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Have you come across the Old Chatswood & The North Shore Memories Facebook Group? It’s a heartwarming trip down memory lane thanks to creator Rocco Roy Mico, whose affiliation to the North Shore and love for old images inspired the group.

Rocco Roy Mico spent over 35 years creating films, music videos and thousands of television commercials. He’s also the founder of a local Facebook Group that connects people to the history of the area called Old Chatswood & The North Shore Memories Facebook Group. Rocco’s own history is firmly entrenched in the local area too.

A few years after arriving from Italy, Rocco’s father purchased a fruit shop on Victoria Avenue, Chatswood in 1953. In 1956 he then moved to Artarmon and continued with another fruit shop on Wilkes Avenue.

“I grew up in Artarmon and went to school in Chatswood. I then lived in Lane Cove, up until four years ago,” Rocco says. “My father, who is 93 years old, is now back living in Chatswood, after over 60 years in Artarmon. You can often see him walking in the mall (with that friendly smile on his face), pushing his walker.”

With a love and firm knowledge of the local area, it was Rocco’s inner history buff that inspired him to create his Facebook group in 2016.

“It really just started out as a hobby,” he explains. “I just wanted to share these great old images I was seeing from the Willoughby library, from days gone by. I was also inspired by the largest Sydney Facebook group, ‘Old Sydney Album’.”

“I certainly didn’t expect the group to grow so quickly and start sharing their own images. It started out as ‘The Old Chatswood’ and as it grew, we added the lower North Shore to the name. Then two years later, we added the whole of the North Shore. With the group growing to the size it is now [over 16,000 members] it means there’s a lot more work to do as an admin!”

Old Chatswood & The North Shore Memories Facebook Group
Having a picnic down at Balmoral, back in 1908. Image: Mosman Library

Popular Posts and Rocco’s Personal Favourites

According to Rocco, the building of the Sydney Harbour Bridge and surrounding areas always seems to be a big drawcard for members of the Old Chatswood & The North Shore Memories Facebook Group.

Old Chatswood & The North Shore Memories
Looking over Lavender Bay, from McMahons Point (July 1930). Image: National Museum of Australia

“Posts with trams that used to travel along the local roads, also do quite well. Memories and places that members can relate to personally, seem to get the most feedback,” Rocco elaborates. 

Old Chatswood & The North Shore Memories Facebook Group
Trams, waiting at Athol Wharf Mosman (1957). Image: Lindsay Bridge collection

His own personal favourite posts are images of the old railway stations, as they once looked and old photos of cars on familiar roads.

“It’s also hard to beat seeing pictures of the Suspension Bridge, as well as all the old black and white photographs of the North Shore by renowned photographers Harold Cazneaux and Max Dupain.” 

Looking at the tea rooms which were on the south end of the Suspension Bridge at Cammeray/Northbridge. c1910s Image: From the book, Bondi to the Opera House The Trams that Linked Sydney, by Dale Budd and Randall Wilson.
Old Chatswood & The North Shore Memories Facebook Group
From the family album: view of Luna Park and North Sydney (1974). Image: Sylvia Cathcart
Old Chatswood & The North Shore Memories Facebook Group
Hornsby Railway Station, November (1963). Image: Weston Langford
Chatswood Railway Station (1977). Image: Margi Blackman
Milsons Point Railway Station (1967). Image: Richard Felstead

While it’s incredible to see the interaction in his group, what’s even more heartwarming are the memories and connections created from the images shared.

“On a few occasions, I have had members contact me after posting an image. One member recognised their father, driving the family car in Chatswood from the 1960s. Another member saw their mother queuing at the post office. On some occasions, members have seen themselves in earlier times in a post. There have also been numerous members who have reacquainted with old school friends and work colleagues. Only last week, a member made contact with an old neighbour they hadn’t been in touch with for over fifty years!”

Sounds incredible, right?! If you’re ready to reminisce the past or have your own memories of the North Shore to share, join Rocco’s Facebook group and get started. Who knows, you might reconnect with someone too.

If you enjoyed this article, you may also like to read about more local history: click here to read about Willoughby’s ”Eiffel Tower”, click here to read about Willoughby’s most historic homes and click here to read about the very real castle in Castle Cove.