Paddy the Wanderer – in New Zealand
Paddy the Wanderer was described as ‘Wellington’s most celebrated dog’ in north New Zealand when he died in July 1939. He was later memorialised in December 1945 on his place on the waterfront. Although Paddy has become a memorialisation he is not only seen visually on Wellington’s seafront but now is adjacent to the academy of Fine Arts.
He had travelled on coastal ships and had become an air passenger from Wellington to ‘the Wairarapa in 1935.’ Earlier than this he had been fitted with a new collar on licence day having been taken to the city council offices on the luggage grid of a cab. Paddy was described as acting as an assistant watchman in the wharves and looking after himself when crossing the road once pedestrians crossed it.
According to the press his early death had the respect of ‘innumerable friends’ that included sailors, taxi-drivers and waterfront workers.Yet his death at the age of thirteen did not occur primarily with any veterinary treatment but through him dying in a wharf of ‘old age, sickness and cold.’
Taxi men did not wish to give Paddy burial at sea believing that his soul would not rest ‘among the sharks and congers of Davy Jones’s locker’. Instead he was not buried in any form of cemetery but was left in the Queen’s wharf shed in its incinerator albeit being conveyed there in a coffin.
However, money was collected for a memorial which the harbour board agreed to erect. The memorial, created with a drinking fountain, was erected by the end of 1945 . Although the memorial was temporarily removed from the waterfront it was re-instated in October 1996.
As the director of Museum of Wellington City and Sea , Ken Scadden, commented this century, ‘It’s quite a remarkable story, the fact that Wellington had a seafaring dog’.This seems a far stronger statement than the earlier incinerator and the former neglect of Paddy in the past…