Big cities always attract individuals we refer to as ‘eccentrics’ or ‘characters’. They are nowadays referred to as ‘homeless’ or ‘street people’ however they are not necessarily one and the same. Arthur Stace who scribbled ‘Eternity’ was well known and so was Bea Miles – who was regarded as ‘the scourge of taxi drivers’. I saw both of these people when I was a child and recall sitting in a bus as Bea Miles came in with a sign around her neck ‘Shakespeare 1/-‘ ö she would eyeball some poor individual and start reciting a sonnet or extract from a play and then demand her fee. Her language was more than strong ö it yelled! They are both part of a long tradition of eccentrics of New South Wales.

Blind Billy Huntingdon