master Plan for the area which resulted in the National Trust’s listing of Glebe as a Conservation Area in 1974 with the Heritage Council of NSW.
Since its inauguration, the Glebe Society has achieved significant successes by lobbying, conducting local campaigns, and collaborating with council and other bodies. Through such local community action, considerable outcomes have been achieved, including:
- Listing of Glebe as a conservation area by the National Trust;
- Abandonment of the NSW Government proposal for expressways which would have cut through the suburb and resulted in the demolition of Lyndhurst (1837, architect John Verge);
- Preservation of the Glebe Estate, an area of mid-19th century houses which has since been refurbished as public housing;
- Acquisition and extension of Benledi (1875) for use as the Glebe library;
- Development of the concept of a light rail link through Glebe utilising a former railway goods line;
- Gradual acquisition of major waterfront parks – Bicentennial park and Blackwattle Bay park;
1970s to present:
- Extension of the foreshore walk and cycleway from the northern end of Glebe Point Road to Bridge Road near the Blackwattle Bay campus of the Sydney Secondary College ;
- Restoration of Bellevue (c1883, architect Ambrose Thornley Jnr) which had fallen into disrepair;
2000 to present:
- Restoration and interpretation of the incinerator (1932, architect Walter Burley Griffin) on Blackwattle Bay;
- redevelopment of Foley Park in Glebe’s central historic precinct.