Bernard Smith was one of the founders of the Glebe Society and was pivotal in the successful campaign of the early 1970s to stop a freeway being pushed through the suburb and the replacement of the Glebe Estate with high-rise office blocks. Bernard and his wife Kate were responsible for producing The Architectural Character of Glebe and coining the term ‘Federation’ to describe Australian houses of the early 20th century.
To honour the Smiths’ memory the City of Sydney approved the naming of the lane off St John’s Rd as Bernard Lane. The lane runs off St John’s Rd along the back of Broughton St houses. The Society, and others, would have liked to include Kate in the name of the Lane but official place-naming protocols meant this was not feasible. (Some members will recall a similar situation with the recently named Melina Lane.)
The Glebe Society celebrated the official opening on Sunday 22 Sept in the presence of members of the Smith Family including Bernard and Kate’s daughter, Elizabeth Heathcote and their grand-daughters, Kate Challis and Sarah Smith.
On a glorious sunny afternoon, the Lord Mayor acknowledged the debt of gratitude owed by Glebe and the City of Sydney to Bernard and Kate for their work in preserving Glebe from the wrecking ball. Max Solling, who worked shoulder-to-shoulder with the Smiths in those early days, talked about Bernard’s activism and Elizabeth Heathcote reminisced about her parents’ affection for Glebe and how they had come to choose Glebe as a place to live.
The event closed with the unveiling of the Bernard La blade placed high on a lamppost with the Lord Mayor and Jasper Hollo, the four year old great-grandson of Bernard and Kate, pulling on the cord.
Members who have used our Glebe Walks website will be aware that the Late Victorian Streetscapes walk is named for Bernard and Kate. If you haven’t done this, follow the Walk to appreciate just a small part of the impact of their work to preserve the heritage of Glebe. See: http://www.glebewalks.com.au/Late-Victorian-Streetscapes.html