Paddy, the wanderer

While waiting at the doctor's office today, I read an article about a dog in Wellington in the 1930's called Paddy, whose memorial is pictured below.

Paddy, a ginger and brown Airedale terrier, achieved national celebrity status due to his exploits on the Wellington waterfront (and beyond) during the 1930s. He was remembered as a 'little light in the dark days of the Depression'.
Paddy probably began life as Dash, the pet of a young girl who died in 1928. The girl's father was a seaman and the dog spent a lot of time on the Wellington wharves when the family came to meet the father's ships. When the little girl died, Paddy, as he became known, began to wander the wharves. Some say Paddy wandered in search of his lost playmate.
Paddy became a much-loved identity on the Wellington waterfront during the Depression years. Watersiders and harbour board workers, seamen and taxi drivers took turns at paying his annual dog licence. Wellingtonians got to know him well as he travelled throughout the city on trams and taxis. His national fame grew as he journeyed by sea to other New Zealand ports, as well as Australia. In December 1935 he took to the air in a Gypsy Moth biplane. All of these adventures saw Paddy achieve extensive media attention and his popularity with the public grew.
The Wellington City Council awarded Paddy the 'Freedom of the City'. The Harbour Board made him 'Assistant Night Watchman responsible for pirates, smugglers and rodents'.
As he aged Paddy wandered less. He was usually to be found on the Tally Clerks' stand inside the Queen's Wharf gates. As his health deteriorated he was given a sickbed in a shed on the wharves; many people called by to enquire about his health.
When Paddy died on 17 July 1939, obituary notices were placed in the local papers. A fleet of black taxis formed a funeral cortege to escort his coffin from Queen's Wharf to the city council yards for cremation.  It was a scene more in keeping with the death of a high-profile public figure. A drinking fountain near the Queen's Wharf gates commemorates Paddy's life. It was built in 1945 using stones taken from Waterloo Bridge in London and paid for with funds raised by the many friends of Paddy the Wanderer.

1 comment:

chitra said...

That was really interesting to read :)