Social Histories – The Glebe Society

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Glebe's Social History


Glebe Chronology

A chronology of Glebe: major events, building construction and population, 1790 to the present.  Read more »

Digital Maps of Glebe and Forest Lodge, Late 1880s

There are three different digital maps of Forest Lodge and Glebe in the late 1880s.   Read more »

First Inhabitants

Aboriginal people have an unbroken and ongoing connection with the City of Sydney. The original inhabitants of the Sydney city region are the Gadigal people. Despite the destructive impact of first contact, Gadigal culture survived. As the town of Sydney developed into a city, the Gadigal were joined by other Aboriginal people from elsewhere in New South Wales.  Read more »

Glebe Firsts

This list includes achievements by people or groups from Glebe or Forest Lodge where these have been the first of their kind in Sydney, NSW, Australia or the world.  Read more »

The Glebe Estate

The Glebe Estate comprises an intact community whose history goes back to the middle of the nineteenth century. So remarkable was the survival of a community so close to the centre of Sydney that it was purchased by the Federal Government to prevent the demolition of its buildings and the dispersal of its inhabitants.  Read more »

The Early Days of Glebe

In 1858, on his exploratory walks around Glebe, W S Jevons (who subsequently became a famous British economist) noted that the frontage to Parramatta Street was “…occupied by shops and public houses doing a large trade since they are the first and last which the traffic along Parramatta Street meets with.” Parramatta Street became known as Broadway in about 1890.  Read more »

Conscription in Glebe

It’s true, we need reinforcements in the trenches. But if you knew the true horrors of this place, you would be just as unwilling as I am to force it upon any man. The truth is, I wouldn’t bring my worst bloody enemy over here to go through this.  Read more »

Glebe’s “Underbelly” Gangs

During the 1920s and 1930s Glebe streets, as those in other inner city suburbs, were the haunt of criminals fighting for control of illegal activities such as off-course betting and the sly grog trade.   Read more »

The Broadway

Grace Brothers were expanding in all directions, expelling the noxious trades. Joseph Grace opened a drapery at 5-7 Broadway in 1885 and a little later his brother Albert joined him in the business.  Read more »

Glebe’s Trams

Until the late 1950s, Glebe Point Road boasted a thriving tram line. A small remnant of the tracks can be seen on Glebe Point Rd near the intersection with Marlborough St. On this page, you will find links to more information about trams on the Glebe Society website.   The Past and Future Trams of […]  Read more »

Rail Transport in Glebe

Whilst history was made in 2000 with the extension of the light rail system to Lilyfield, the suburbs of Glebe and Lilyfield were once served by an extensive government-owned tramway infrastructure.  Read more »

Sydney Hospital for Sick Children, Glebe 1880 – 1906

In 1878 Mrs W C Browne, wife of the Member for Singleton, gathered together a group of women to discuss the merits of establishing a children’s hospital in Sydney.  Read more »

Diphtheria Cottage

The Glebe Sydney Hospital for Sick Children was established in 1880 in premises on the corner of Glebe Point Rd and Wigram Rd. Separate accommodation was usually built to house diphtheria patients. Kew Cottage across the road was secured despite community consternation.  Read more »

Glebe Care Homes for Children

From the earliest years of the colony of NSW, the large numbers of orphaned or abandoned children on the streets of Sydney resulted in various institutional ‘solutions’. In Glebe, the earliest recorded institutions dated from the 1880s, and some operated well into the twentieth century.  Read more »

Glebe Care Homes – The Forgotten Ones

The Forgotten Ones – half a million lost childhoods This is an extract of an essay by Christine Kenneally.  Read more »

Glebe’s First World War Memorials

Glebe has had four public war memorials erected since European settlement but there has only ever been recognition of the First World War on all of them.  Read more »

The Wireless House

The Wireless House in Foley Park was originally built in 1934. It was provided by the local council as a meeting and entertainment place for the many unemployed, working class people of Glebe, few of whom could afford radios. It is thought to be the only building of its kind in Australia and possibly in the world.  Read more »

