By Dorothy Davis and Katharine Vernon, Guided Walks Coordinators, Bulletin 1/2024, March and updated monthly


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Bookings for all Walks is through the Glebe Society’s page on Eventbrite.

Upcoming Guided Walks

Sunday 13 October
2 pm – 4 pm
‘From Degradation to Revitalisation’: Discovering Ultimo
Leader: Patricia Hale
Meeting place: TBA
Cost: $20 Glebe Society members; $25 non-members
Bookings: via Eventbrite – details in August
Saturday 16 November
2 pm – 4 pm
Villas of Glebe and Forest Lodge
Leader: Robert Hannan
Cost: $20 (members); $25 (non-members)
Other details to come in August


Descriptions of upcoming guided walks

‘The Quarry Street crowd at the Lord Wolseley Hotel, Bulwara Road Ultimo, 1992’ (Photo: Simon Colman, City of Sydney Archives)

‘From Degradation to Revitalisation’: Discovering Ultimo

Sunday 13 October 2 pm – 4 pm

A walk through Ultimo exploring its colonial past, then its grimy history as the source of power, quarried stone and electrified transport for the city, its transformation with the construction of huge wool stores, and its reincarnation since the late 1990s into a hub for inner city residential and office accommodation, and a precinct for education, retail, recreation and culture.

Our guide is Patricia Hale, a public historian, who is experienced in leading many walks through Sydney’s heritage areas. We’ll finish the walk with a drink at the Lord Wolseley Hotel, Bulwara Road (with Sunday afternoon jazz).

Cost: $20 (members); $25 (non-members)

Bookings: from August.

Villas of Glebe and Forest Lodge

Saturday 16 November 2 pm – 4 pm

A walk led by Robert Hannan, finishing with drinks at Rothwell Lodge. Booking details coming soon.

Walk leader Robert Hannan has conducted extensive research on the early villas of Glebe and Forest Lodge. This research is encapsulated within the beautiful Glebe Society booklet, Villas: Glebe and Forest Lodge, pre-1870, available on our website.




Past Guided Walks this year

Rookwood Cemetery Glebe Society WalkRookwood Cemetery and back: A bus tour visiting the burial sites of some famous Sydney families and Glebe identities

A fascinating expedition on July 3rd to this State heritage site established in 1867. Of interest were the burial sites themselves, the cultural and religious representation, and the extensive gardens of the Cemetery. A rare opportunity to hear of the histories of many Glebe and other famous identities buried at Rookwood. Our Glebe historian, Max Solling, provided the commentary.




The Hidden History of Blackwattle Bay

The Hidden History of Blackwattle Bay

This Walk, on 16 June, explored some of the less well-known parts of Glebe and its neighbours. It will include the Bishopgate estate off Broadway (not to be confused with the better known Bishopthorpe estate to the west of Glebe Point Road); the site of the former Brisbane Distillery in nearby Chippendale which was located on another of the bay’s headwaters; St Benedict’s Church, designed by Augustus Welby Pugin, the great luminary of the Gothic Revival and the reclamation of part of Blackwattle Bay for Wentworth Park in the mid-19th century. We explored the beautiful late 19th-century gardenesque layout of the park, saw its current state and considered opportunities for recovering its significance.

The Walk ended at the Kauri Hotel in Bridge Road.


Guided Walk Glebe EstateThe Glebe Estate: St Phillips and Bishopthorpe

2024 marks 50 years since the Whitlam Government purchased the ‘Glebe Lands’, i.e. much of the area bounded by St Johns Rd and Broadway.  The Glebe Society played a key role in campaigning for this significant part of old Sydney’s heritage to be preserved, thus enabling families who had lived here for generations, to remain as an intact community. The intervention by the Whitlam Government prevented the demolition of many Glebe houses and the dispersal of their inhabitants.

Max Solling led this Walk, on 25 May, which traced some of the early European settlement of ‘The Glebe’, including the 1842 subdivision of St Phillips into small allotments and the 1856 subdivision of Bishopthorpe. Max’s walks are always popular; he shares his deep knowledge of Glebe’s history in an engaging way through stories of past events and people. Read a full report of the Walk.


Late Victorian streetscapes

Just over 50 years ago, Bernard and Kate Smith’s seminal book, The Architectural Character of Glebe (1973), was published. The important work of documenting the heritage of Glebe and Forest Lodge was completed when Glebe faced two existential threats: being bulldozed to make way for freeways slicing through the suburb, and the replacement of older houses by flats. It was clear that Glebe contained an intact record from Colonial times, unfolding from south to north in a series of well-preserved streetscapes. Bernard and Kate, founders of the Glebe Society, fell in love with Glebe and, together with other Glebe Society volunteers, researched and documented Glebe’s rich architectural character. 

Drawing on their research and a collection of their photographs, we explored mainly the Toxteth Estate, developed between 1884 and the First World War. We focused on the decorative architectural features that give this area its distinctive charm and the various crafts that contribute to it.  The Walk was led by Jan MacIndoe and Katharine Vernon on 10 April.  Read a full report of the Walk.


Radical Glebe – Revisiting the sites and stories of radical ferment in the ’60s & ’70s

This walk, first held in 2022, was repeated on 14 April by popular demand. And this year is the perfect time because 2024 marks 50 years since the opening of Elsie’s women’s refuge, the first women’s refuge in Australia.

The walk was led by Meredith Burgmann, Helen Randerson and Heather Goodall – all Glebe residents and well-known social activists and researchers – looked at sites and stories of radical ferment in Glebe in the ’60s and ’70s: gay rights, green ban protests and squatter action, Sydney Anarchists, Women’s Liberation movement and Elsie, anti-Vietnam protests, and many more. Read a full report of the Walk.