fishermans bay

Seven poor men of Sydney


Fisherman’s Bay. First days of the first poor man. 
An October night’s dream. 
A stirring sermon has no effect on an ill-fated hero. 


Four passions of a poor man with a weak heart, ending with an explanation of what love is.   


A hot morning in Fisherman’s Bay.
We find four of our heroes at work in a devil’s kitchen where the word is made bread.   


The bucolic pill. An unfortunate polygamist.
Personal appearance of Mr Silkbreeched Montagu.
A family discussion. The seventh poor man.
Reflections of Joseph in shop-windows. 


A southerly buster. Baruch at home. The tongue’s ephemeridae. Baruch in love. A patriotic demonstration. Catherine in love. A female argument. Withers kicked out. Defence of murder. Baruch is very sentimental.  


Backchat. Acerbity of Winter, effrontery of Fulke; the recognition of Marx postponed. Catherine wanders. 


Under the eschscholtzias. Montagu is a skunk, Withers not a social type. Castaways in a busy harbour. Brother and sister. Examples of the long thoughts of youth; a mediaeval tyrant. The sons of Clovis. Catherine wanders again.   


Michael recalls his adventures, lets out a secret or two, goes to church, is advised to marry, visits his relatives, sees the early-morning fishing in Fisherman’s Bay, and brings the chapter solemnly to an end.   


In memoriam: a mass, a dream, a strange narrative.
A new love.


A chapter of accidents: two poor men in gaol, Montagu skips, three poor men without a job.
Jo’s mother sums up.


The seventh poor man leaves our shores. A kermesse, but nothing startles the modest. A madman contributes a tale of beauty and horror. Kol Blount makes a complaint.
End of a love affair. And Baruch’s last night in the antipodes.
End and beginning.


Joseph goes home late.

— Christina Stead (1934) Seven poor men of Sydney. Reprint, Angus & Robertson, 1978.

Watch on

Alcatraz from the shores of San Francisco Bay.