Dog Memorial Drinking Fountain

Heritage object, Paddy the Wanderer Memorial

Affixed to Shed 7, 1 Queens Wharf, Te Aro
Map
  • Constructed

    1945

  • Builder(s)

    W.A.J. Dutch - Foundry | Stonework - unknown

  • The dog memorial drinking fountain is a good representative example of a mid 20th century municipal memorial. 

    It is one of a group of listed heritage objects within the Post Office Square Heritage Area, and has a strong historic association with the Wellington waterfront. 

    The drinking fountain was built as a memorial to Paddy the Wanderer, a stray dog who captured public imagination during the bleak years of the Great Depression. Paddy’s story continues to be told as social history at the nearby Museum of Wellington City & Sea, on the Ministry of Culture and Heritage website, and in various published biographies.  

    The building stone was part of a symbolic gift designed to consolidate historic links within the British Commonwealth of Nations. It has historic value for its association with concepts of colonisation, Empire and Nationhood.

  • close History
    • Paddy was a ginger and brown Airedale or Irish terrier who became a waterfront identity in Wellington in the 1930s. It is believed he was originally called Dash, the pet of a girl whose father was a seaman, and became familiar with the wharves on family trips to meet the father’s ships. When the little girl died of pneumonia in 1928 Paddy (as he became known) took to wandering the wharves.  

      He was a familiar sight on the wharves in the 1930s and began to feature in newspaper articles. He was fed and looked after by the Watersiders and harbour board workers, seaman and taxi drivers; these groups taking it in turn to pay his annual dog licence.  Paddy was perhaps best known as a stowaway, and he made sea voyages to New Zealand’s coastal ports and to Australia. Taxi drivers also took him for rides all over the city, and up the country as well. By 1935 he had travelled in “every form of conveyance, public and private, except an aeroplane and a submarine.” This was partly rectified when, in December of that year, he took a short flight in a gipsy moth bi-plane.  

      When he was about 13 years old Paddy showed signs of old age and refused to travel far – he was usually found on the Tally Clerk’s stand inside the Queen’s Wharf gates. When his health deteriorated he was given a sickbed in a shed on the wharves and attended by a vet, with people calling to see him and enquiring after his welfare. Paddy died on 17 July 1939 and obituary notices were placed in local papers. A fleet of black taxis accompanied by a traffic officer formed a funeral cortege to carry his coffin from Queen’s Wharf to the city council yards for cremation. His “strange funeral” was described as “no mocking affair but a touching tribute to a good comrade.”  Newspapers reported his funeral and the local radio station 2YA broadcast a five-minute “Tribute to Paddy the Wanderer”.  

      Although Paddy was known during his lifetime as an unofficial city and waterfront mascot, his story appears to have changed when posthumous anecdotes were published in local newspapers. A claim was made that Paddy had been the playmate of a young child who had died, and that he had strayed from home soon-after. Other stories emerged that are similarly difficult to verify. Paddy was said to have been both a freeman of the City of Wellington,  and the Wellington Harbour Board’s Honorary Assistant Night-watchman ‘responsible for pirates, smugglers and rodents’.  His life became romanticised as that of a cheerful adventurer who was embodied with wanderlust, independence and a hopeless devotion to his young mistress.   A public subscription and memorial soon followed. 

      His memory is recalled by a drinking fountain fixed to the wall of Shed 7. The memorial features two bronze or brass plaques, and a drinking fountain. One plaque is inscribed with the dog’s life story, and the other features an image of a dog’s head in relief and the inscription of … “To the Memory of Paddy the Wanderer”. The second plaque is set above a stone drinking fountain which is inset with three bowls – one for people, and two for dogs. The fountain was built in 1945 using granite from the Waterloo Bridge in London.  Waterloo was a nine-arched granite bridge built in 1917, but suffered from subsidence and was replaced in the 1940s. Granite blocks were “presented to various parts of the British world to further historic links in the British Commonwealth of Nations.”  These were, in Wellington, used to construct this dog memorial drinking fountain. 

