By Helen Randerson
Women are remembered in the names of a number of our valued small parks and playgrounds in Glebe/Forest Lodge. In 2020 these include the Alice Lee Reserve, the Jean Cawley Reserve, Kirsova Playground No 3, the May Pitt Playground, the Robyn Kemmis Reserve and the Sarah Peninton Reserve. (St Helen is also remembered through St Helen’s Community Centre.)
Women’s names lost to Glebe since the twentieth century include the Rose Eves Rest Area, Kirsova No 4 Playground and the Victoria Alice Lamkin Welfare Centre.
Why should we remember these women? It’s through the Sarah Peninton Reserve in Bayview St that we remember not just Sarah Peninton, but also the Glebe Timber Strike and how it affected and politicised the Glebe community in 1929.
Sarah Ellen Peninton (1882 ‒ 1952) was a local activist who was arrested and charged with offensive behaviour during the timber riots at Hudson’s yards for defending the striking timberworkers against the use of scab labour.
At the time of her arrest she was a mature woman of 47, living with her husband and children in Bridge Rd, not far from Hudson’s timber yard at Blackwattle Bay.
Sarah remained prominent in the Glebe Branch of the Labor Party during the 1930s, later moving to 112 St Johns Rd where she died in 1952.
It seems appropriate that the Reserve named after her is located close to Blackwattle Bay, the site of the old Hudson’s timber yard and close to Bridge Rd where she took a stand in support of the local Glebe community. Sarah Peninton is part of Glebe’s radical history.
Sources: Family Notices – The Sun, Saturday 20 December 1952 – Page 8; https://glebewalks.com.au/?tb_walk_stop=sarah-peninton-reserve; https://scratchingsydneyssurface.wordpress.com/2013/03/11/8-march-2013-iwd-and-glebes-timber-war/; timber strike cases men and women charged; Article ‒ The Sydney Morning Herald, Wednesday 4 September 1929 ‒ Page 11; Thumb To Nose Glebe Trouble Sequel Many Charges; Article ‒ The Sun Tuesday 3 September 1929 ‒ Page 17.