In Bulletin No.2 this year Liz Simpson-Booker surveyed some of Glebe’s non-vehicular thoroughfares. This is the story of one of them, Leichhardt Ave, created after the subdivision of the Golden Estate in 1908 but not given its own name until 1923.
Reached by stone steps from Leichhardt St, the pedestrian avenue is a short dead-end of five Edwardian brick-and-stone single-storey two-bedroom terraces with a former dunny lane at their rear. The cottages, completed by 1910, were as late as the 1950s known not by their numbers but by their names: Eltham, Coreen, Roma, Altama and Lynton. Today there are fewer than a dozen people living there, in contrast to the large families of the past.
By 1911 master carrier Stanley Guy Cole (1884-1960) had moved into Number 1 Eltham, bordered by a sandstone wall on Leichhardt St. He was the son of Stanley Llewellyn Cole, a Presbyterian master carrier, Justice of the Peace, long-term Glebe alderman and five times mayor (he later became a State politician) who lived close by at 284 Glebe Rd. In 1909 Stanley jnr married Elsie Mary Langley (1882-1938), daughter of plumber Frank Reuben Langley, a Mason who lived in Westmoreland St and at 68 Glebe Rd. Their son Stanley Llewellyn was born in 1912; the following year they moved to Jastine in Victoria Rd. Eltham was then occupied by engine driver Thomas William Mackenzie (born 1877), his wife of eight years Alicia Constance née Wallace and their son Colin, born in 1913. Thomas, who had served as a private in World War 1, died at Eltham in 1949 survived by his widow, son Colin and his wife and three grandchildren. When Alicia died in 1956 the Mackenzies’ period of occupancy had been unbroken for 43 years.
Frederick A Cooper lived at Number 2 Coreen until 1912 when engineer Thomas Bassett Ward and Florence Louisa née Henderson (1884-1963) moved from Bellingen with baby Grace, soon to be joined by brother William James (died 1967). After the Wards left in 1917, their successors were Albert G Burley followed by New-York-born Margaret Avon in 1918. Glebe’s old fireplaces are now considered desirable heritage features but they were the main sources of heat in the past and potentially dangerous. In 1922 Mrs Avon fell asleep in front of the open fire and slipped from her chair. Suffering massive burns, the 85-year-old died the next morning in RPA hospital. From 1924 until at least 1960 Coreen was occupied by the family of foreman Walter Nathaniel Hazell (1886-1960), his wife Sophia Marie Ann née Tollefson (died 1955) and John Alexander Hazell, a lorry driver.
Customs officer Arthur Gabriel Leslie Bryant (1884 -1962) moved into Number 3 Roma after his 1910 marriage at Glebe’s St James Church to Mary Eleanor Shanley (1885-1956), daughter of Francis Joseph Shanley of 24 Darghan St. Their first daughter Edna was born soon after the move, and their second Laura in 1912. From 1916 to 1920 Roma was occupied by electrician Leonard R Hora, followed by shop assistant John Lovatt and his wife Elizabeth from 1920 to 1923, James Kenny from 1924 to 1926, A. L. Collaw in 1927, Mrs Wilkinson in 1928 and Mrs M. Byron after 1931. By 1951 its occupants were student James Neylon and Verna Patricia née North who were married in Glebe in 1945 and moved into Roma adjacent to the Neylon family home next door.
Number 4, Altama, was the 1911 address of warehouseman Charles Richard Van Treight (1874-1940), only son of Charles senior, a sexton at St John’s Ashfield, a church designed by Edmund Blacket and his sons), his wife Ilma Eliza Gadsden née Howard (1876-1950), a granddaughter of Jonathan Howard of Arundel Terrace and Derby House on Glebe Rd) and their daughters Olga Gadsden and Ilma Meryle born in 1903 and 1916 respectively. The next familylived in the house for at least five decades. In 1918 tailor James Phillip Neylon and Marion May née Kelly moved to Altama from across the road at 5 Leichhardt St with their four youngest children: Mary Eileen, Eileen May, Kathleen and John Albert. After James’ death at age 54 in 1941 at RPA Hospital, Marion remained in the house with sons John, a guillotine operator, and James jr, born in 1921. She worked as a cleaner up to the time of her death at age 69 in 1963.
Lynton at Number 5 had several changes of occupancy in the years 1911-19: Archibald Carmichael, A. Love, labourer Sidney Johnson, William H. Taylor, then Alfred Roberts. In 1921 Mudgee-born greengrocer Charles Thomas Bradley (1883-1971) moved in with his wife Elizabeth Phyllis née Cahill (1895-1966) whom he’d married in Glebe in 1920. His mother Elizabeth lived with them until her death in 1928. The Bradleys remained in Lynton until at least 1971 when Charles, a great-grandparent, died at the age of 87. He’d struck lucky in 1948 when his ‘Charley and Cahill’ ticket won a lottery prize. (In 1913, Eltham’s William Gray won half a crown in an advertising competition for Cherry Blossom boot polish.)
Glebe Society member, Peter Kolbe, who in 1980 bought Coreen (its interior painted red) from a solicitor and his schoolteacher wife remembers the terrific fights in Altama and the ‘wonderful’ hippy parties in Lynton, but his most vivid memories are the regular break-ins via the back lane. Early one morning he suddenly noticed that all the window panes in the toilet had been removed and stacked neatly on the floor, and realised he’d slept through a burglary. Every drawer in the house had been opened, but his only loss was a blanket – used to wrap and take away two video recorders. As both were broken, Peter was glad to get rid of them, and he had the extra satisfaction of envisaging the scene when the thief tried to flog them.
Roma was occupied by its owner’s granddaughter who worked for the ALP. She arrived home to find that someone had rummaged through all her possessions. To add insult to injury the robber had taken her keys and driven off with the spoils in her car.
Most dramatic was an evening in Eltham where a cameraman was in bed waiting for his girlfriend to come home. Hearing a noise, he called out ‘is that you?’ then dozed off, only to be awoken by a torchlight playing around the room. Groggily comprehending its source, he jumped out of bed, grabbed a poker and ran into Cook St after the robber who then disappeared onto Glebe Point Rd. At this moment a taxi cruised by and the driver, hearing the story, called the police. A heroic gesture considering he was confronted in the dead of night by a weapon-wielding strapping young man who was stark naked.