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Glebe icon retires

Gay Kalnins

By Emily Contador-Kelsall


Gay Kalnins spent the larger part of her life working with the Glebe community and recently retired as the secretary of the Glebe Chamber of Commerce or the “Glebe Chamber of Comrades”, as she nicknamed the organisation.
Ms Kalnins spent over 30 years as secretary of the chamber and made an invaluable contribution to the inner city village.
In addition to volunteering for the chamber, Ms Kalnins worked in book publishing but looked at her time as secretary as a high point.
“Making businesses realise that without the community they don’t have business [was a highlight], so it’s not just the businesses that you are looking after, you look after the community as well,” she said.
“Just going through all those changes. 43 years being in Glebe, having an office at various places in Glebe.”
Looking at the “unique village” of Glebe, Ms Kalnins said it has not lost touch with the basics of a community despite many changes around the area over time.
Eulalie Moore worked with Ms Kalnins for roughly 14 years and said Ms Kalnins’ contribution to Glebe was beneficial to the community.
“She did a lot of work for the community and she stood up for what she believed in or what the community groups needed in the community,” Ms Moore said.
Adding to her colourful history in Sydney, Ms Kalnins became the first squatter to buy their own squat in Australia when she bought her place in Rozelle.
Reflecting on her time working in and with Glebe and the evolution of the community, Ms Kalnins parted with a piece of valuable advice.
“One thing I have realised though is, humour keeps you intact quite a lot…and not taking shit from anybody”.

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