GLEBE AND BALMAIN – Sydney’s nicest villages

We sophisticated big city residents yearn to live somewhere with a ‘village feel’, just so long as it’s not an actual village.

Real Aussie villages tend to have real Aussie villagers who want the bloody government to do something to stop those bloody boats so the bloody refugees don’t come and overrun Gona-bloody-datta.

Real villages have takeaway pizza bars, pubs serving ‘Chinese and Australian’ meals, hoons doing burnouts on the main drag and pokies at the bowling club as the main entertainment.

They usually don’t have good bookshops, smart restaurants, Saturday craft markets and cafĂ©s that know how to make a decent macchiato. Glebe and Balmain do. I just walked around them.

Sydney’s Inner West is the spiritual home of the chattering classes. A disproportionate number of writers, artists, filmmakers, journos and bloggers live here. The chattering classes may not be as rich as the North Shore types; they consider that unseemly. They have enough time to chatter about the environment, and enough political clout to do something about it. They have the money to renovate charming old cottages, or move into eco-friendly apartments in converted toothpaste factories.

They elect local councils that scatter parks and cycle-paths around the harbour foreshore, and transform disused industrial wastelands into heritage sites, with interpretative plaques reminding passers-by of their former functions.

Balmain and Glebe residents get out and make use of these open spaces with their Cannondale bikes, their personal boxercise trainers and their King Charles spaniels.

They seem to have a good, interesting life. Dammit, I’d rather like to join them.

Glebe Point path - a bit of old machinery makes life interesting for cyclists and photographers.

It's big, wide and messy, but is there any more impressive tree than a Moreton Bay Fig? This one is in Jubilee Park, Glebe.

A grand old Glebe house. We will not be downsizing to this.

The Crescent, Annandale - planes overhead, artists below.

This is still a working harbour, perpetually interesting and exciting.

White Bay Power Station - you'd never know to look at it, but Leonardo di Caprio is probably somewhere in there, filming scenes for Baz Luhrman's new production of The Great Gatsby. (Thanks, Duncan, for the information)

Jacaranda in flower and Sydney sandstone - an excellent combination. I don't know how many people come to church here, but any awful lot come to the Balmain Markets in the grounds.

Poet Les Murray's words on what's left of Tank 101 on Ballast Point.

The Michael Jackson 'Locks of Love' tribute wall, Ballast Point.

In 1855, there was a dry dock here at Mort's Bay, the oldest in the colony.

When the jacarandas are flowering, all's well with the world.

All you need is time to take it all in.

My route from Blackwattle Bay to Rozelle, around Glebe and Balmain

This walk – 18.3km
Total walked to date – 55.4km
Total still to go – 261.6km

Coming up next – Iron Cove, Drummoyne


Filed under Hiking, Travel-Australia

2 responses to “GLEBE AND BALMAIN – Sydney’s nicest villages

  1. Sounds like a place we’d like to live too! 🙂

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