The Glebe Grapevine April 2014


You heard it here!

April 2014




Wednesday 7 April

7 — 8.30pm

Old Fire Station
113 Mitchell Street, Glebe


Tenants from Millers Point
tell of their fight to save their homes

Hear the latest plans for Cowper Street


Support Hands off Glebe


Prize: breakfast, lunch or dinner to the value of $50 at ESCA
333b Glebe Point Road (near Wigram Road)

Tickets $1 each or book of 12 for $10

Ring Denis on 0418 290 663 for tickets

The Glebe Grapevine is a publication of Hands Off Glebe Inc.

Contact: P.O. Box 145, Glebe NSW 2037.

Ring Denis on 0418 290 663 or Julie on 0426 503 351




Save Millers Point

A large and angry meeting at Balmain Town Hall has endorsed Leichhardt Council’s community campaign to protect public housing tenants from eviction.

The meeting followed Minister Pru Goward’s announcement that 300 Housing NSW properties in Millers Point will be sold. Leichhardt is seeking cooperation from neighbouring councils to prevent sell offs in other areas such as Glebe. The sale of Millers Point adjacent to Packer’s Barangaroo redevelopment will destroy a community that has been there for generations.

The Balmain meeting called on the State Government to increase investment in new public housing and maintaining existing homes.

The meeting also called on local Councils across Sydney to take a stand against public housing sell-offs and to attend a mass rally to demonstrate support for public housing in our city.

Sydney City Council has voted $100,000 for legal support for the Millers Point tenants and $10,000 for the community campaign.


Selling Wentworth Park

A sigh of relief could be heard when the O’Farrell government rejected a proposal to sell Wentworth Park greyhound track and parts of Blackwattle Bay foreshore for 700 apartments.

However, with Barry O’Farrell’s resignation as Premier things may change.

The racing track at Wentworth Park is public open space on Crown Land, not privately owned by Brookfield Multiplex or Greyhound NSW.

Local MP Jamie Parker said: ‘With huge and increasing demand for sporting and open space in the in the local community, this proposal was sheer fantasy.


That leak ….

The leak behind 75-67 Mitchell St is still there.  It flows into Boughton Lane and out on to Mitchell Street Housing NSW have assured us there is no leak, if there is a leak they have fixed it and it’s the Council’s responsibility to fix it, not theirs.

Yesterday upon the street

I saw no leak beneath my feet

It wasn’t there again today

I wish that leak would go away





Cowper Street three years on

Three years post demolition the Cowper Street site remains a peaceful oasis with Ibis and ducks attracted by fresh rainwater ponds and new growth. Last year many locals collected Christmas trees that had sprung up in the wake of destruction.

The NSW government says it intends to transfer part of the site over to social and affordable housing provider Bridge Housing to build high rise towers for public housing with a completion date of late 2016.  Bridge Housing have been around since 2009 and depend upon grants and property transfers to exist.  They made an operating loss of over $400,000 last year and have a history of increasing tenant complaints and maintenance backlogs.

Former tenants had been told they would be given the option of returning to Cowper Street but recently Minister Pru Goward announced that evicted Millers Point and Rocks residents will be moved into Cowper Street on completion.

Welcome home to residents who were moved from Cowper Street to the Rocks 4 years ago!

Hands off Glebe opposes plans to sell off parts of the site to the private sector.  Privatising half the land will mean a loss of public housing which is unacceptable, especially at a time of huge waiting lists and growing homelessness.

Hands off Glebe will be launching a postcard campaign soon to inundate the Premier with demands that the entire Cowper Street site be kept for public housing.

Selling off our homes

Hundreds of homes across the state have been sold by the NSW Government on the promise that the proceeds will be used to fund more public housing. In 2001 there were 124,098 public housing dwellings but by 2013 the number had dropped to 117,798.

