Billy Blue1828The streets of Sydney today lack one thing—a street character.

There has been a succession of this eccentric gentry from the early days, beginning with Billy Blue. Then came the Flying Pieman, Abby Dabby, Garden Honey, Paddy the Ram, and Old Dad—the last of the tribe.

In 1828, if one were walking down George street one would meet of certainty the “Old Commodore,” an alternative title to Billy Blue. A writer of those years said that Billy deserved a pension: “Scarcely a day passes but Billy Blue, an octogenarian, makes more than half the faces he meets look happier. Many a one smiles or laughs at him and at nothing else.”

“The Commodore for ever,” “Standard for ever,” “Never Strike” were some of the stock expressions of the Commodore. He was given a grant on the North Shore by Governor Macquarie; hence we have Blue’s Point; and a daughter married one Lavender, who gave his name to the bay.