Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Pets in Our History

On our visit to Edinburgh last year, we came upon the statue of the legendary Greyfriars Bobby at the corner of Candlemaker Row and George IV Bridge. Bobby, a Skye terrier who spent 14 years guarding the grave of his master John Grey has been dubbed "the Most Faithful Dog in the World" [Jan Bondeson 2011].

A tourist was rubbing the nose of the statue for good luck!

Back home, apart from the bronzed statue of the Boar at the entrance to Sydney Hospital who since 1968 has been enticing us to rub his nose, we seemingly don't have many statues of pet animals in out city. Or do we?

In our search of Sydney monuments we have found some beautiful little statues of our canine and feline friends who have a place in Sydney's history.

Donna, at Central Railway (at left).

Friend and constant companion to John Hogan of Pyrmont, Sydney.

14/2/1975 - 6/5/1995

Recognised in the Guinnes Book of Records as the World's Longest Living Hearing Guide Dog.

Unveiled by the Hon Brian Langton MP, Minister for Tourism on 10 May 1996, to recognise the love and companionship that all Guide Dogs for the Visually Impaired give their owners.

Biggles at The Rocks (at right)

" Loved Friend of the Rocks"

17/8/1980 - 25/4/1994.

A community project, unveiled by the
Hon Robert Walker MLC, Minister for PLanning and Housing on 16 March 1995.

Islay opposite the statue of Queen Victoria at Town Hall, Sydney (at left).

Favourite pet of Queen Victoria.

Died 26/4/1844

The bronze sculpture by Justin Robson (1987) was modelled from a sketch drawn by Queen Victoria in 1842. Now over a century later, Islay is begging hopefully for a coin to help deaf and blind children of New South Wales.

But my favorite of course would have to be the statue of Trim, outside the Mitchell Library on the Macquarie Street side. (at left)

Trim was "Matthew Flinders Intrepid Cat
who circumnavigated Australia with his Master 1801-1803 and thereafter shared his exile on the Island of Mauritius where he met his untimely death".

Flinders in his book, A Biographical Tribute to the Memory of Trim described Trim's features ..."Trim's robe was a clear jet black, with the exception of his four feet , which seemed to have been dipped in snow, and his underlip, which rivalled than in whiteness..."

On the day that we saw photographed Trim the sun was shining on his paws and mouth as if to emulate that image.

If you are in interested in early Australian History or are researching a convict ancestor go to our website at: