Wednesday, 30 April 2014

Trim - Australian explorer, sailor and cat

All of us end up in Sydney sooner or later.

Years ago, I spent a couple of weeks studying the proposed prosecution of an old New South Wales Governor - William Bligh.  You know him - while in charge of HM Armed Vessel Bounty, his crew mutinied.  Much of my time was spent sifting through old legal documents at the New South Wales State Library, in Sydney.

It was here I first met Trim - who is honored as a small bronze statue outside a window of the library.

Trim, and Captain Matthew Flinders, were the first to circumnavigate our country.  Flinders' suggestion that the land be named "Australia" was later adopted by Governor Macquarie.

On ship, Trim discharged the duties of a seaman with punctuality and skill, attending to questions of the balance of the vessel personally.

After his work in Australian came to an end, Flinders returned to his family in England, with Trim. He was caught up in the Anglo-French war, and the trip took a lifetime.  While in captivity in Mauritius, Flinders wrote a tribute addressed to Trim describing him as "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 small statue deflected me a little from William Bligh.  Instead of Bligh, I focused on Trim and Flinders.  I eventually took the notes to the Richard Sugden Library in Massachusetts, where I spent a wonderful couple of snow bound days sorting them out.

Everyone will end up in Sydney sooner or later.  There is lots to see - but every time I go, I make sure I go to say hi to Trim.

There is lots to like about Sydney.  It is an amazing wonderful modern city.  But we people who live outside the city pay a high price - Sydney sucks the rest of the state of New South Wales dry of our youth, employment opportunities, and local initiative.

So when I see Trim, I also ask that he help me.  Help balance be restored.

Peter Quinton
April 2014

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