Some Glebe Cricketers

Tibby Cotter, Warren Bardsley, Charles Kelleway and Bert Oldfield  Read more »

Wentworth Park – Its History and Uses

Near the end of 1879, as reclamation of Blackwattle Swamp neared completion, Glebe Council urged Henry Parkes to set apart a portion of the former swamp for “a cricket and quoit ground”. In December 1880 the trustees of the crown land invited competitive designs for the layout of 32 acres of the former swamp to become a park or place for public recreation to be named after patriot W.C.Wentworth.  Read more »

Ann Curthoys – Radical Glebe

Glebe of course has a huge radical history, with many different dimensions. Some of them are discussed in Terry Irving and Rowan Cahill’s book, Radical Sydney. They draw attention to working class Glebe politics and its role in major events such as the anti-conscription marches of 1916 and 1917, the General Strike of 1917, the Timber Workers’ Strike of 1929, the Unemployed Workers Union, and the controversial Youth Carnival for Peace and Friendship in March 1952.   Read more »

Glebe’s Waterfront History – the last 40 years

When Bob Carr came to one of the park functions in 1988 during the development of Bicentennial Park Stage 1, he likened our campaign for waterfront open space to the Wars of the Roses – Bob’s a history, not a movie, buff! He was, no doubt, conscious of the intrigue, conspiracy and mayhem conducted along the way to our gaining this wonderful park. If you appreciate these qualities in your drama, then the campaign for the Bicentennial Park is right for you.  Read more »

Robert Darroch – The Birth of the Glebe Society

Robert Darroch, our inaugural Vice President, and Sandra Darroch, the inaugural Secretary, were guests at our Christmas Drinks in 2005 gathering. Robert has sent us this eye witness account of the Society’s beginnings.  Read more »

Tony Strachan – The Conservation Movement

The three really important issues of the time, from the late 60s to the early 70s were the expressways, what was going to happen to the Glebe Estate and the whole town planning issue.  Read more »

The Glebe Society and the Battle of the Expressways

Although there were other issues, such as industrial pollution and unsympathetic architecture, that led to the founding of The Glebe Society it soon became clear that the greatest threat to the suburb was the proposal of the Department of Main Roads to build the expressways through Glebe.  Read more »

Interview with Albert Mispel about the Anti-Expressway Campaign (1970-1977)

In its early years members of the Glebe Society led a number of magnificently successful campaigns that had implications not just for Glebe but for the entire City. Some of them gained national and even international recognition.
One of the most outstanding campaigns was the one against Radial Expressways in the Inner City led by Albert Mispel.  Read more »

Jack Mundey, the NSW BLF and the Battle for Sydney

Jack Mundey was elected secretary of the NSW Branch in 1968; he came to play a very important part as a leader, not only in improving working conditions and wages for labourers in a very dangerous occupation, but also in helping local resident action groups preserve their environment against the plans of property developers.  Read more »

Marianne von Knobelsdorff – Memories of a True Glebian

Even though Marianne von Knobelsdorff was born in Germany, her heart is in Glebe. During the 29 years since she arrived here, she has been an indefatigable worker for The Glebe Society and has participated in most of the major campaigns that have been waged to preserve and improve our suburb.
As most members know, Marianne is returning to Germany to care for her sick mother, but has retained her flat in Leichhardt Street in the hope that she may return one day.  Read more »

The First Glebe Street Fair

The first Fair that involved the closure of Glebe Point Rd took place on Saturday, September 22 in 1984. The participants were almost entirely from the Glebe community, including many businesses. There was music, dancing and activities for children.  Read more »

The Glebe Music Festival

This Short History of the Glebe Music Festival is reproduced by permission of the author, Dr E. David McIntosh AM AMusA, based on his presentation for Glebe Voices in 2012.  Read more »

The Dirty Red lineage of our Vice President, John Gray

John Gray writes on how it feels and what it means to him to have the Dirty Reds back.  Read more »

Mark the Dog Walker

For many years, Mark has walked neighbours’ dogs, collected local rubbish and brought cheer to everyone.  Read more »