Badde Manors cherubs, 1999 (Image: City of Sydney Archives)

by Lyn Collingwood, November 2021, from Bulletin 9/2021

Badde Manors, Glebe Point Rd’s oldest café trading under the same name, was vandalised in late September. Fortunately, emergency services arrived quickly and fire damage was minor.

A variety of businesses operated at 37 Glebe Point Rd before Badde Manors opened in 1982. For its first 46 years the distinctive building on the corner of Francis St functioned as the Glebe Hotel.

In August 1863, Robert Maxwell was granted the first licence. He died two years later, survived by his wife Charlotte and their teenage son William. At a time when there was little employment for women, hotelkeeping provided them with an income and somewhere to live and didn’t attract the same opprobrium as barmaiding. Charlotte took over and the pub became known as Mrs Maxwells Glebe Hotel. In 1867 Charlotte married Henry Keys; the birth of Henry Francis Keys (died 1942) was registered in 1869.

Before coroners’ courts were built, inquests on local deaths were held in hotels. The Glebe was no exception. Investigations included seven-year-old Alexander Duguid, the son of a Francis St ‘bus driver, who died after eating loquats; and 13-year-old John McMahon who drowned in a waterhole in Johnson’s Bush Petersham. Hotels were also venues for politicians to canvass votes. Proprietor of the Glebe Foundry in Cowper St, Thomas Wearne addressed voters at the Glebe Hotel when standing for election to Glebe Council.

In 1875 Hugh Keys (Henry’s brother who had arrived in Sydney as an 18-year-old assisted immigrant) died at Keys Glebe Hotel leaving a widow Magdalene and six children. In June 1881 Henry Keys’ publican’s licence was transferred to his sister-in-law. Four months later Henry died, his given occupation carter and his address Westmoreland St.

Recent scorch damage at Badde Manors (Image: Lyn Collingwood)

Over the course of the next decade the Glebe Hotels liquor licence passed between various family members before reverting to Magdalene who transferred it in 1892 to her son Charles Henry Keys. Following Magdalene’s death in 1907 there were squabbles over her estate between the executors, her two surviving children. Charles (then living at 134 Hereford St) was successfully sued by his married sister Magdalene Court in 1908, the same year his licence was cancelled (he had been fined for Sunday trading) and a new Licensing Act came into force.

Pressure from the temperance movement, women getting the vote and wanting their men at home, resulted in the shutting down of more than 70 metropolitan hotels. Licensees had to justify in court that their premises were needed. Taken into consideration were bar takings, the amount of beer drunk and accommodation provided, and testimony from local citizens. Charles Keys’ immediate successor George Hall, who argued that he had already spent a lot on repairs, was supported by Ada Keys, the ex-publican’s daughter, and Dr Rudolph Bohrsmann whose surgery was directly opposite, next to Glebe Public School. At the end of the hearing it was announced that least required in the area were the Glebe, together with the Sydney on Glebe St, Lady of the Lake on Bay and Greek Sts, Glebe Tavern on Greek and Franklin Sts, and the Imperial on Mitchell and Glebe Sts.

The Glebe Hotel closed in October 1909 and the building was advertised as suitable for a shop or a boarding house. It subsequently housed The Golden Wattle saloon run by John and Elizabeth Siddens but their colonial wine licence was removed in 1924 during another drinking crackdown by the Licenses Reduction Board.  Retired schoolteacher Robert Ezra Cox ran a real estate agency there from 1938 to 1943, after which the triangular property was put up for sale. It was advertised as 2-storey brick with an iron roof, containing a shop, ten rooms, a bathroom and laundry. Postwar, 37 Glebe Rd was a bootmaker’s shop. There’s another Glebe Hotel today: the recently renamed Australian Youth on Bay St.

Sources: Bellingen Gelato Bar; NSW registry of births, deaths, marriages; NSW State Records; Trove website

‘Badde Manors’ by Sonia Mattson