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Three animal statues

2020 February 20

Paddy’s memorial and dog drinking water, Wellington, New Zealand

I was asked to write an article five years ago on animal statues after speaking at a Geography (!) conference alongside many other speakers on animal papers. My article called “Remembering animals of the past and creating new sculptures of animal relationships with humans” has just come out in a book called Creating Heritage edited by people at the Geography conference who were very into heritage though, it seems, not particularly interested in animals. The book is published within a series formally described as “of an interdisciplinary social science forum for original,innovative and cutting edge research about… cultural heritage-based tourism.”

As you probably guess from bits on my website my article is nothing about this . The article focuses particularly on three animal statues I have previously discussed on this website, drawing on different times in Sydney, Australia and Wellington, New Zealand. The writing includes Trim situated behind Matthew Flinders in Sydney, Paddy the Wanderer outside the local museum near the former docks in Wellington,having lived with taxi-drivers, waterfront workers and ordinary sailors. Mrs Chippy, the cat, is sitting on the earlier grave of Harry McNeish, her human companion, in the Karori cemetery outside Wellington although she had been killed by Ernest Shackleton on the Endurance boat in 1915.

Mrs. Chippy’s statue by Chris Elliot. On Harry McNeish’s grave in Karoro cemetery, Wellington, New Zealand

On my website are various stories of these particular animals- and many others – to access: just click on the search up the top on the right using their names or cats /dogs etc.

In different ways I have considered how the animals themselves brought attention to humans who existed but were not necessarily praised in earlier time. Mrs Chippy gave commemoration to Harry McNeish who died in 1930, although she was only placed on his tomb in the cemetery in 2004. And Trim, the cat, was remembered only in 1996 behind the statue of the explorer Matthew Flinders who died in 1814 and whose own statue was erected in Sydney long ago in 1925 – without Trim being commemorated with him.

Routledge – like most of its recent books – is trying to get readers to spend £115 on just one book – even without a front cover visual photograph /image. (A bit like the Routledge Companion to Animal-Human History- edited by Philip Howell and me – that is now costed at £190 even despite the wonderful image of Nick Brandt on the front cover). Needless to say, even at Abe books Creating Heritage goes from £96 to £135 and Animal-Human History from £121 to £284, yes £284)

Just have a look at the nice animal statues here!

(Don’t worry I did refer to Flinders and Trim now also in London’s Euston station… which looks rather different to this cat!)

Trim the cat

Trim outside the Mitchell library Sydney,Australia

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