The FLAG ‘Community Stress’ working committee, on which the Glebe Society was represented, reported in Sept 2013; identifying four potential responses to this community problem. Two potential means to address issues raised were: firstly, in the short term, to expand the community BBQ program, specifically targeted at areas where community cohesion appears least successful, and secondly – a long range objective – a Community Centre for Glebe. This latter objective was raised at a Glebe Society committee meeting where it was noted that the Glebe Society called for a community centre in the Village 2030 consultation. The FLAG Networking forum on 6 Nov 2013 also considered this objective.

However, further development of this community discussion was largely overtaken by more urgent needs when the precipitous ‘lock out’ of the Glebe Youth Service (GYS) occurred, late in 2013. The Glebe Society gave unwavering support to community action to restore the service to its premises in Glebe Point Rd, which Housing NSW allowed in March 2014 after essential remedial works were undertaken. Another specific need, i.e. for children under the age of 12 with an Aboriginal cultural identity with respect to care, 3pm-6pm weekdays was partially addressed by some extension of GYS services with parents’ input, after GYS’s reoccupation of their long-term premises.

Glebe Youth Service (Image:
Glebe Youth Service (Image:

With respect to the call for a community centre, Margot Rawsthorne of Glebe Community Development Program, reiterated that funding from Council for a building was not going to happen. This was confirmed by Ray Dehon from City of Sydney, but interest in coordinating information re service provision and a physical point of contact continued to gain traction. The Society was represented at this discussion.

The Glebe Society provided some financial support for the Friends of Centipede annual fundraiser, the Sunset Soiree, held on 1 Nov 2013 at the Glebe Rowing Club. Its success is very important to this service provider which is perennially in need of additional funding. While the Society has been generous and supportive for several years, it has determined that having helped establish Friends of Centipede, it is now the responsibility of the Friends of Centipede committee to run future events unassisted. The Society continues to encourage its membership’s interest in future events, e.g., that being planned for 7 Nov this year.

Society members who support Friends of Tranby have had the opportunity to be involved in a number of events this year such as the successful launch of Kevin Cook’s book Making Change Happen in Sept 2013, and a Meet the Students in Oct at which three of the National Indigenous Legal Advocacy Course students gave presentations on their trip to Vietnam and China. Friends of Tranby hosted the first of its Conversations to promote reconciliation, on Fri 30 May, with Lynette Riley of Sydney University explaining Kinship amongst indigenous Australians. Lyn will give another talk on 22 Aug. Tranby also hosted an Elders’ Lunch during NAIDOC week.Tranby continues to invite Glebe residents to functions at its premises.

The opening ofRiversongMural at Glebe Public School by Cr Robyn Kemmis on Mon 4 Nov 2013 gave some Society members the opportunity to demonstrate their support of this admirable local institution. The Glebe Voices event on 23 Jul 2014 at which Principal Vicki Pogulis spoke, furthered this opportunity, as has the financial support many have given to the school’s year 6 Camp.

Stuart Davey, the CEO of the new Glebe Justice Centre (GJC) has held several meetings this year at which a wide range of Glebe service providers have discussed community needs. TGSI has been represented at these. The meetings are preparatory to the GJC commencing operation in early 2015. Many of the concerns raised at these meetings are those which also occupy Society discussions with some frequency. The synchronicity includes the moves towards a project to co-ordinate information re service provision, about which the Society is talking with Sydney University. Glebe Community Development Project’s current project with children will also investigate the kind of community local kids want. Possibly this initiative will be a forerunner to both the Society’s and GJC’s interest in investigating this same question. It is interesting to note that at the May networking event, attended by the Glebe Society President, FLAG committed to a future for Glebe which is Diverse, Connected, and Environmentally and socially sustainable.

The Society invited several local groups to share our stall at the Glebe Street Fair in Nov 2013, but inclement weather virtually ensured that no positive interest was aroused by its presence, consequently a 2014 stall is still under consideration.

In early June, the Society joined the ‘Save Our Services’ campaign being spearheaded by Leichhardt Women’s Health Centre and, by writing to the Minister.

This was deemed necessary to address the defunding, to the tune of $6 million, of women’s services in NSW announced under the ‘Going Home, Staying Home’ initiative which came into effect on 1 Jul 2014. Despite an additional $2 million being allocated to inner city women’s services by Minister Upton in a late June review after the Cabinet reshuffle, under this new arrangement the management and operation of women specific services have been significantly impacted. In Glebe this involves the transfer of operations of Elsie women’s refuge to the St Vincent de Paul tender and the closure of Detour House, the local centre for women’s drug and alcohol rehabilitation services. The Society intends to remain vigilant with respect to any impacts this may have within the Glebe community.

In July a community member approached Nick Hespe at City of Sydney service centre, the Glebe Community Development Project and Glebe Society President asking that these bodies work with the community to have the Tom Uren ‘Pop Up Park day’, to commemorate the 40th anniversary of the passage of the Glebe Lands (Appropriation) Act 1974, on 6 Aug 1974. It is anticipated that there will be several low cost participative activities, Aug to Dec 2014, that reflect the living community’s interest in commemorating this significant anniversary through shared activity, focused on the park at the corner of Catherine and Mt Vernon Sts, where the plaque recognising Tom Uren’s influence on the Glebe Estate is located. The Society has indicated an intention to be involved.

This summary of some Glebe Society Community action may not be comprehensive; largely because there are many Society members undertaking community building activities which are beyond my knowledge or the scope of this report.