Ian Stephenson, Bulletin 9/2021, November 2021
I am very honoured to have taken on this role and would like to acknowledge the work of my predecessor Janet Wahlquist. Indeed, the Glebe Society has a tradition of distinguished Presidents many of whom continue to serve on its management committee. Anthroposophists have a concept called the universal mind which believes we can tap into the wisdom of the ages. With three past presidents on the management committee, as well as many other wise people, there is a lot of wisdom and experience guiding the Society.
Many things have happened in the last month. Just as the Society elected a new President, the State Government elected a new Premier. I sent a letter1 to Premier Perrottet asking that his government to commit itself to respecting Glebe’s heritage conservation areas and makes no more rezoning applications to increase the height limits of the LAHC’s Glebe lands, as once the scale of a place like Glebe has gone it’s gone for good.
On 9 October I attended the tree planting ceremony in the John Street reserve to honour Norma Hawkins of the Blue Wrens, the Glebe Society’s nature conservation arm. Norma who turned 99 on the day of the ceremony has been involved with the Blue Wrens since 2005. She chose the tree, a melaleuca, because it provides a perfect habitat for blue wrens. The reserve also has some interpretative panels about blue wrens which Norma instigated a few years ago. So, it’s worth wandering up to the John Street Reserve to see Norma’s tree and her storyboards. It was my privilege to speak with Norma at the event. She explained to me, with gentle authority, how we all share the one world and if our birds and plants are struggling it is a warning we should heed – we will be next. They are the canary in the coalmine. Norma is an inspiring example of a life enriched by good purpose. The Society is grateful to the Lord Mayor for her help in facilitating the purchase of the tree by the Society.
In the last month the Society has made submissions on the effect of light pollution from the Glebe Island Silos on parts of Glebe Point,2 and on a proposal to install a obtrusive ventilation flue running over the veranda and roof of a listed property in Glebe Point Rd.3
The St Phillips estate in Glebe is under development pressure. High level planning documents such as the Greater Sydney Commission’s Our Greater Sydney, 2056, Eastern City District Plan4 take the estate out of the Glebe Point Village and include it in the Harbour CBD. This raises many questions. Opportunities for increasing the number of dwellings in the conservation area are mainly limited to infill in back lanes or by replacing the low-rise infill of the 1980s with bigger buildings. Are there ways of handling this successfully in an historic suburb which will respect scale, character and social values? What is the right height limit and what should the other planning controls be?
To explore these questions the Society has invited Councillor Philip Thalis, an architect with over 30 years’ experience in the design of public space, urban design and heritage adaptation to speak about his vision for the St Phillips estate at 10 am on Sunday 28 November followed by a walk around the estate. Book online.