Canine cargo was listed in the ship’s manifests on a number of occasions. However, press references to dogs on the Wimmera were not always just numbers on a list of imports or exports.
In late May 1906 a St. Bernard dog crossed the Wimmera‘s gangway in Hobart and was discovered on board hiding behind horse stalls on the well deck after the ship had sailed. The canine remained aboard throughout her voyage to New Zealand ports before the Wimmera’s eventual return to Hobart some four weeks later. The dog was reportedly well treated and even went ashore in New Zealand with members of the ship’s crew. In Hobart the press reported that the animal “impatiently scurried ashore” no doubt invigorated by its unpaid sea cruise.
Other canines appear to have had their passage paid. Two dogs appear on the list of imports of the Wimmera on her arrival at Sydney from Auckland on Friday 29 March 1907. Another was listed among the imports from Melbourne into Hobart on 14 June 1907. Five dogs were also sent by the Wimmera from Melbourne to Hobart, arriving on Friday 27 September 1907.
A pedigree bulldog pup was purchased from the Australian kennels of Mr Arthur W. Wilkins (of Carlton, NSW), by a Mr Thomas Snow of [Dunedin] and conveyed to the Dominion from Sydney in September 1907 by the Wimmera. The dam of the unnamed pup, Beauty of Chepstone, was also aboard and was conveyed to Lyttelton, having been purchased by a Christchurch ‘fancier.’ It was reported that Mr Snow who, “sticks to the breed with the tenacity of the dog he admires” was extremely pleased with his purchase. Snow was an inaugural executive committee member of the newly formed South Island British Bulldog Club which had been formed in Dunedin and was under the patronage of his Worship the Mayor of Dunedin.
“The proposed Exhibition dog show has already given an impetus to local fanciers, and it is understood that some of the best dogs from Australia are to be sent to New Zealand to be shown thereat. One such has already been purchased with that object. Mr G. F. Whiteside has imported from Sydney the Irish Terrier Yardley Jim, from the kennels of Mr Henry Rossiter, Sydney.
Yardley Jim is twenty months old and is by the champion dog Towers Lad out of Raby Ruth. His pedigree includes such famous prize-winners as Champion Breda Mixture, Champion Bolton Woods Mixture and Champion Munster Grip. He has not yet been shown, and is described by a Sydney judge as one of the three best dogs in Australasia. Yardley Jim arrived from Sydney by the s.s. Wimmera to-day.”
Star, 11 May 1906, page 2
© Ralph L. Sanderson 2004-2021