      Paddy is said to have brought ‘a little light in the dark days of the Depression,’ when many others, both human and canine, shared his fate as a homeless wanderer.  He became part of Wellington’s popular culture in much the same way as the Skye Terrier, Greyfriars Bobby,  became mythologized in 19th century Edinburgh. In recent years the story of Paddy the Wanderer has been revisited in several biographies. Paddy’s story is sustained at the nearby Museum of Wellington City & Sea, and the museum continues to pay the wanderer’s dog registration fee. A statue of Paddy, complete with collar and registration, stands in a corner of the museum, and an AV system gives an appreciative bark whenever the statue is patted;  an actor dressed as Paddy the Wanderer can also be hired to attend children’s birthday parties.
    • Modifications close
      • c.1945
      • Memorial built
      • c.1993
      • Memorial appears to have been disassembled during redevelopment work on the waterfront
      • 1995
      • Shed 7 replacement plaque “To the memory of Paddy the Wanderer”
    • Occupation History close

      Not assessed

  • close Architectural Information
    • Building Classification(s) close

      Not assessed

    • Architecture close

      The memorial to Paddy the Wanderer is made up of three parts - the two bronze (or brass) plaques and the stone drinking fountain.

      The drinking fountain is made up of a stainless steel bowl set on a stone pedestal. The pedestal sits on a wide base that is set with two stainless steel drinking bowls for dogs, and these are filled by the overflow of the ‘human’ drinking fountain. The overall effect of the fountain is of an upturned ‘T’.

      The plaque with an image in relief of a dog’s head sits immediately above the drinking fountain. It is annotated with the numbers 19 and 39 in the top corners, and the words “To the memory of Paddy the Wanderer” at the bottom.

      A second plaque, also inscribed with the numbers 19 & 39 is set on the nearby wall to the west of the drinking fountain. It is inscribed with the story of Paddy the Wanderer.

    • Materials close

      Bronze or brass plaques

      Stone memorial with stainless steel bowl inserts

    • Setting close

      The dog memorial drinking fountain is fixed to the exterior of Shed 7, an 1896 Woolstore/Harbour Board administration building designed by the architect F. de J. Clere. It faces the old main entrance to Wellington Harbour at Queen’s Wharf and is located just inside the line of the Queen’s Wharf gates. Another near neighbour is the former Wellington Harbour Board Head Office/Bond Store (WCC 17/160) which has been converted to the Museum of Wellington City & Sea, and holds further memorabilia of Paddy the Wanderer.

      The memorial is also part of the Post Office Square Heritage Area which includes objects such as the Queen’s Wharf gates (1899, WCC ref 17/50), a telephone box (c.1938) and post box (c.1879-1910), and buildings that include the diminutive Clarrie Gibbon’s building/former tram shed and traffic island (1912), Head Office and Bond Store (Museum of Wellington - City and Sea, 1891-92), Shed 11 (1904-05), Shed 13 (1904-05), Huddart Parker Building, 2-6 Jervois Quay (1924), and the Tower Building, 50 – 64 Customhouse Quay (1936).

  • close Cultural Value
    The dog memorial drinking fountain is a good representative example of a mid 20th century municipal memorial. 

    It is one of a group of listed heritage objects within the Post Office Square Heritage Area, and has a strong historic association with the Wellington waterfront. 

    The drinking fountain was built as a memorial to Paddy the Wanderer, a stray dog who captured public imagination during the bleak years of the Great Depression. Paddy’s story continues to be told as social history at the nearby Museum of Wellington City & Sea, on the Ministry of Culture and Heritage website, and in various published biographies.  

    The building stone was part of a symbolic gift designed to consolidate historic links within the British Commonwealth of Nations. It has historic value for its association with concepts of colonisation, Empire and Nationhood.
    • Aesthetic Value close
      • Architectural

        Does the item have architectural or artistic value for characteristics that may include its design, style, era, form, scale, materials, colour, texture, patina of age, quality of space, craftsmanship, smells, and sounds?

