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Animal statues in Sydney

2018 April 15
Trim the cat

Trim outside the Mitchell library in Sydney

I am looking again at some of my images of animal statues that exist in Sydney. The animal – human images seem significant. I am reminded particularly of Trim.  In the early 1970s Australian writers found the writing of Captain Matthew Flinders , the explorer of southern Australia, on his ship based cat, Trim, in the National Maritime archive in Greenwich, London. As described by Flinders, Trim, a totally black cat, albeit with four white feet and a white star on his chest, was ‘the best and most illustrious of his race, the most affectionate of friends, faithful of servants, and best of creatures’.

Trim was described as weighing between ten and twelve pounds. His daily life included running after balls,taking food from the table of ‘almost every officer’ and, pleasantly, from their own mouths! He died, when in exile. Trim was created by John Cornwell in 1996 and placed outside the empty window of Mitchell library behind Flinders . (This is surely more interesting than the recent reproduction placed in London’s Euston station and usually ignored by nearby passengers…)

I am also reminded of  Henry Lawson and a dog in The Domain near the Royal Botanical Gardens. It was finished by George Lambert and unveiled in 1931, some years after the writer’s death. Lawson’s memorial fund asked for a ‘work of art’. The memorial presents the company of a swagman and a dog, who could be images in several of Lawson’s bush stories. Although Lawson was usually living in the Sydney area the fund wanted him to be described as an ‘Australian of the bush and not of the city.’ Yet a hat was rejected so that his long hair would be better modelled. No details were created about the dog’s appearance…


Henry Lawson and a dog in The Domain, Sydney