A 100-year time capsule formed the centrepiece of Glebe’s official sesquicentennial celebrations on Sunday, August 2, as a large crowd gathered in Jubilee Place to mark the beginning of a new chapter in the eclectic suburb’s history.
The time capsule was filled with items which reflected, “the intrinsic qualities and character of the Glebe community,” including (____???____). The capsule was buried at the foot of the Jubilee Fountain, which was unveiled exactly 100 years beforehand in 1909, on Glebe’s Jubilee.
“The wonderful thing about Glebe, is its diversity,” said Sydney Lord Mayor Clover Moore. “Its indigenous community; its university students; its university lecturers; its public housing tenants; its Vietnamese migrants; its long-time families. So it’s got that mix that perhaps some of the other inner-city communities have lost.”
Local resident Max Solling, who published a history of Glebe in 2007, spoke of its history, from the point when the residents of the area presented a petition to NSW Governor William Denison, requesting Glebe be incorporated as a suburb. Mr Solling delighted the assembled audience with tales recalling corruption and dirty tricks at both local and state government level.
City of Sydney Councillor Meredith Burgmann, a long-time resident of the suburb, said that, despite appearances, areas of Glebe had remained resistant to change. “The Glebe estate part of Glebe – the 900 Housing Department houses – haven’t changed much at all,” said. “There’s less old Catholic working class…and more ethnic diversity now, but really that working class culture in the Glebe estate area is still there.”
The event’s MC, former City of Sydney Councillor Robyn Kemmis, said community groups were one of the keys to Glebe’s unique vibe. “We have strong community groups in Glebe – it’s a great diversity,” she said. A number of these groups will be helping to celebrate the sesquicentenary, with a variety of ongoing cultural, historic and sporting events throughout August.
Earlier in the day, theologian, academic and author Peter Kaldor spoke at St John’s Bishopthorpe, about the role played by the Church in Glebe’s development. He noted the churches in Glebe had made an “important and whole-hearted contribution” to the suburb, particularly in relation to the provision of welfare, charity, education, social life and providing a sense of place. “In the middle of a diverse, rapidly-changing community, committed churches, groups and individual Christians in Glebe have made a real difference, and been a beacon of hope to others,” Mr Kaldor said.