The only criteria for sale seem to be that the house is worth a bob. Beach suburb houses in the Illawarra built on swamp land close to sewerage works 40 or 50 years ago are being sold and their tenants evicted. Inner city terraces once considered slums are being sold and the tenants moved on. According to Pru Goward the suburbs around Campbelltown are suitable for public housing. Tell that to people who have lived in the inner city all their lives.






‘This is our city and we will not be driven from it!’ declared Denis Doherty from Hands off Glebe to the cheers of about 150 people outside NSW Parliament House demonstrating in support of public housing on March 27.

Defying constant rain, public housing communities from Millers Point, Wollongong, Balmain, Glebe, Camperdown, Auburn, Marrickville, and other suburbs marched through the streets chanting “Defend Public Housing! Save Millers Point!”

Representatives from public housing groups, ALP state leader John Robertson and MP for Balmain spoke at the rally.

Pru’s Contempt

The Select Committee into Social Public and Affordable Housing was announced on 13 November 2013.  Submissions closed on 28 February 2014 and public hearings are currently underway.

By announcing on 19 March 2014 that all public housing in the Rocks and Millers Point area is to be sold, Pru Goward has treated the community, the entire committee, and the Parliament, with contempt.


Council ignores community over Harold Park

At a packed meeting at the Sydney Town Hall, a motion to widen a road into the planned Harold Park oversize supermarket (formerly the Tram Sheds). The road threatens access to the park and put children dogs and adults in danger. The motion went through quickly amid shouts of disapproval from the audience – “You work for Mirvac, not the residents!!’  The community had held a protest on the site the day before but fell on deaf ears as every councilor except the Greens Irene Doutney voted for it and against the community.


Westmoreland Street

Sydney City Council objected to our article about changes to Westmoreland Street in February’s Grapevine. Follow the debate on our website at Click on the Westmoreland tab in the menu.

Hands off Glebe are consulting with residents in Westmoreland Street and will let the community and Council know the results.


Local gardeners can obtain a litre or two of worm wee or a kilo or two of worm casings free by emailing Denis at or ring 0418 290 663.






December 2013 Issue Grapevine

 December 2013

Stand Up for Public Housing

Community Barbeque a Success

 Jamie Parker said of the Stand Up for Public Housing community barbeque on 6 November 2013:

We had a great turnout for our community BBQ and I spoke to a number of local residents about big issues in the community, especially in relation to public housing.  I’ll continue to fight to improve living conditions for people in public housing and will keep working hard to get homes fixed, reduce waiting times and keep the government accountable.”


Undaunted by residents’ opposition Council Planners have recommended approval of Mirvac’s plans to build a retail complex the size of a football field, half being a new Woolworths, on the historic Tramsheds site at Harold Park. The proposal is to be considered by Sydney City Council on 3 December 2013 at a meeting of the Planning and Development Committee commencing at 5pm.  If you would like to



Secret History of our Streets

Those of you who missed the BBC series, The Secret History of Our Streets, recently shown on SBS TV, can buy the book at Gleebooks (Cost $19.95).


Some parts of London have a lot in common with Glebe.  There, as here, government and councils deal with ‘housing’ in the abstract.  In the private sector, that means forget the people and think of the profits. For social housing and affordable housing tenants, planning is paternalistic,from the top down, planning that assumes, or is indifferent to, the consent of the community that lives here.


As in London, restoring and looking after the heritage housing of Glebe has returned social and economic dividends undreamt of by those who lived here during its hard times.  Glebe today is a wonderfully liveable diverse and interesting suburb for people of all ages and conditions.


The political and administrative elite in London did not ask people who lived in areas marked for redevelopment what they wanted.  Parts of Georgian Victorian and Edwardian London were razed to the ground in the 1950s and 1960s and replaced with acres of high rise flats.  The old housing which survived ‘slum clearance’ is today worth a small fortune.


The high rise towers which replaced the old homes in London quickly dated and became, in the words of the authors of The Secret History of Our Streets, ‘a lock on the future, a brake on the development of the area’.  There are limits to the improvements than can be made to high rise units and real restraints on adapting them to the changing needs of family and community.  In London high rise estates have been plagued by poverty and crime and those who could afford to move out, have moved on.


