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Solicitor, politician and philanthropist, George Wigram Allen was a long-serving Mayor of Glebe as well as member of Parliament for Glebe.

Glebe connections

Sir George Wigram Allen, image from State Library of NSW
Sir George Wigram Allen, image from State Library of NSW

Son of Jane and the George Allen (see separate entry), George Wigram Allen was articled to his father and in 1847 entered the law practice, which continued to expand as a thriving enterprise. He also inherited his father’s enthusiasm for religion (helping to create the YMCA), public affairs (Member of the Legislative Council 1860-61), the University of Sydney Senate (1878-85) and business.

G.W. Allen was also involved in the incorporation of Glebe as a municipality, becoming its first Mayor in 1859, a post he held for 18 years. From 1869-82 he represented Glebe in the Legislative Assembly, was Speaker from 1875-82 and for these many services was knighted in 1884.

During that time he sponsored the reclamation of Wentworth Park and, together with Edmund Blacket and Glebe Council members, was responsible for Glebe’s water supply and gas lighting as well as the construction of new streets. The Allens, both father and son, were keen cricketers and built a private ground in what is now bounded by Glebe Point and Toxteth Roads and Mansfield and Boyce Streets. It was here that Frederick Spofforth, a great bowler who lived in Derwent Street, frequently played.

Upon his father’s death in 1877 he made extensive additions to Toxteth Park, when a third storey, tower and ballroom were added. However Sir George did not live very long after his father and subsequently this stalwart Wesleyan’s house was sold in 1901 to the Sisters of the Good Samaritan, a Benedictine Order and is today St. Scholastica’s College. He had amassed a fortune of £300,000 by the time of his death.

G.W. Allen married Marian, eldest daughter of Rev. William Boyce, in July 1851. Lady Allen’s charitable interests helped to establish the Sydney Hospital for Sick Children, originally sited in Glebe Point Road at the corner of Wigram Road. Lady Allen died in London in 1914.

More information

Australian Dictionary of Biography 

Glebe Walks – Toxteth Park

Posted on April 6, 2013 by Peter

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