Jim Low - singer/songwriter

Back to Childhood



I believe that growing up in North Sydney in the 1950s and 1960s was in many ways responsible for developing a passion for history in both my brother and me. Concepts of time and change were naturally evolving for us.

High StreetThe MLC building, a fourteen-storey office block in Miller Street, was completed in 1957. The construction of a weather beacon on top of it was tantamount to a prophetic claim by the builders that this was about as high as buildings were going to get in the suburb. The beacon could be clearly viewed from afar, its yellow and red lights indicating, not always accurately, the weather predictions for the day. We were given a small card that explained to us the different weather forecasts, depending on the movement and colour of the beacon's lights.

The MLC building imposed its dominance upon the view from my bedroom window. As the beacon lights ascended, descended or flashed, we interpreted each day's weather forecast. For a number of years the MLC building remained unopposed in its rule of the North Sydney skyline. Old timers of the district reinforced this belief with emphatic statements like: "They'll never build anything bigger than that. Not a chance!"

But since then, successful challenges to the building's supremacy have been made on all sides. Today, the MLC building is now dwarfed by a multitude of other constructions straining to reach higher and higher into the sky.