Glebe Artist Wins Prize

Nigel Milsom has taken out the Doug Moran National Portrait Prize.

Nigel worked at a studio in Queen Street until recently. Nigel has previously won the Sulman prize with ‘Judo House’ (at bottom of page) and was runner up in the Archibald Prize.

Nigel’s winning painting ‘Uncle Paddy’ (below) is on exhibition at Juniper Hall in Paddington.  Admission is free.


Winner of the 2013 Doug Moran National Portrait Prize …. Uncle Paddy by Nigel Milsom. Photo: Supplied

Milsom’s Sydney gallerist Kerry Crowley,

Read more:



Wreck the flats with ball and hammer

Fa la la la la, la la la la

Turf the tenants ignore their clamour

Fa la la la la, la la la la la

‘Tis the season to make lolly

Fa la la la la, la la la la la

For developers fat and jolly

Fa la la la la, la la la la la

Fast away the old Glebe passes

Fa la la la la, la la la la

Hail the new yuppie classes

Fa la la la la, la la la la

Now’s the time to join the chorus.

Fa la la la la, la la la la

Sing as others did before us

Fa la la la la, la la la la

Hear our voices, all together,

Fa la la, la la la, la la la.

Stay and fight it’s now or never

Fa la la la la, la la la la …

Listen on:


Hands off Glebe and Grapevine Correspondent reply to Council

GG correspondent replies

This still does not answer the concerns that have been expressed to me – especially the fact that the central plantings make life difficult for residents – they no longer have direct access to neighbours across the road, indeed can not even see their houses particularly well. Getting around in wheelchairs, on walkers becomes more difficult – having to travel additional metres up and down road to get around the plantings. Additional overshadowing – which WAS an original concern expressed about the fig trees – will cause some people grief. The issue of parking and through traffic also becomes problematic – less vision for pedestrians and drivers and a “cramped in” feeling overall as opposed to what is now a wide and open boulevard.


I am unaware of any “public” consultation re this.


Also I don’t believe that the current figs will remain for too long – there have been statements made about “when they come to the end of their life” “reach full maturity” etc they will be removed as they are seen as unsuitable.

Council responds about changes to Westmoreland St.

Council answers

The City of Sydney is planting trees to improve our streets and increase canopy cover for a greener future.  Trees reduce summer temperatures, improve air quality, reduce stormwater runoff and provide habitat for birds and wildlife.


We’re planting trees in new median planter beds throughout our local area. Westmoreland Street, Glebe is the next location in this program. As part of this project, Weeping Lilly Pilly trees will be planted in the median planter beds, and the existing mature figs trees will remain.


In January 2013 the City sent a letter to residents in Westmoreland Street about the project. We received three submissions, and City staff worked with the community to address any concerns.


The proposal was endorsed by the Local Pedestrian, Cycling and Traffic Calming Committee in March 2013. The Committee is made up of representatives from NSW Police, Roads and Maritime Services, State Transit and local state Members of Parliament. Endorsement by the committee ensures the new garden beds meet regulations and national standards for roads and vehicle access.


We will let the community know when construction will begin.


If you have any questions this tree-planting program, please call Deborah Law on 02 9265 9333.

Changes to Westmoreland St opposed


The Original article in GG Feb 2014

Proposed “Silent” Changes to the Glebe Scene


This is one of the streetscapes of Glebe which we all know and love – the wide open vistas and tree-lined avenues that are Westmoreland, Derwent and Mt Vernon Sts. These views are under direct threat from City Council which is proposing large mid street plantings and removal of mature figs from footpaths and replacement with smaller trees. Very few people are aware of these proposed changes – the only consultation seems to have been a letterbox drop in Westmoreland St. Only three responses were received to this – two with strong reservations, one in favour. This is hardly “consultation”!