December 8th – Zenith Centre

Zenith Centre

This photo was from the forecourt of the Zenith Theatre, at the base of Zenith Tower B.

The Zenith Centre in Chatswood was built along the North Shore’s main arterial, the Pacific Highway in the 1980’s. It was the first of it’s kind in the area, which has changed incredibly in the same time scale.

Having seen much of the change take place first-hand, it’s Henry Lawson’s recount of the Chatswood of yesteryear that makes the mind wonder …

The poem below is etched into a series of upright metal panels outside the Zenith Theatre.

Chatswood (1919)

‘Twas an old respected settler, in the unrespected days,
Who had land along the North Shore, and – we’ll say his name was Hayes,
And he came there as a young man, when there was great work to do
And his young wife’s name was “Chattie” (and no doubt, she chatted, too).

‘Twas a “small place in the country” – where he went to be carefree –
Out beyond the pleasant suburb that they now call Willoughby;
And a little wood was on it, and the trees were tall and good,
And his young wife used to dream there, so he called it “Chattie’s Wood”.

“Chattie’s Wood” has long since gone, and shops are standing in a row
Where the young wife went a-dreaming in a the days of long ago,
How the pretty name was altered doesn’t matter, anyhow,
But the wife is still remembered, as they call it “Chatswood” now.

– Henry Lawson


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