Local historian Max Solling conducted three guided walks during the 50th birthday celebrations. All were ‘sold out’ but it was the last one that still had people queuing to join the walk even as it commenced. ‘The more the merrier!’ said Max as he opened his extensive knowledge bank of the early architectural styles of David Elphinstone’s Italianate residences in Mitchell St. It was here that Max explained the varied demographic profile of Glebe which makes for its rich diversity both in those earlier times and now.
It was no mean feat ensuring that all 47 people heard Max’s every word as we ‘climbed’ up Mitchell St past the old Fire Station, stopping traffic as the ‘herd’ safely crossed Glebe Point Rd.
Picturesque Westmoreland St with its landscaped median strip and beautiful trees was a Sunday morning delight as it exposed some early quintessential Sydney housing. How appropriate that on a Sunday morning we would learn more of the magnificent Churches and their architects, in the St Johns and Bridge Roads precinct, and nearby Woolley St. Sadly not all remain.
The closure of the Glebe Post Office in 2011 probably caused the most discussion amongst the walkers. Whilst the building still stands, many remembered the activism that occurred in trying to save the postal service at that time.
Not all walkers were local. One was a young American student spending five weeks in Sydney undertaking Australian studies. He was captivated, as were all the other walkers, by Max’s colourful elaboration of an earlier time in Sydney, and the contribution of Glebe and its people to it.