Old North Sydney


Henry Lawson

STARING, with surprise, at some not so very old photographs of Miller Street and Blue’s Point Road the other day, it struck me that it’s up to some local historian to look up Old North Sydney (which died but yesterday), and its houses, identities, characters, incidents, and general spirit.

THEY’RE shifting old North Sydney—
    Perhaps ’tis just as well—
They’re carting off the houses
    Where the old folks used to dwell.
Where only ghosts inhabit
    They lay the old shops low;
But the Spirit of North Sydney,
    It vanished long ago.

The Spirit of North Sydney,
    The good old time and style,
It camped, maybe, at Crow’s Nest,
    But only for a while.
It left about the season,
    Or at the time, perhaps,
When old Inspector Cotter
    Transferred his jokes and traps.

A brand new crowd is thronging
    The brand new streets aglow
Where the Spirit of North Sydney
    Would gossip long ago.
They will not know to-morrow—
    Tho’ ’twere but yesterday—
Exactly how McMahon’s Point
    And its ferry used to lay.

The good old friendly spirit
    Its sorrows would unfold,
When householders were neighbours
    And shop-keeping was old;
But now we’re busy strangers,
    Our feelings we restrain—
The Spirit of North Sydney
    Shall never come again!

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