Tuesday, 9 March 2010

Trim, his master's faithful servant


Trim travelled with Matthew Flinders as he circumnavigated and mapped the coastline of Australia between 1801 and 1803 in HMS Investigator . When Flinders was imprisoned by the French in Mauritius during his return voyage to England, Trim shared his captivity.

Trim was black, with white paws, chin and chest. He was named after the butler in Laurence Sterne's Tristram Shandy, because Flinders considered him to be a faithful and affectionate friend whom he described as 'one of the finest animals I ever saw … a clear jet black, with the exception of his four feet, which seemed to have been dipped in snow and his under lip, which rivaled them in whiteness. He had also a white star on his breast.' The popularity of the statue has led to the library's cafe also being named after the cat.


There are a number of explorers important to the City of Sydney and the state of New South Wales, for example Captain Arthur Philip, Watkin Tench, Charles Sturt, John Oxley, Hamilton Hume, Blaxland&Wentworth&Lawson, George Evans, and Thomas Mitchell. I will not be able to locate statues of them all, but will keep my eyes peeled.

Today is the 100th anniversary of the Mitchell Wing of the State Library of NSW, named after its generous benefactor, David Scott Mitchell. I will see what I am able to report back tomorrow of the festivities. It seems to be my second home at the moment.

22 comments:

jabblog said...

Most informative - and good to see that Flinders' 'dumb friend' has been suitably honoured too :-)

Woody said...

Great shots and a very interesting story! I would have never thought of a cat as a faithful companion, most people use that description for dogs.

Dina said...

That's so sweet and fitting, that the cat friend should have his own statue.

Lois said...

I can see why the statue of Trim is so popular! What a faithful companion.

lizziviggi said...

This is a wonderful post! There's something very sweet about a faithful cat sharing his adventures-- a role that is usually applied to dogs. Way to go, Trim!

brattcat said...

Thank you, Julie, for posting the handsome Trim. And thank you for your wonderful comments. Today's in particular really hit the spot.

Tulsa Gentleman said...

Thank you Julie - handsome statue and faithful cat. I imagine a cat would earn his keep aboard ship, lots of rats and mice to eat.

And thanks again for helping me with my blog layout.

Birdman said...

Love cats! Interesting story.

altadenahiker said...

Good yarn, and I'm all about Trim.

Ann said...

My favourite Sydney statue and a story that I love.

J Bar said...

Great shots of the statues and a fitting tribute to the centenary of teh library. I've always had trouble getting good shots here because there always seem to be shadows when I visit. These are brilliant and I especially like the statue of Trim on the window sill.
Sydney - City and Suburbs

Bruce Caspersonn said...

What a lovely story you dug up about the cat. Some cats are like that, not many, but some, definitely.I know from experience.
Bruce.

Julie said...

Yes, Bruce, I have one of each sort. Man's Best Friend and Aloof Bitch!

freefalling said...

Oh that's why the state library is posting old photos of stuff about Mitchell on flickr
(i didn't twig - told you i was thick!)

http://www.flickr.com/photos/statelibraryofnsw/

Marka said...

I like how the library named their cafe after the cat.

James said...

I can relate to having a cat as a faithful companion. I really enjoyed this post.

Unknown Mami said...

I love Trim!

Ann said...

Re the explorers, check out the old Lands Department (now Planning) building on Bridge Street. I'm pretty sure the statues in the niches on the facade are explorers.

paul said...

Great pictures and erudite comment - as we have come to expect - leading from a small detail to the big picture.

Joan Elizabeth said...

Isn't it wonderful that all those details of Trim have been recorded.

There is a monument up here to BLW at Mount York which looks out to the plains to the west. But when last I looked it was pretty heavily vandalised.

Regarding Hume, my Dad had a standing joke when we were kids that every monument out in Western NSW said Hume and Hovell passed this way. I didn't see any on my recent trip though it did cross my mind to seek them out.

Davine said...

That is such a cute statue of Trim. Also a very informative post. Yes I am back after a long weekend away in the rain.

Arija said...

Poor old Trim being eated my the French ... that is sheer cannibalism or shoyld that be catibalism? Sorry about that.