North was born in Melbourne and was educated at Melbourne Grammar School. He was appointed to the Australian Museum, Sydney in 1886 and was given a permanent position there five years later. He wrote a List of the Insectivorous Birds of New South Wales (1897) and a Descriptive Catalogue of the Nests and Eggs of Birds Found Breeding in Australia and Tasmania (1889) with George Barnard as co-author. He described a number of birds for the first time, many in the Victorian Naturalist, the magazine of the Field Naturalists Club of Victoria of which he was a founding member.
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