It seems that Lyttelton has always been a town that welcomes our four legged friends.The image from the collection this week features a brawny dog on Quail Island, prior to Scott’s expedition on the Terra Nova. Explorers like Scott and Shackleton used Quail Island as a quarantine and training location for the dogs and ponies they took to Antarctica. The dogs were mostly Siberian huskies and were essential on those early expeditions for sled pulling. Some of the men built very close relationships with individual dogs – Scott’s favourite was named “Osman”, who famously saved a sled and team of ten harnessed dogs from sliding into a crevasse.
The wonderful bronze statue by local sculptor Mark Whyte, near the site of the proposed new Museum, pays tribute to those canine workers and companions of the early explorers. He gazes towards both Quail Island and due south to Antarctica itself. We note how shiny his ears are becoming due to constant patting by passersby. History is alive and well right on our main street!
Dog on Quail Island in training for Antarctic Expedition, 1911
Te Ūaka The Lyttelton Museum ref 11673.1