By Dorothy Davis and Katharine Vernon, Guided Walks Coordinators, Bulletin 2/2024, April and updated monthly


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Upcoming Guided Walks

50 Years Ago … 

Several walks are planned for the first half of the year, inspired by people and events in Glebe in the early 1970s, around 50 years ago. 

Wednesday 10 April (postponed from 20 March)Glebe’s Late Victorian Streetscapes
Leaders: Jan Macindoe and Katharine Vernon
Meeting place: In front of St Scholastica’s College, Maxwell Street
Cost: $20 (members); $25 (non-members)
Sunday 14 April, 2–4 pmRadical Glebe: revisiting the sites & stories of radical ferment in the ’60s and ’70s
Leaders: Meredith Burgmann, Helen Randerson and Heather Goodall
Meeting place: outside Gleebooks, 49 Glebe Point Road
Cost: $20 (members); $25 (non-members)
Bookings: Eventbrite/ Radical Glebe
Saturday 25 May, 2–4 pmThe Glebe Estate: St Phillips and Bishopthorpe
Leader: Max Solling
Meeting place: front of Glebe Town Hall, 160 St Johns Road, Glebe, Cost: $20 (members); $25 (non-members)
Bookings: Eventbrite / The Glebe Estate
Sunday 16 June, 2–4 pmThe Hidden History of Blackwattle Bay
Leader: Ian Stephenson
Bookings and further details: TBA

Early JulyBus trip to Rookwood Cemetery
Leaders: Max Solling and Duncan Leys
Bookings and further details: TBA

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 explore mainly the Toxteth Estate, developed between 1884 and the First World War. We focus on the decorative architectural features that give this area its distinctive charm and the various crafts that contribute to it.  The Walk will be led by Jan MacIndoe and Katharine Vernon on 10 April. 

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

Join the waiting list for this Guided Walk

This walk, first held in 2022, is being repeated 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.

This guided walk, led by Meredith Burgmann, Helen Randerson and Heather Goodall – all Glebe residents and well-known social activists and researchers – will look 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. 

Anne Summers writes: In March 1974 a rowdy group of feminists in the inner-Sydney suburb of Glebe broke into an abandoned house, which serendipitously bore the nameplate Elsie (many houses in Australia used to have names). We changed the locks, declared squatters’ rights, and opened Australia’s first modern women’s refuge.

This Walk, first held in 2022, is being repeated by popular demand. It is fully booked, but you can join the waiting list. If a place becomes available, we’ll contact you to see if you’d like to join us.

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 will lead this Walk, which traces 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. This walk is highly recommended.

The Hidden History of Blackwattle Bay

Starting in Victoria Park, this walk will include the site of the headwaters of Blackwattle Bay, Glebe’s earliest urban development on what we now know as Broadway, then through various hidden sites to the late 19th-century gardenesque layout of Wentworth Park, finishing at the Kauri Hotel in Bridge Road.

This walk will be led by Ian Stephenson, former Glebe Society president. More details to come.

Bus trip to Rookwood Cemetery

Rookwood is the final resting place of many notable former Glebe residents. Max Solling and Glebe Society president Duncan Leys will accompany us by bus to Rookwood Cemetery to visit graves relevant to the history of Glebe and Forest Lodge.  Planned for early July. More details to come.

Possible Walks for the second half of 2024

  • Discovering Ultimo: industrial and warehouse buildings and renewal
  • Glebe’s St James’ and St John’s churches
  • Villas of Glebe and Forest Lodge
  • A ferry trip to Woolwich and walk through Kelly’s Bush (site of the first ‘green ban’ in the 1970s).