        The dog memorial drinking fountain is a good representative example of a mid 20th century municipal memorial. 

      • Group

        Is the item part of a group of buildings, structures, or sites that taken together have coherence because of their age, history, style, scale, materials, or use?

        The memorial is one of a group of listed heritage objects within the Post Office Square Heritage Area, and has a strong historic association with the Wellington waterfront. 

    • Historic Value close
      • Association

        Is the item associated with an important historic event, theme, pattern, phase, or activity?

        The building stone was part of a symbolic gift designed to consolidate historic links within the British Commonwealth of Nations. It has historic value for its association with concepts of colonisation, Empire and Nationhood. 

      • Association

        Is the item associated with an important person, group, or organisation?

        The drinking fountain was built as a memorial to Paddy the Wanderer, a stray dog who captured public imagination during the bleak years of the Great Depression. Paddy’s story continues to be told as social history at the nearby Museum of Wellington City & Sea, on the Ministry of Culture and Heritage website, and in various published biographies.  

    • Scientific Value close
      • Archaeological

        Does the item have archaeological value for its ability to provide scientific information about past human activity?

        Central City NZAA R27/270, Pre 1900 reclaimed land

      • Technological

        Does the item have technological value for its innovative or important construction methods or use of materials?

        The memorial has some technological value for its use of reclaimed granite from the first (1817) Waterloo Bridge. 

    • Social Value close
      • Public Esteem

        Is the item held in high public esteem?

        The dog memorial fountain is likely to be held in high esteem for its connection with a well-known Wellington personality – Paddy the Wanderer.

      • Symbolic - Commemorative - Traditional - Spiritual

        Does the item have symbolic, commemorative, traditional, spiritual or other cultural value for the community who has used and continues to use it?

        The memorial has some symbolic value for the gift of granite from Waterloo Bridge to various nations in the former British Empire. 

      • Identity - Sense of Place - Continuity

        Is the item a focus of community, regional, or national identity? Does the item contribute to sense of place or continuity?

        The memorial is one of a collection of heritage objects and buildings that contributes to the sense of place and continuity of the Post Office Square Heritage Area and 

      • Sentiment - Connection

        Is the item a focus of community sentiment and connection?

        The memorial has become a focus of community sentiment and connection and this can be seen by the sheer number of blogs, web-pages, newspaper and school journal articles, books and museum exhibits dedicated to the dog and his drinking fountain. 

    • Level of Cultural Heritage Significance close
      • Rare

        Is the item rare, unique, unusual, seminal, influential, or outstanding?

        The memorial is one of few municipal drinking fountains to feature on the WCC heritage inventory.

      • Representative

        Is the item a good example of the class it represents?

        The memorial is a good representative example of a municipal drinking fountain

      • Authentic

        Does the item have authenticity or integrity because it retains significant fabric from the time of its construction or from later periods when important additions or modifications were carried out?

        The granite fountain has retained much of its original built form, but the drinking fountain bowl and mechanism and one of the two bronze/brass plaques appear to have been replaced in the c.1990s. 

      • Importance

        Is the item important at a local, regional, national, or international level?

        The memorial has international significance for its use of granite donated from Waterloo Bridge, and local significance for its association with local social history. 

    • Local / Regional / National / International Importance close

      Not assessed

  • close Site Detail
    • District Plan Number

      17/56

    • Legal Description

      Lot 1 DP 77229

    • Heritage New Zealand Listed

      1/1446

    • Archaeological Site

      Pre 1900 reclaimed land, Central City NZAA R27/270

    • Current Uses

      unknown

    • Former Uses

      unknown

    • Has building been funded

      No

    • Funding Amount

      Not applicable

    • Earthquake Prone Status

      Unknown

  • close Additional Information

Last updated: 29/09/2017 12:48:34 a.m.