When Liz Simpson-Booker and Neil and Jan Macindoe met for afternoon tea at Naggy’s cafe in early 2010 to talk about updating the Glebe Society publication Historic Glebe, we weren’t thinking of a website. But we soon realised that the Historic Glebe walking guide, first published in 1988 and revised in 1998, needed more than a few amendments.

A whole new area of Glebe – the Waterfront Walk – had been opened up since the last revision, in addition to the changes to the appearance or function of many buildings. Several afternoon teas later, we had decided on a series of walks, each covering a specific area of Glebe and dealing with a particular theme.

We were also aware that the section of the Glebe Society’s website dealing with Walks was totally inadequate, and did not relate to the Historic Glebe publication. We decided to deal with the two problems at once by preparing our material for web publication, rather than print. This would have many advantages, including being able to include many more photographs and maps, and being easy to update in future. It would also mean that people with smart phones or iPads would be able to follow the walk online as they walked around. And for others we could provide a text version to print.

Our ideas were sufficiently clear by mid-year to enable us to apply for a Cultural Grant from the Royal Australian Historical Society. When we were successful in our application we were able to commission Red Ant Media to develop a website for us.

Red Ant, located in Glebe Point Road, took on the work with enthusiasm and came up with a format that was much richer than we had anticipated. It only left the actual walks – their theme, route, and notes on the stops on the way – to research and write,as well as taking photographs to illustrate.

Neil prepared two walks. One takes a closer look at the waterfrontwalk, focusing on the changes to the bays and the industries aroundthem. The other focuses on the architectural features that give Glebeits characteristic look – Late Victorian Streetscapes covers the GlebePoint area. Liz enjoyed researching the 19th century architects whohad lived and worked in Glebe and have left us some of our finestbuildings. Her walk also covers the Glebe Point area and integratescommentary on buildings with stories of the architects themselves.

Jan put together a walk covering the southern part of Glebe andfocusing more on social history and personalities of early Glebe.

These form the first four walks which will be on the website at its launch.

Our walks draw extensively on the two masterly books about Glebe – Bernard and Kate Smith’s The Architectural Character of Glebe, and Max Solling’s Grandeur and Grit: A History of Glebe. Lyn Collingwood’s articles were also a great source of historical information, and Lyn herself a great resource for providing email answers to tricky questions about Glebe personalities of the past.

And there’s more … Other walks are planned and can be added over time.

A walk that focuses on the geology and topography of Glebe Point has been prepared by Anton Crouch, and will be published soon. We are aware of a need for a walk covering the Forest Lodge area, and a walk focusing on parks and gardens is another possibility.

Try out our first Walks, and let us know if you would like to contribute a Walk covering your favourite area of Glebe or particular expertise.

– Jan Macindoe