by Brian Fuller, Heritage Subcommittee Convenor, from Bulletin 7/2022, September 2022
Members of the Heritage subcommittee are Lydia Bushell, Margaret Cody, Lyn Collingwood, Rodney Hammett, Allan Hogan, Joseph King, Ted McKeown, Jude Paul, Margaret Sankey and myself. Thank you to all members for their continued dedication in working towards the heritage preservation and enhancement of Glebe and Forest Lodge for the benefit of our community now and into the future.
Review of the NSW Heritage Act 1977
The review of the NSW Heritage Act 1977 has continued into 2022. Members may recall that there were 295 submissions by incorporated heritage organisations, resident groups, local Councils, members of Parliament and the general public. As a result of those submissions, the Social Issues Standing Committee (Upper House) submitted 26 recommendations to the State Government. The State Government in turn indicated its support of those recommendations (some in principle only), notwithstanding that further consultation has been occurring with nationally-based heritage groups. The details of those consultations have not been made public and have the appearance of occurring behind very closed doors.
Given the State election is to be held in early 2023, the Government’s focus will no doubt be directed to other matters, and so it may be some considerable time before we see an indicator of the direction of the review. In the meantime, we have turned our attention to the review of the City of Sydney’s DCP and LEP, as these local planning controls are very instrumental to the protection and adaptation of our built heritage.
Review of the Local Environmental Plan 2012
The City of Sydney’s current Development Control Plan and Local Environmental Plan came into force in 2012. After 10 years, it is timely that they are reviewed to assess their relevance to the ongoing social, environmental, heritage and economic issues.
While the public will have a chance to ‘Have Your Say’ when the draft proposals are released later in the year, the Society decided to make representations early to ensure that the needs of the local community were heard well in advance. A small working party (representing the Planning and Heritage subcommittees) of Ian Stephenson, Ted McKeown, Rodney Hammett, Jude Paul and myself reviewed the current controls and considered those matters that need to be strengthened, easier to interpret and redefined. Given that Glebe and Forest Lodge are collectively within eight Heritage Conservation Areas (HCA), it is appropriate that our considerations should have a heritage focus.
We met separately with Lord Mayor Clover Moore and Councillors Linda Scott, Yvonne Weldon and Sylvie Ellsmore to exchange views on those issues of importance to Glebe and Forest Lodge. It was invaluable to have met with some of the new Councillors. We also met with members of the City’s Strategic Planning Staff on two occasions, who were very generous with their time.
Our representations have included the following matters:
- HCA boundary adjustments – we were told that none are proposed
- The importance of the preservation of ‘contributory’ items (in addition to listed items) to the character of the HCA, particularly at the time of additions
- That the redevelopment of ‘neutral’ buildings should not be detrimental to the character of the HCAs
- Any proposed variations to the controls in regard to Height of Buildings (HOB) and Floor to Space Ratio (FSR) should not have a detrimental effect on the character and significance of the HCAs
- The need for clear guidance towards environmentally-sustainable development initiatives while maintaining the significance of the HCAs
- The opportunity for a concentrated strategy towards laneway development that provides adaptable reinterpretation while adhering to the character significance of the HCAs, simultaneously promoting greater canopy cover or landscaping instead of monolithic rows of garage doors
- User-friendly access to the Locality Statements and Heritage Inventory Assessment Reports that are required assessment criteria for submission with any development proposal
- Greater guidelines towards the preparation of the required Heritage Impact Statements to be submitted with each development proposal
- Diagrammatic examples of permissible development to provide clarity to owners, their consultants and the City’s own assessment staff, e.g., dormers, attics, rear additions and garages
- Greater allocation of deep soil planting areas within each development proposal
Members will recall that the NSW Government recently initiated the Blue Plaques program. Similar to the UK program of the same name, it is designed to celebrate memorable people, events and places that have made a contribution to local communities or regions, and which are now embedded into our history and heritage, and consequently the fabric of our State.
The 17 recipients of a Blue Plaque for 2022 were announced in April. Of the many submissions prepared by The Glebe Society, the nomination of Charles Perkins, Civil Rights Activist and Forest Lodge resident, was within the list of 17. Dr Perkins lived at 27 Catherine St Forest Lodge whilst studying at the University of Sydney.
The research, collation of information and preparation of nominations were carried out by Lyn Collingwood, Jude Paul, Ian Stephenson and Ted McKeown. Our gratitude to them for undertaking such an arduous, informative but rewarding task.
Blue Plaques nominations are scheduled to be an annual event.
On behalf of the Subcommittee, Lyn Collingwood and Rodney Hammett continued to work with a community that looks to the Society for heritage and historical information about Glebe and Forest Lodge.
Direct enquiries via email to @heritage and @history totalled 49, while a few others were redirected from the Society’s website. For the Bulletin, Lyn contributed eight mystery photos and nine ‘Who lived/worked/filmed in your street’ entries. Rodney and Sybil Jack wrote eight and five articles respectively on various aspects of our suburb’s history; Virginia Simpson-Young penned two and Ian Stephenson gave details of four of the nominations for a Blue Plaque.
Many enquirers were family historians, while others sought information on the history of their houses. International correspondents included a Bornholm Museum curator wanting to identify a house owned by Danish consul Ludolph Marcker; a UK resident with fond memories of Ernie Ridding who recycled fridges and donated them to the poor; a Betts family descendant living in Canada who was delighted to receive from Robert Hannan, a copy of an 1836 letter describing life on Glebe Rd.
The donation to our archives of a vintage Sydney Flour plastic bag prompted stories on Glebe’s flour mills. More intriguing was the offer of an original Waratah stove. Jude Paul (living in Waratah, built for the stove’s maker Benjamin Stone) considered rehousing it, but its owner found another taker. Not proffered, unfortunately, was a scan of a photo of Bridge Rd’s Jarocin, of which the Society has no image.
Sometimes snippets of information add to our knowledge of how people lived their everyday lives. One correspondent mentioned that his father as a child lived on Lodge St and worshipped at St Johns. The boy was severely chastised by his aunt for going to sit in a front pew instead of the family pew at the rear. The socially superior seat was that of Judge Wilkinson who lived next door in Hereford House, in what is now Foley Park.
If you come across a photo of an earlier time in Glebe or Forest Lodge, please forward to firstname.lastname@example.org
The subcommittee is hugely indebted to Lyn and Rodney for the volume of work that they undertake as we engage with our community.
After four years in the role, I believe it is time to hand the baton over to someone new.
The activities of the Heritage subcommittee are governed by its Terms of Reference, which in turn requires that the Subcommittee act in accordance with the Society’s constitution. Within that context, members of the Subcommittee and the Convenor, focus on those matters that are of significance at a point in time. Of course, as humans we naturally align to those issues that we are personally passionate about.
For me, the responsible and sustainable preservation and adaptation of Glebe’s heritage assets is a high priority, ensuring that these assets (public and private) continue to be highly maintained with relevant and useful purpose. Each new Convenor has an opportunity to influence a new perspective to our activism for better heritage outcomes.
It’s a great role, superbly supported by some very knowledgeable and passionate people. Should any member wish to know more about the role, I would be more than happy to chat.