Glebe Markets to shut its gates after 31 years

One of Sydney’s most iconic community markets is shutting its gates after more than three decades, leaving community members and stallholders devastated.

Glebe Markets in Sydney’s inner suburb of the same name are held every Saturday, with locals and travellers alike flocking to the grounds of the local primary school to browse recycled fashion and local artwork.

But after 31 years, organisers David and Naomi McCumstie announced in an email to stallholders that February 25 will be the market’s last day of trading due to personal reasons.

Glebe Markets have been a Sydney staple since they started in 1992.Credit:Christopher Pearce

“It’s a shame that it will end, but things do come to an end, and this is what happens in life,” Mr McCumstie said.

The markets, which were started by his parents Bob and Judy McCumstie in 1992, went from being a local institution to an internationally known market, and David said he has received messages from people across the globe about the closure of the markets.

“The last 30 years has been a joy… Glebe Markets has always been a small, family business, it’s not ever been one of these big markets business where they run multiple markets and put managers in them, and that’s what made Glebe Markets different,” Mr McCumstie said.

But Mr McCumstie left the door open for someone new to take over the markets and launch it into a new era.

“What we are hoping is that some smart individual is going to say ‘yes, I’ll take the package’,” he said.

“It is the end of an actual era because at this point, our style of management will end. So, it’s a good time for everybody who has enjoyed what we brought to come in February.”

Members of the local community took to social media to express their sadness at the market’s closure and reflect on the past three decades, with the closing post getting hundreds of comments, shares and reactions.

Labor member for Balmain, Philippa Scott, said in a Facebook comment that she would do anything she could to help the continuation of the markets.

“As a lifelong local I’ve been coming to these markets since the 90s. They are so much more than just a market – they are an essential part of our community,” Scott said.

“I will do everything I can to assist to secure a new operator and work with the Department of Education to make sure our beloved Glebe Markets continue.”

Jamie Parker, Member for Balmain, similarly commented on the post to quash fears the market was losing its site.

“The contract to operate the markets is due to expire in March and the Department of Education who owns the site at Glebe Public School has said they have no plans to close the markets,” Parker said.

However, for now, Glebe Markets will close at the end of February in what’s expected to be some of the biggest turnouts the markets have seen.

“We will be finishing at the end of February, which is giving them [stallholders] more time than we needed to, but certainly, we wanted to give them enough time,” Mr McCumstie said.

“We have really tried to keep ourselves at the peak of our game, aiming at young people, their needs and their wants. It is that beautiful place for young people, and I think Glebe still is.”

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