I’ve been to Glebe a few times, always for a specific reason. Dinner with friends. The Saturday market. Today after a few weeks away, I’m looking forward to being a tourist again. As usual, I have a vague idea of my route as I set out from Central Station towards Glebe Point Road.
Combining an Historical tour with a Sydney Harbour foreshore walk will give me plenty of variety and a few surprises I am sure.
University Hall is first on my list. Once a hotel it is now student accommodation. While the street level looks tired, the building itself is quite impressive, dominating the corner of Broadway and Glebe Point Road.
Glebe Point Road
Along Glebe Point Road I am greeted by range of enticing eateries. Lebanese, Japanese, Mexican. Coffee lovers too, have a great choice of cafes. A large carved crystal skull dominates the window of a mineral and gemstone shop. Some street art piques my interest and I divert for a closer look.
Gleebooks and Sappho
Glebe is a book lovers’ paradise with Gleebooks (they host regular literary evenings and also have a second-hand book store) and Sappho where second-hand books cram the aged wooden shelves. It is here, in the courtyard where I take a coffee break. Three men are in serious discussion. At night Sappho becomes a bar and hosts regular live music.
Continuing down Glebe Point Road I pass more restaurants. Italian, Vietnamese, Polish. Locals really are spoilt for choice. I enjoy the colourful fence of the Public School where the weekly Saturday market is held. I wander through a shop of antiques and oddities. One day I’ll find the wooden table top box I am looking for.
In the Glass Artists Gallery, I take fright when the owners dog takes a dislike to my camera. He settles. I love the delightful lithograph of Café Bones on the wall (see my Haberfield blog). There are cards by the same artist and I am thrilled to recognise Balmain (another blog).
Mr Falcons is closed but a notice on the door tells me that they too have live music. I really must come back here at night. Turning left into St Johns Road, the uniformity of the picket fences dividing properties in a side street catches my eye. I notice how some verandas have old comfortable sofas while others are furnished more formally.
I so enjoy having the time to wander, to relax and look around. There is no pressure. What a privilege. Bright, comfortable cushions and furniture provide outdoor seating in a small front yard. Two girls stop and watch me taking a photo. They consult each other, then ask if it’s a garage sale. They too take a photo.
Sense of Community
A shining brass doorbell on the street front attracts my attention. While I am thinking that in some areas a bell like this would not last long, a couple in a pale blue car stop. They ask if I’m looking for Nikki as “they’re in the garden”. This suburb reminds me so much of Balmain. There’s a sense of community here. People stop and chat. They help each other out.
After seeing the single story workers’ cottages in Westmoreland St, and noting the brickwork of St Johns Parish Hall (better seen from across the road), the Fire Station and the impressive Town Hall (now a neighbourhood centre) it’s time for lunch. I decide on Thai back in Glebe Point Road.
People are relaxing on the benches in Foley park. There’s a yellow sign on a small brick building in the middle of the park. When I get up close an old news voice recording starts to play and I recall that this was once a Wireless House broadcasting daily from 1935 until the 1960s. Today there’s free wifi and sensor activated recordings.
Along Bridge Road I find the Abbey (now a Montessori child care centre). It was moved here stone by stone from its original site on Parramatta Rd. A woman in a colourful hand knitted waistcoat talks to me about what I am doing. That community feel again.
Back on Glebe Point Road I pass the old Valhalla cinema and am reminded of the community disquiet when it closed. It is office space now. Part of Glebe library is now housed in historical Benledi House. There, a delightful sculpture of a boy playing with a dog is unfortunately hidden behind some plants. Are they worried about it being stolen?
Today I have read how the original indigenous people of the area were decimated with white settlement. I am pleased to discover that since 1958, the Tranby Aboriginal Cooperative College has operated from Tranby House in Mansfield Street.
I walk past before strolling down the tree lined Acacia Rd with its attractive houses. Then it’s on to something exciting discovered in my research.
Sze Yup Temple
The Sze Yup Chinese Buddhist Temple in Edward Street is easily recognisable but few people even know it’s there. As I enter a feeling of serenity comes over me. Coils of burning incense hang from the outdoor ceiling. Fruit and other offerings have been placed on an altar inside. Unfortunately, I must move on.
Glebe Foreshore Walk
I start the foreshore walk at Jubilee Oval with its’ heritage grandstand. It reminds me of the picket fenced cricket oval at Petersham. Under the arches of the historically significant viaduct is storage for a community garden and a Men’s Shed where a group of musicians are preparing to rehearse. Another example of the community spirit in Glebe.
Burley Griffin Incinerator
Walking along the foreshore, I come across dog walkers, cyclists and mums with bubs in prams. I stop to watch a group of dancers practicing their routine. I divert to Bellevue house, which is looking for a new occupant, and stop for a moment at the old Burley Griffin incinerator.
I hope to have a cup of tea at The Boathouse, but when I see the price of their famous snapper pie, I realise they’re not likely to serve me tea. I make my way up to historic Lyndhurst in Darghan street. High hedges screen the house, but I enjoy walking past the terrace houses.
After a quick look in the Clay Workers Gallery on the corner of St Johns Road, I make my way to Wentworth Park. I pass the dog racing venue (not for long) to the parkland where people have made their homes in tents under the viaduct. A man is shaving. Others are sitting on a sofa enjoying the late afternoon sun.
The Sydney Fish Market is my last stop. Unfortunately, it is closing for the day, but a few tourists are enjoying their oysters and other seafood delicacies at the outdoor tables. I’ll come back another day.
I will return
It has been a long but interesting day exploring Glebe. I discovered interesting places (the Wireless House and Temple were highlights) and enjoyed a pleasant harbourside walk. I know I will return.
For a different take on the Glebe Foreshore Walk take a look at what fellow Sydney blogger Best Sydney Walks has to say.