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Looking for inspiration, relaxation, or a fun way to meet people in your local area?
Whether you're looking for something to do this weekend, or planning your next big event, try Floristry, Singing, Cooking, Hand Made, Weaving or Meditation with some of the Glebe area's most talented teachers, like Setsuko Yanagisawa, Tina Livia, Katalin Csardas, Christina Xu and Yoshiko Takeuchi.
Let's celebrate our local gems!
Located west of Sydney’s city center and nestled right on the edge of Rozelle Bay and Blackwattle Bay, Glebe is a suburb of roughly 11,000 inhabitants. It is generally known as a trendy, intellectual hub offering an abundance of coffee shops, bookstores, and beer gardens, with a generous amount of green space and charming architecture.
Interestingly, the store-lined streets of today’s Glebe hint at the small community’s early beginnings as a commercial hub, where highly trafficked areas such as Broadway (formerly known as Parramatta Street), Glebe Point Road, and St. Johns Road offered families the opportunity to open up shop and gain some economic independence(1).
Despite its abundance of shopping opportunities, in the late 1800’s, the suburb was fairly concentrated, with local inhabitants making up the large majority of customers. This may have been the result of planning challenges - steam tram tracks laid out on Glebe Road frustrated all efforts to pave the road.
While it may not have attracted outsiders, the area enjoyed a growth of sophistication and self-sufficiency with the construction of a Town Hall, Police Station, Post Office, Court House, and newspaper. Over the next few decades, the inhabitants of Glebe fostered a strong community sentiment, with multi-generational families boasting of the tight-knit relationships that characterized the neighborhood.
Today, Glebe’s history as a shopping hub is clearly felt.
Just one example of this commercial legacy is the annual Glebe Street Fair, put together by the suburb’s Chamber of Commerce(2). This year, the festival lands on Sunday, November 20th and expects to attract over 100,000 people from all over Sydney. As a testament to the area’s community-oriented focus, the entire fair is not-for-profit, with proceeds being funneled through the Chamber to local programs such as the Glebe Parklet and Glebe Youth Service.
From the seemingly endless line of tents, visitors can enjoy a variety of products from snowcones to paella to Turkish Towels, all while listening to local DJs and live music.
If you’re in town before the Glebe Street Fair kicks off, you can enjoy another local favorite: the annual Glebe Music Festival, which will run from October 20th to November 20th(3). This event has its roots in the historical Margaretta Cottage, a 19th century cabin off Leichhardt Street, where local artists started playing concerts in the late 1960’s. It has since expanded to include venues at the historical Town Hall, St Scholastica's Chapel, and the Great Hall at the University of Sydney, just to name a few.
True to its close-knit suburb identity, the festival is all about bringing together artists of various skill levels and musical traditions, such as opera, choir, jazz, and burlesque. Without a doubt, there is something for everyone at this event, even if is just an appreciation of some of the oldest buildings in the neighborhood.
Another key event for music lovers is the bi-annual Glebe Records Fair, held by Egg Records at Peter Forsyth Auditorium - just off of Glebe Point Road(4). Table after table is set up in the large space, each covered with boxes of records, from the popular to the obscure. Be ready to rub elbows with some of the area’s most knowledgeable music enthusiasts, because this event is always busy.
If you’re looking for something even more unique than an extensive record collection, you may want to plan a visit to the Sydney Teapot show, which is held from the beginning of August to September 4th on the corner of St. Johns Road and Darghan Street(5). Once again, this event showcases the suburb’s fundamental community-closeness, as the co-operative studio first opened to breakdown the isolation of the individual studio set-up. As early as 1979, local artist began meeting informally to share their art and plan collaborative projects. Twelve years later, their meetings prompted the opening of the Inner City Clayworkers Gallery which moved to its current location in 1983. Today, the annual Teapot Festival showcases a variety of talent: who knew that a single vessel could prompt so much beauty and creativity? Each year, participants enter in their most functional, de-constructed, beautiful, or silly teapot into the competition, and a look at last year’s winner suggests that this is not an event to overlook.
If you’re not in town for the big events, don’t worry. There are plenty of weekly goings-on in the area, such as the family-friendly Glebe Market that takes place every Saturday on the corner of Glebe Point Road and Derby Place at the Public School(6). This concentrated, little arts-and-crafts fair offers its visitors second-hand stalls, local artistry, and an ever-changing list of musical guests. Because each Saturday is a little bit different, you can expect to have a novel experience every week.
With such a broad range of fairs and festivals, you may get the impression that Glebe’s specialty is shopping, music, and art; however, there are other pursuits to enjoy in the area as well.
For example, its location on two different bays makes Glebe the perfect place to enjoy the outdoors. After visiting Glebe Point and enjoying the beautiful bay view, you can hardly choose between the array of parks, such as Blackwattle Bay Park, Bicentennial Park, and Harold Park. Each green space offers something unique, from skateparks to cafes to expanses of lawn for picnics and yoga.
After a day outside, Glebe offers a wide variety of international dining opportunities, from Korean, to Mexican-Californian, to Nepalese. You can even enjoy a night out in this happening commercial district, which offers cocktail bars, wine cellars, and beer gardens. It is truly unique to enjoy such a diversity of restaurant culture, but Glebe pulls it off with ease and openness.
Clearly, there is something for everyone in this charming, historical suburb. Whether you enjoy music, sports, art, or shopping, Glebe will surprise you with its variety of activities and will welcome you into the tightly-knit neighborhood with open arms.
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