I was born in Wigram Rd, and have lived all my life in Glebe. My mother and grandparents all came from Glebe. Dad came from Narrandera. When we were young we lived in Victoria Rd, in a big old house, now occupied by a block of flats, on the corner of Alexandria Rd. Then we moved to a succession of places in Hereford St, where I still live.

When we were kids, St Schols had the cow paddock down the back, and there was a Mrs Conaghan who lived in Boyce St. She used to milk the cows, and this kept the nuns and boarders supplied. In those years, the late 1930s, Schols had a little kindergarten, and I went there for a short while. Not for long, because I had asthma and the specialist suggested going to the Blue Mountains. So we went to the Good Samaritans school at Lawson, then returned to Glebe and went to the parish school of St James.

In those days, there were a lot of horses in Glebe, and the park at the back of Hereford St was a livery stable. There was an old chap called Chucka who used to deliver the coal for the fires and fuel stoves. We had rabbitohs who came around selling rabbits, with the cry “rabbitoh, rabbitoh!”. They were 2/6d a pair. The baker had a horse and cart, for Rath’s Bakery in Glebe Pointt Rd. Public transport then was trams; and there were not many motor cars.

Hereford St hasn’t really changed that much. Most of the original houses are still there. Opposite, eg. at the back of the Valhalla, was a Men’s Home, and then that changed to the Victoria and Alice Lamkin Welfare Centre. Before the Valhalla, it was the Astor cinema and we used to queue on a Saturday evening to get in. The cinema and Harold Park were the main entertainments in the area.

Valhalla Cinema, formerly the Astor. Chief projectionist, George Gilbey, removes seats as the contents of the cinema goes up for sale. (image: Edwina Pickles/Fairfax Syndication)
Valhalla Cinema, formerly the Astor. Chief projectionist, George Gilbey, removes seats as the contents of the cinema goes up for sale. (image: Edwina Pickles/Fairfax Syndication)

My late husband Sam and I raised horses at Harold Park, and had considerable racing success. Sam was a successful trainer, and used to focus on one horse at a time. We won the ‘Pink Bonnet’, a race for young fillies with a lot of prestige attached to it. Many Glebe residents miss the horses and the trots. The biggest changes in Hereford St, are down near the corner of Hereford St and Ross St. This used to be Coady’s Livery Yard. They sold it for 1,000 pounds to Woolworths. They built a warehouse there, and that was their delivery centre for all of NSW. A lot of Glebe people worked there, including my father, sister and me. Then when Woolworths grew too big and moved to Silverwater, Sussans opened up their warehouse and office. After that, this section on Hereford St was an auction house. Finally it was sold for the development of units.

Glebe used to be a working class area, and no one wanted to live here. People looked down on it, that is, the upper end of Glebe near Parramatta Rd. Now, the population is more mixed, with a broader range of incomes. There are more professional and educated people living here.

What I miss most is Harold Park, and the trams which provided good transport. I also miss the picture show, and the Glebe Rowing Club which provided another social outlet.

What I welcome is our library which was a great achievement, and the local shops with friendly shopkeepers. I can remember there used to be seven butcher shops on Glebe Point Rd, and now we have one. It is important to support our local shops. Our parks have also improved and are really beautiful.