Dictionary of Sydney

The Dictionary of Sydney was archived in 2021.


Inner-city suburb named for its original status as Anglican church land granted to Richard Johnson, chaplain of the first fleet in 1790. The Glebe Point area became fashionable in the nineteenth century, while the southern part of Glebe became a working class district.

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Cadigal and Wangal country that was parcelled out to the Church of England soon after the Europeans arrived, Glebe became a retreat for the gentry and later a gritty working-class enclave. The late twentieth century saw it transformed again into a heritage precinct, saved from redevelopment by resident action.

Glebe Pubs

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In nineteenth century Glebe, the pub was larger and more comfortable than the average working class home and it was just around the corner. Open seven days a week from 6 am to midnight, for the working class the pub was the centre of community life and an important public space. From the 1880s, changes to Sunday trading, the management of hotel licences and the introduction of six o'clock closing led to new drinking practices that would remain in place until the 1950s. The 1951 Royal Commission on Liquor Laws in New South Wales supported a 10 pm closing-time, offerings of food and entertainment, and access to pubs for women. But the heyday was long over: in 1892, Glebe supported twenty-eight pubs; by 2003, there were just ten pubs still trading in Glebe.

Forest Lodge


The inner-west suburb of Forest Lodge was named after a Regency villa built there in 1836, and has seen many changes since its days as an arcadian retreat.  The strong working class culture that shaped Forest Lodge for most of the 19th and 20th centuries has given way as new residents have gentrified and developed the area.

Glebe Coroner's Court


The former NSW State Coroner’s Court and Morgue building on Parramatta Road, Glebe, functioned as the centre of coronial justice in the state for 48 years, and tens of thousands of Sydney’s unexplained deaths, accidents, fires, explosions and missing persons were investigated there. The building housing two coroner’s courts and offices on the top floor and the morgue, refrigeration room and laboratory on the bottom floor, and from 1971  the Department of Forensic Medicine since 1971. In December 2018 it was replaced by a new facility in Lidcombe.